Getting started with Dairy Goats – Are You Sure you want goats?

Part 1: Keeping goats in – or at least trying to!

Goats are great, but make sure they are for you!  They are very social and enjoy companionship. Yours or another goat. Even if they have goat friends they may still want to be with you.  Many goats are “thinkers”. They like to figure out how to accomplish what they want.  It may take a while, but they will usually make it happen.  You need to be sure you and your neighbors are ready for this!

This being said, do not go cheap on fences!  Electric fences are great as long as they stay working.  You have a very short time to get it fixed before they will discover they can get out.  Short cuts will only make more work in the long run.  The goats will greatly enjoy the freedom and exploration time, but you likely will not.

Another item that needs to be carefully chosen are latches. Goat lips are amazingly agile!  They can carefully sort out their feed and eat only what they want and they can undo many types of latches. Of course this should go without saying, but if you forget to latch the gate, they WILL get out and it will be your fault, not theirs!  Unlatched gates mean play time!  You have been warned!

I am sure you2013-06-15 17.31.31 can tell that this is a voice of experience talking! Even though my whole herd has escaped more times than I can count, they always come when called.  Over the years I finally discovered that if I calmly call them they follow me to the gate and quite a few go right in.  This leaves only a few obstinate ones to catch.  I usually get a workout with them, but at least I am not frantically chasing 25 goats around!  If you notice, I did mention that I lead them to the gate.  I mean pasture gate.  The first thing I do when we have a break out is close up the barn!  A herd of goats loose in the barn is a disaster!  A great time for them though!

Goats need and want to go outside. Please do not be temped to keep them locked in a barn stall to avoid having to put up fencing.  If you do not want to have fencing put up maybe you should not have farm animals yet.  It is work, but so are they.  You will have a happy, content barn if they have a good environment.