With a lifespan of 10-30 years of age, goats are social animals that enjoy the company of other goats or farm animals. Though not commonly kept as pets, they are quite fun to have around. If you intend on rearing goats, there are some facts you should know to satisfy yourself and the goats at large.
- Determine if goats are even allowed on your property. Some urban and suburban areas are now allowing for keeping a few hens for egg-laying, but that does not mean that the ordinances allow for a goat. And even if it’s not officially clarified on the books, and you are thinking, “better to ask forgiveness than permission,” you should really check into how your neighbors are going to feel about it. If they are opposed to the idea, they might be inclined to try and intimidate or harm your goats over the fence.
- Yes, I keep using the plural, goats. You really shouldn’t have a goat, you should have goats. These are herd animals who will not thrive if they are the only goat on a property. So you need to be able to take on at least two, and provide them the space, feed, health care, and attention that they need.
- Do not purchase an intact buck. Bucks can be sweet some of the time, but when they are “in rut” and wanting to breed, they are aggressive, stinky, and can be dangerous. I still have a scar on my leg from last year’s breeding season when the buck on our property rammed my leg. And he didn’t have horns, either. It just goes to show they don’t need those to defend themselves! Your best bet gender-wise for pets is to get neutered males – wethers. They have a very sweet disposition. But, make sure that wethers have been fixed at the proper time – right around the time they start to go into puberty. Wethers are at risk for urinary calculi, which can kill them, and if they are neutered too young, they are at even higher risk for this problem. But if they were neutered properly, the risk is much lower. By purchasing wethers as pets, you will probably be saving them from going to the slaughterhouse to be used as meat, too.
To say the least. If you happen to have a doe (a girl goat) and she’s in heat (like almost every month), “loud” won’t be the word that you use to describe it. At this point I promise that I’ll get several comments or emails telling me all about their quiet-as-a-church-mouse goat. This will not be the case with your goat. If you have an unfriendly neighbor that has zero pet tolerance, you will have a problem.
Check out this video so you know what I am talking about…