Saturday, August 28, 2021

Raising Goats 101: What You Need To Know Before Getting Goats

Goats are a fun addition to a homestead, and they can be used for milk or meat.  Some families choose to raise a few goats for pets.  No matter what your reason for getting goats, learn how to start raising goats.

Goats are some of the most unique critters you can raise, and it’s no wonder why they are becoming more and more popular to own. Goats milk and meat are rising in demand, and as pets they are full of fun.

Raising goats for beginners can be tricky at first, as goats differ from traditional livestock and indoor pets. Goats have specific needs that must be met and are not always apparent to us owners. Following is a goats for dummies guide to get you started before you purchase them.

Raising Goats For Beginners: Getting Started

Before you can get into the specifics on raising goats for beginners, it is important to understand what you will need. Following is a brief lesson in raising goats 101. 

At a minimum, you will need plenty of land for goats to graze in as well as indoor shelter to keep them warm and dry during bad weather and the harsher months. 

The indoor home for your goats does not have to be fancy but it should have enough room for straw to be laid down, heat lamps to be hooked up, and their food and water to be safely stored.

Learn more about what you need and get a list of supplies needed for goats and learn what can goats eat.  

Goats can also make you money!  Learn 35 ways to make money from your homestead.

Is Raising Goats Easy?

Like all animals, raising goats takes time and commitment. Further, they can be finicky and at times frustrating to raise. However, they are also incredibly fun and loveable in their own goat ways!


Raising goats is a unique experience as they have the needs of outdoor livestock with the personalities of indoor pets. That is why there are so many goats for dummies type of guides out there.  Learn about the best goat breeds for pets, best goat breeds for milk, and the best goat breeds for beginners for easier goat breeds.

Are Goats High Maintenance?

Depending on the breed, goats can in fact be high maintenance. Some breeds of goats are heavily dependent on schedules and consistency in their diet and routine. For raising goats for beginners, it is best to stick with one brand of feed for your goat and ween them off of it before switching to a new brand. 


Further, try to feed, water and, if applicable, let them out at around the same time each day. Major disruptions in diet or schedule could cause illnesses such as stomach aches in your goats.


Goats can be rather finicky which is something many goats for dummies guides don’t get into. However, with proper care and preparation you will have nothing to worry about.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Goat Farming

As previously mentioned, goats are finicky creatures. They also like to wander and if they can get out of their pen sometimes will.


Further, they take up a lot of room and need to be rotated often. Goats are great at mowing entire acres of grass over the course of a few days especially in larger numbers.

Can I Keep A Goat In My Backyard?

Assuming you have the space you absolutely can keep goats in your backyard, just remember that goats need friends and lots of space to roam.

How Many Acres Do You Need Per Goat

If you're homesteading, one of the biggest things to consider for raising goats for beginners is how much room goats need.  Unlike many other types of livestock, it is a lot harder to measure how many acres you need per goat. Rather, the trick is to avoid overcrowding and overconsumption in the field. 


Goats are at their best when there are plenty of tall plants that they can eat, and they can eat quite a lot! I recommend at most ten goats to an acre. However, if you are unable to move them around or your land lacks a lot of vegetation you will probably want fewer goats.

How Many Goats Should A Beginner Start With?

Goats are social creatures and as such they require companion animals to live with. When you first start to learn how to start raising goats it is best to keep to a smaller, more manageable herd. 


I recommend raising three to six goats to start out with. This will be a manageable herd and will allow your goats to interact with one another which is crucial to their longevity. 

Goats are incredibly social so having a few around will make things easier for them, especially in the beginning.

What Are The Easiest Goats To Keep?

As a general goats for dummies type of rule, when you first learn how to start raising goats, you will want to start with a smaller, better tempered breed. While they will yield less milk or meat than larger goats, they are much easier to handle.

What Is Required To Raise Goats?

There are a few things you will need to raise goats and following is a continuation of our brief lesson in raising goats 101. To start, you will need large bowls for watering your goats during the day and at night. 

In the wintertime, you may also need heat lamps and heated bowls to prevent water from melting and to keep your goats warm.


You will also want to provide them with salt licks and hay feeders to graze off of. Further, it is always a good idea to tag or collar your goats should they get loose and run off. 


In order to keep all of your goats' food and equipment safe and in one place, I also recommend investing in a large container to store everything in.


Personally, I store my goat feed in bins with secure lids. This keeps other animals from knocking them over and stealing all of my goats dry feed. The last thing you want is a problem with other animals, or a problem with missing feed.


You will also need to consult with a professional about getting your goats their required medicinal vaccines, especially if you purchase them young. Many goat breeders and farms will have already taken care of this depending on the age of the goat but always check just in case.

I recommend finding a goat vet before you get goats or soon after.  We live in a rural area with a lot of 4-H kids, and we still had a hard time finding a goat vet.  

What Kind Of Fence Do I Need For Goats?

Goats are naturally curious creatures and love to explore. They can also jump really high meaning they can easily escape most short fences. I recommend a height of about eight feet for your goats fence.


You will also need to ensure that there are no large gaps that your goats can sneak through. Goats are surprisingly agile and can squeeze through incredibly small gaps. Further, they are very strong and can smash down thin fences such as chicken wire.

Do Goats Get Attached To Humans?

Goats can in fact get attached to humans, but their loyalties are typically to the herd. If your herd breaks loose and a goat has to choose between them or you, don’t be offended. 


Domestically, goats can form bonds with humans and will follow them around. They are not always receptive to normal pet activities such as pettings and playtime, but they do appreciate having us around.

Can Goats Survive On Grass Alone?

Most goats for dummies guides greatly emphasize the importance of grazing. Grazing is incredibly important to the health of a goat, but it is not always enough. 

In a domestic environment, goats cannot always access all of the nutrients they need. That is why it is important to supplement their diets so that they can be at their healthiest.

Do Goats Need Salt Blocks?

Salt is a cornerstone of a goat's diet. Wild goats are able to roam and forage for salt, but domesticated goats cannot. 

This is why salt blocks are so important and great for goats. They are a great source of goat nutrition and a must have for your herd.

Books for Raising Goats for Beginners

This is an admittedly short guide to how to start raising goats.  I recommend reading some books about goats, and these books can become a resource.  

We've had goats for more than 5 years, and we still reference our goat books.  Here are some that I recommend:


There you have it, a beginners guide to raising goats. With the information on this list you are well on your way to owning and raising your very own goats.


Goats are wonderfully quirky creatures, and they can give us all sorts of benefits from meat to dairy and even companionship. While they can be a bit extra to handle at times, they are well worth it.


Learning how to raise goats can be tricky, but the key is in careful preparation. Make sure you are equipped to handle problems before they happen and you will have no trouble at all raising your very own goats!


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