Goats—Farm Animals That Make Great Pets!

Updated on April 26, 2018
Austinstar profile image

L. Cargill, B.A., Sam Houston University, Huntsville, TX., has been writing cool and interesting articles for the internet world since 1995.

The Face of a Goat

Goats have interesting faces
Goats have interesting faces | Source

Goats as Pets - a tale from a friend

To anyone who doubts if goats can be good pets I like to tell them the story of my first animal friend. When I was a small child my neighbors had a goat. My childish exuberance took over any fear and we soon started playing together. The goat was very friendly and followed me around everywhere. I named her Peggy. Soon, we became inseparable. Peggy would come at our front door every morning and start yelling until I’d wake up and come out to play. Peggy was my best animal friend as a child. I’ll never forget our bond. That is why I will never stop believing that goats can make great pets.

While most people don’t think of goats this way, more knowledge about them could quickly change their mind. The reason why so many people only see them as livestock is because the experience of owning a goat is not very well known. It’s certainly an unconventional choice and most people wouldn’t even know where to start. However, while choosing to have a pet goat can be new and challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding and actually easier than most would imagine. Goats are smart and resilient creatures that do not require much maintenance. They are very playful animals that are capable of forming strong bonds with humans.

Plus, goats are really cute.

The other side of the goat

Goats rarely turn the other cheek
Goats rarely turn the other cheek | Source

Miniature goat breeds - best for pets

Full size goat breeds should stay on farms where they have enough room to be themselves. Miniature goat breeds are best for pets on small acreage plots. A miniature breed would be about the same size as medium sized dog.

Some of the miniature breeds to consider are:

  • Nigerian dwarf goats
  • pygmy goats
  • Kinders
  • Mini dairy goats

And remember to consider the fact that goats are herd animals. Getting more than one goat is essential for their well being. A solo goat will be lonely and unhappy.

Neutered male goats are called wethers and make the best pets. Of course, if you want to breed them, it will be best to have a pair of intact male and female goats.

How to choose a pet goat

One of the first choices you would have to make as a prospective goat owners is choosing the type of goat you want to have. Here are some important aspects to consider before getting a pet goat:

  • Goats come in many shapes and sizes. Small goats are probably best suited to be pets but larger ones can be fun to own too.

  • You will need to provide ample space to your goat to keep it happy and healthy. Goats are very athletic animals. So you can expect lots of running around and jumping on top of tall objects or over fences. They can jump and climb up to the tops of roofs!

  • Goats are not very well suited to be house pets. They defecate and pee anywhere and anytime. House training a goat can take a lot of time and be extremely challenging. It’s probably best if you can provide a small shelter with a roof for your pet goats.

Your goats need a suitable home

Don't forget that goats are really good at escaping from regular fenced in yards! They also do not do well on a leash or on a tie line.

Research the types of enclosures that will make your pet goats comfortable and safe. Electric fencing may be needed to keep your pets in, and their predators out.

They also need a shelter to protect them from bad weather. Their home will have to be kept clean and dry.

Goats like the company of other goats

A group of goats is called a 'tribe'
A group of goats is called a 'tribe' | Source

What to feed your goat

You need to know what type of food goats will eat. They can generally eat pretty much any kind of vegetation. Goats are browsers, which means they like to browse between plants and eat a little bit of everything. They will even eat your flowers and break off branches from your trees.

You will probably want to provide them with an enclosure so that they have some boundaries for their safety and the safety of your plants.

One important food fact concerning goats is that they only eat clean food. If the hay you provide gets trampled, wet or mixed with dirt they will not eat it. One great solution is to hang their food somewhere higher from the ground, so they can pick it directly from there. They love the exercise.

Some of the favorite foods of goats are hay, leaves from tree branches, vegetables (only small amounts of cabbage) and cereals. They even eat human food, in small amounts, usually given as a treat. Most importantly though, you have to know that the staple food of goats is hay.

Never let your goats eat these!

There are however also plants that can be very dangerous to goats, especially in large quantities. Many common weeds and shrubs can be poisonous to goats but in small quantities they will only have small negative health effects. Here is a short list of some of the plants that are poisonous to goats:

  • Rhododendron

  • Bracken fern

  • Hemlock

  • Ragwort

  • Laurel

  • Linseed

  • Foxglove

  • Water Dropwort (Oenanthe)

Goats are not suitable for city living.

Do you have land and a desire to raise goats as pets or livestock?

See results

Goats and Water

Clean water is very important to goats. They should have water available in some container at all times. They can be a little aggressive with the objects in their vicinity. If you’re concerned about them breaking the container, you can bring them water in a bucket, a few times a day. You have to know that goats will only drink clean water. They will also refuse to drink if the container has had food or something else in it that gives a strong smell.

