Do you own pet goats? Tell me about it?

My wife and I are house shopping right now and one of the wish list items for my wife is to move to an even more rural area, get a couple of acres of land and a couple of pygmy goats. I don’t know why exactly, but she is really really in love with the idea of owning pet goats. So I figure I would find out what goat ownership is like. I have found a couple of blogs, but I thought that at least a couple of dopers must have pet goats and can share some stories.

How is it owning pet goats?

I don’t have some but I know someone who does. They eat everything, are extremely destructive, and are escape artists. Fun to go look at, but bring home? Not here.

We had nubian goats. They gave great milk. And are quite beautiful, with long floppy ears.

One of doper Scylla’s classic threads:

Goat Porn

I don’t have any (but would love to other than the middle of an Iowa Winter maintenance) but my husband’s BFF has had 3 over the years. The first 2 were a pair of fainting goats. When one died they gave the other one away to someone who had lots of goats (they were busy away from home that year and didn’t want the goat to be lonely since the dogs travelled with them).

The second goat was given to them to be a companion to the potbellied pig someone else had given them. They shared the same pen for about 5 years. That goat is very smart and is allowed to roam the farm. The property is not fenced in but she has never left. The neighbors were wondering if she had a perimeter collar on like the dogs do but Nope.

She gets along very well with the dogs except for the time my in-laws brought their small mixed breed out and it chased her. She turned around and chased it. And slammed into Mistermage which sent him flying. He was quite proud to have kept his beer from spilling.

She likes to be brushed and she enjoys being hand fed when she is in her pen. When loose she tends to stay a few feet away from everyone. She learned the hard way to not eat the garden plants… that was the year Mistermage and BFF went overboard on planting Ghost Peppers and Habaneros. They told me it was like watching a rodeo as she bucked and squealed.

Mister Pig passed away early this winter. I don’t know if they’ll be getting another pig, another goat or just let her be alone with the dogs as company.

I had 3 Pygmy goats. They like people and do a great job with, er, yard maintenance. They’ll keep every plant in their areas trimmed, except grass. If you want a trimmed lawn, get a sheep. The fire marshal came through doing fire season inspections and told us we had the best land, in terms of brush free, ready for fire season that he had seen. We had the goats in about 2 acres around the house.

Ours were very affectionate, and wanted head rubs and scritches.

If you get males, make sure they’re neutered or get them neutered. Intact male goats smell. We had 2 neutered males and one female. She ruled the roost. If we wanted to move them anywhere, we took her and they followed.

Our neighbor across the way had a female Pygmy. She was not fenced it at all. Slept under the deck at night and didn’t roam. We had mountain lions, bears, and coyotes in the area, so we always brought ours into a small enclosure up at the house for the night.

Pygmy goats will go under fence boards (bigger goats climb or jump). We had to add additional boards in some areas so they didn’t wiggle out. Mostly to keep them out of my flowers.

I thought they were a lot of fun. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

My in-laws keep goats (nubian-something cross). I endorse spamforbrains’ post 100%. However, that doesn’t mean your wife shouldn’t get them.

My father-in-law loves his little goatlings, feeds them their oat mix every day, pats their little floppy ears. They love him back and follow him around everywhere when he’s in their paddock … occasionally one will follow him and a strangely shaped stick round the back of the shed and there’ll be a brief but loud noise … the chest freezer is generally well stocked …

I’d recommend against boy goats - they smell and are more aggressive. My daughters have spent many happy hours with the girl goats, feeding them on ‘delicacies’ like Patterson’s Curse (it’s a very aggressive weed - and yes the goats will eat it - they’re good for something!) and patting their silky ears and following them around. Goats are pretty talented acrobatically. The in-law goats all have goat shelters made out of large half-barrels on their sides - they’ll leap up on top to have a bit of a look round quite frequently, leap back down again - the fact that there’s not two square inches of actually flat roof on those things doesn’t seem to bother them much.

Father-in-law’s goats are enclosed by an electric fence - worth every penny. Also, all the nearby fruit trees are enclosed in their own little fences just in case of escapage - which does happen occasionally. Some of the smaller goats have managed to figure out that if you just crawl under the nasty stingy wire and keep crawling yes it will zap you a few times, but then you’ll be OUT! These clever goats generally have an appointment with Mr Bangy Stick earlier than they otherwise would.

If you get goats you have to get them a goat playground then post the video :wink:

We had goats when I was a lad. I also endorse spamforbrains’ post 100%. They really like to eat anything that has sweat on it. Think seats; lawn mower, tractor, motorcycle, & bicycle. Oh yeah, Unicycle seats are also delicious.

Pygmy goats may be different, but I would not bet my tractor or motorcycle seats on that.

Goats are a very social animal, they need playmates & play toys. They will climb, accept that & 1/2 of your battles will be over. They like to eat brush. Rose bushes & lilacs are good eating to a goat. As are any fruit trees. They do like blackberries, so if you are overrun with blackberries, goats may be a good solution.

OTOH, Goats are good eating, if butchered young that is. Five year old goats are tough to eat.

IHTH, 48.

As they’re intelligent, creative and always hungry, they’re great candidates for clicker training. I’ve trained them to touch a target, step on a box, back up, walk on a leash, lots of things, just with a clicker and a bucket of alfalfa pellets. They can be trained to haul a little cart, too.

Keeping livestock species as pets is always a little questionable to me, but goats straddle the line. Depending on your location, you might have trouble finding a livestock vet who agrees with you about treatment decisions. Livestock breeders, too, are often anxious about smallholders/pet owners, as their biosecurity is usually not as rigorous as a large commercial operation, and so outbreaks of disease are more common. So consult with your local experts and keep a clean goat pen, and you, the goats, and the farmers will be happy.