Tuesday, September 14, 2021

A Guide To Goat Predators: How To Keep Your Goat Safe

Whether your goats are pets or for meat or milk, you'll have to be careful to protect your animals from goat predators.  Learn what animals eat goats and how to make a predator proof goat pen.

The goats on our homestead are pets.  My cousin breeds them, so we got a few off of him for the kids to raise.  Goats are a lot of fun, and they make great pets for a homestead.

Many homesteaders have goats for milk.  Others raise them for meat.  No matter what their purpose on your homestead, it's important to familiarize yourself with what eats a goat to protect your goats.

A Guide to Goat Predators

You should know about predators of goats before getting goats.  However, it's never too late to protect your herd and learn how to make a predator proof goat pen.

If you're new to goats, check out more about getting started with goats and a supply list and what you need to know before getting goats

I also have some suggestions for the best goat breeds for pets, best goat breeds for milk, and best goat breeds for pets.  Also familiarize yourself with what can a goat eat and what can't goats eat.

What Are The Goat Predators?

Yes, goats do have predators. As far as what a goat eats, this can vary. Certain animals will hunt goats for sport while others hunt for food.

Animals such as wolves, coyotes, dogs, foxes, bears, eagles, and even mountain lions are goat predators. Fortunately, these predators of goats do not all exist in the same environment. Typically, you will have one or two kinds of predators you will have to keep an eye out for. 


It is important to keep an eye on disturbances around your property, and it is never a bad idea to do some research and see what kind of predators you should be concerned with in your environment.

Do You Need To Protect Goats From Predators?

Yes, you should take the necessary precautions to protect your goats. Goats have many natural predators, as you can tell from the list above. Further, if they are on chains or penned in they will not have the opportunity to flee like in the wild. 


As such, it is important to protect your goats preemptively, and keep predators of goats out and away from your goat herd.

Can Goats Defend Themselves?

When in a survival situation, goats can become aggressive and protect themselves. They have been known to trample smaller animals such as foxes. However, they are at a major disadvantage when it comes to larger animals or packs of animals.


As such, while they can defend themselves to a certain extent, it is always best to keep goat predators away from your goats to begin with.

What Eats A Goat? 

As far as what animals eat a goat, any of the predators discussed thus far could eat a goat. However, some distinction can be made between sport predators and food predators. However, sport predators have been known to eat goats anyway.


What Would Kill A Goat?

Any of the predators above could, in theory, kill a goat if given the opportunity. Of course, this depends on prey drive, the size of your herd, and other conditions as well. However, when preparing for protection you should always prepare for the worst.


When learning what eats a goat it is always best to check on what predators are specific to your climate as well as their habits.

Would A Fox Kill A Goat?

If given the opportunity, a fox could kill a goat. Foxes are natural predators of goats but are not as well-equipped as are larger and more fierce animals such as coyotes and wolves.

Will Bears Kill Goats?

Bears are fairly reclusive but on occasion they have been known to attack livestock. They are incredibly hard for a goat to defend against, and if aggressive enough can knock down or otherwise bypass fragile security measures.


If you think bears are going to be a problem, always invest in heavy duty protective equipment. In fact, you can find fencing and other such protective measures that are made to withstand bears.

Can A Raccoon Kill A Goat?

Raccoons tend to keep to themselves, but on the off chance they do decide to attack a goat they have an uphill battle. While a raccoon could kill a goat, I would be more concerned with the raccoon wounding the goat.


Goats, especially medium to larger ones, can easily trample raccoons if need be. However, raccoons can scratch and bite leading to wounds, infections, and possibly diseases.

For this reason, I recommend having a goat or livestock first aid kit and be prepared with the name of a good vet.  Goat vets can be hard to find, even in a rural area.

Can Goats Defend Themselves Against Coyotes?

Coyotes are hard animals for goats to fight, seeing as how they are typically pack animals. One on one your goat has an okay chance but coyotes are known to be vicious. For this reason, I would not rely on a goat to defend itself against a coyote attack.

Can Goats Stay out All Night?

If they are penned up and well protected, goats can stay out during the nighttime. However, it is best to put them away or give them access to shelter for a variety of reasons. 


First and foremost, the nighttime is when goat predators like to come out. Even with the proper protection around your goat, leaving them out might be asking for trouble. Further, your goats will be tired and thus less alert.


You also have the problem of dealing with the elements, especially if it starts to storm or if the temperature drops too much. For these reasons it is always best to at least offer your goats some shelter during the nighttime.

How Do You Keep Goat Predators Out Of Goat Pens?

The best way to keep predators out is to invest in a quality fence. Further, your fence should be tall enough so that goat predators cannot jump in and your goats cannot jump out. Essentially, you want to prevent the predators from getting near the goats whatsoever.

What Is The Best Guard Dog For Goats?

Guard animals are large investments both financially and also in terms of time. Further, they are not a one and done source of protection. Their effectiveness depends on a variety of factors that will ultimately boil down to the individual animal. 


Larger sheep dogs are good dogs to keep your goats safe. Breeds such as great pyrenees, Akbash, Maremma Sheepdogs and Tibetan Mastiffs all make good goat protectors. It is important to properly introduce a dog to your goats. 


It is usually preferred to raise your dogs and your goats with each other at the same time so that they can develop a bond with one another. If you introduce them as adults it may take some time for your goats to get used to the dog. 


This is especially so if your goats are not used to having other animals around. They might be skiddish or frightened at first, so the introduction might take time.


You can also purchase llamas and alpacas. These large animals will go after predators just like dogs and stomp on them until they leave or perish. They require the same time and attention as guard dogs do, but they are another option.

How To Build A Predator Proof Goat Pen

The best way to build a predator proof goat pen  is to have a large fence protecting your goats and surrounding their grazing area. From there, have a secure indoor structure for the goats to sleep and eat in. This offers two lines of defense at night when the predators are out and about.

You can also utilize an electric fence to keep predators from badgering the fence. I recommend  utilizing an electric perimeter surrounding a sturdy fence. You can also take steps to reduce the occurence of animals coming near your property. 

Loud noises, such as gunshots and machinery will keep animals from coming around. Of course, noise protection is only recommended if you do not live in a zone area. Further, foot traffic and certain scents can deter predators from hunting on or around your property. 

Depending on the predator there are plenty of deterrents you can purchase and use around your homestead, such as dried blood. All in all, these measures will help to build a predator proof goat pen.

Deterrent Lights

We don't use deterrent lights, but I have heard that people use them.  These lights have flickering LED lights that mimic the blinking eyes of an animal.  This is supposed to deter potential predators from attacking your animals.

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