Basically, goats are great fans of cleanliness, especially concerning food and water. If the weather is cold outside, goats will only drink warm water. Their water intake varies depending on temperature and feed. Hot temperatures will increase water consumption. If the everyday food is made of fresh, wet grass the need for water will decrease compared to when they eat mostly hay.

Goats versus Dogs

Goats can and do get along with other pets
Goats can and do get along with other pets | Source

Do goats get along with other pets?

Some people could be inclined to think that goats will not get along well with other pets, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

All the goats I’ve owned got along wonderfully with dogs, cats and pigs alike. Of course, at first they will be fearful when meeting a dog, or any other animal, but given a few days or weeks together, they’ll grow accustomed to each other and become best friends.

The only danger is with very small animals, like small kittens, as the goats might accidentally step on them. Goats are not always mindful of their surroundings, especially when tasty food lies in front

Goat Behavior

Goats are some of the smartest herbivores. They are very curious and inquisitive. Your pet goat will love exploring every corner of the back yard. You can name your goat and the goat will learn it in time. They can understand a variety of words with enough training. However, while smart, goats are not as trainable as dogs. Your expectations should be realistic. The best aspect of their intelligence in my opinion is that each has its own personality and emotions, and they are capable of great bonding.

Behavior Problems in Goats

There will be some downsides to owning a goat as well.

They can be aggressive and sometimes even violent. Goats can hit you pretty hard with their heads, especially those that have horns. It sounds funny but goats are capable of taking ‘revenge’ if you annoy them or make them envious. Usually though, they will stop the aggressiveness if you establish yourself as the leader and dominant member of the herd.

Another downside will be that goats will chew up anything, even clothing or house plants, so proper delimitation of space is in need in order to avoid dealing with damaged property.

Time could be an issue as well, as feeding your goats and cleaning after them could take a portion of your day.

Finally, there’s the issue of noise. Goats can be very vocal at times and this can upset neighbors.

All things considered, owning goats as pets can provide some challenges, but these can be overcome and the results are incredibly satisfying.

Cute baby goats laughing and playing!

Questions & Answers

    Do you have an amusing story about goats?

    Submit a Comment

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This was interesting to read regarding the care of goats. I remember seeing some of them on grass rooftops in Door County, Wisconsin. There was once a restaurant in the Houston metro area that my mother and I frequented quite a few years ago. It used to be in the garage of a home in the country that was retrofitted into a dining room. Goats roamed freely outside of the place. The goats seemed very interested in the visitors and it was not unusual that they would follow us from the parking lot right up to the doors of the dining room. It was quite a "tribe." Reading this brought back those memories.

    • JanisaChatte profile image

      Janisa 

      6 months ago from Earth

      I'm actually thinking of getting a goat someday, but it's more for the free milk than anything else :D I really love cheese and would love to learn how to produce those myself, perhaps even using fresh goat milk

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      2 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I didn't know that gout would hurt the kidneys! I'm on 2 of them a day now. Don't remember the strength. But it does cut down on the gout attacks.

      I can't remember ever drinking goat milk, but I kind of like goat cheese!

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      2 years ago

      Latest on gout...had to cut my allopurinal back to 100/day as it was killing my kidneys, so far, no gout. I drink goat's milk and eat goat's cheese, love it, tastes so nutty.

      Keep goats, you are so lucky in the US; space, space. Britain is awful 1000 a mile nearly

      Bob x

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      2 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Hi Nell, I am still working on getting some goats, they are every bit as cute as puppies.

      I also wrote 'Lost Mountain' - a response to billybuc's challenge.

    • profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago

      I love goats, I always remember an uncle having a few when I was tiny, I don't remember much about it but I do remember cuddling them!

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      2 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      @Bob - I take allopurinal and still get gout attacks. Ibuprofen and ice packs seem to help the most during an attack. I'm not supposed to take Ibuprofen, but it is the only thing that relieves the inflammation!

      @Alicia - I want goats for my 2 acres of WEEDS and brush. But Bob doesn't like goats. I've been trying to talk him into getting some for ages.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed hearing about the goats that my father used to own when I was a child and have wanted some of my own for a long time. Thank you for sharing the facts and the advice about keeping goats safe and happy. I may never be able to have any as pets, but I love to daydream!

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      2 years ago

      Lela...I suffer with gout, too, take allopurinal 300 every day which keeps it down.

      Better to have a "goat attack!"

      Bob

    • profile image

      kaili bisson 

      2 years ago

      The video at the end is great. I think goats are very cute, but unfortunately not suitable where I live. I wonder if they eat goutweed? If so, they would be very happy in my yard :-)

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      2 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Thanks! I will add a list today of the types of goats that make the best pets. There are hundreds! Right now, it's 3am on this side of the pond and I am icing down a gout attack :-(

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 

      2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Good article Lela about an animal few will be familiar with. I have been butted by a Billy goat once...it was frightening! ...and that was through a fence!

      You might have mentioned more about the types available, like the miniature ones, etc.

      Bob

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)