10 Things I’ve Learned About Raising Goats

If you’re new to raising goats, there are a few things to know. Here’s what I learned while raising my silly named meat goats on my homestead.

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Photo by DIY Homesteading 101, Alina Bradford
  1. Get your new kids to eat out of the feed scoop while you hold it. The baby goats will start to think of you as their mom and will trust you.
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the goat’s water to help prevent UTIs.
  3. You can butcher a goat as early as three months old.
  4. There are mobile butchers that will come to your home. They can charge by the goat and by the mile.
  5. They need at least one other goat to hang out with, or they yell. A lot.
  6. Male goats like to pee all over themselves. So they stink all the time.
  7. If you’re going to let your goats graze, then your property will only be able to sustain one or two goats per acre. Of course, if you give them feed, you can have more on one acre.
  8. Goats should be given sweet feed as a treat. Their main diet should consist of grazing and alfalfa.
  9. Put pool noodles on their horns to keep them from hurting you while you take care of them.
  10. Invest in a goat collar and leash. This will make catching and moving your goats much easier.

More tips for raising goats

Caring for goats involves more than just providing food and water; it’s about creating a nurturing environment where they can thrive.

  1. Understand goat behavior: Goats are social, curious, and frustratingly stubborn animals. Understanding their behavior will help you manage them better.
  2. Provide adequate shelter: Goats need a clean, dry, and well-ventilated shelter to protect them from the elements and predators. Ensure their sleeping area is draft-free and has plenty of bedding material that is changed regularly.
  3. Nutrition is key: A balanced diet is crucial for goats. They primarily eat hay, and the quality of the hay should be high. Supplement their diet with goat pellets, fresh vegetables, and a mineral mix specific to goats’ nutritional needs. Fresh, clean water should always be available.
  4. Fencing for safety: Goats are known for escaping from enclosures. Invest in strong, secure fencing to keep them safe, and check fences regularly for potential escape routes.
  5. Healthcare and vaccinations: Regular veterinary care is important for goats. This includes vaccinations, deworming, and hoof care. Familiarize yourself with common goat ailments to detect issues early.
  6. Exercise and enrichment: Goats are super energetic and need space to roam and play. Providing an area where they can explore, climb, and exercise is important for their physical and mental health. You can use tires, large rocks, and platforms to create a stimulating environment. We used a swing in their enclosure and a little swimming pool in the summer.
  7. Breeding responsibly: If you plan to breed goats, do so responsibly. Understand the needs of pregnant does and be prepared for the birthing process. Seek advice from experienced breeders or veterinarians.
  8. Training and handling: Goats can be trained to follow commands and be handled. Start training when they are young, using treats and positive reinforcement. Gentle handling helps manage goats during veterinary visits and routine care.
  9. Join a community: Connect with local goat owners or online communities for support and advice. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn from sharing experiences, troubleshooting problems, and celebrating successes.
  10. Plan for their needs: Before bringing goats into your life, ensure you have the time, resources, and commitment to meet their needs. Goats can live for over a decade, so consider the long-term commitment seriously. Of course, if you’re raising meat goats, expect to have a three-month-long commitment.