Goats as Pets
As we get ready for summer, and I look out at my lawn I remember (as I seem
to each year about this time) that I
don't want to mow the lawn ever again... Hmmm, maybe I can find a fun pet that
will mow for me. Now we are talking...
As I come up with even more ideas of how to not mow (I wonder if Amazon offers a drone that will do it?). How about Goats. Goats sound great, the nice calming sounds of the Maaaaaaah's coming from outside as they nicely walk around and trim the lawn. I can sip lemonade and relax while the work gets done.
Actually goats do not do well with trimming a lawn. They are natural wanderers and nibble on just about any plant. More than likely they will nibble on part of the lawn and then move on to the roses, perennials and probably even the siding on the house. Got Apple trees? They love the bark and will kill a tree by nibbling the bark off.
But the nice calming sounds... well maybe not. A female in heat will make a lot of noise. And, this is once a month.
But.. Oh yeah, there is the poop to clean up off the lawn and they are nervous creatures that will pee with every loud noise. Watch out for the puddles.
So, goats are not for trimming lawns. But, they can make a great pet. They will offer hours of entertainment and companionship. They can jump very high and love to climb. A well designed fence with a good area to play will offer all the entertainment they, and you, need.
They will need plenty of hay or straw, feed and fresh water. A good shelter to keep them safe from the elements. Goats are herd animals so you will need to plan on at least two. One alone will be very lonely. Goats as kids are very cute and fun to watch.
Be aware that the intact males will grow to be big and strong, and they can smell bad. I spoke with Christy McLam from Birch Ridge Farm in Bradford, Vermont, about goats as pets. A castrated male goat is referred to as a Wether. A wethered male can make the best pet. They do not smell and they do not go into heat. She sold 30 of them this year to new homes. She enjoys her time spent with her herd of 50 goats.
Want milk, a female will need to have at least one set of offspring, and then you will need to deal with them going into heat. Be sure to do some research so you are ready for this. Plus, what will you do with the kids?
Remember that they will need you to come out to care for them at least twice a day. You need to let them out in the morning and lock them up at night, check their water and be sure they have enough feed. This is every day all year long. If this sounds like a great way to start and finish your day, then goats may be a great pet for you.
Lissa Hinkley, or RE Hinkley wrote to me about her experience with goats:
I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted a couple of goats as pets. My husband was totally against it as we live at our business. He was worried about them climbing on his prized vehicles. I finally got my way and went and bought a nice little barn and a pen for them and ended up with 2 female Nigerian dwarf goats about 2 years old.
Eventually I felt like I needed some baby goats. I had both my girls bred, and I ended up with 5 baby goats. Now 2 or 3 are pets but 7 is a herd. The babies are a year old and the moms are both 3.
In the winter I take them for walks, and they will follow me because they don’t have anything to distract them. The rest of the year they are attracted by my perennial garden, flower pots and even my daughter-in-laws nice lilac bush.
I got them for the calming mental therapy they offer. I must say even in the coldest part of winter I have never wished I didn’t have them. I enjoy the blatting as they see me come out the door. I’d like to believe they are happy to see me, but I know it's just because they are hungry.
Oh, and they have never jumped on any of my husband's vehicles.
Overall goats are great pets, do your research ahead of time and talk to a breeder. Check with your town, or city ordinances to be sure you can have goats. If you are ready for them, you will not regret the fun.