Can You Keep a Goat in the House? The Pros and Cons of a House Goat
Have you ever wondered about keeping pet goats inside the house? If you’re a goat lover, it’s well worth considering the different options available to keep your pet goats happy and healthy – and one such option you may have considered is whether you can keep pet goats inside the house. However, the question of “can you keep a goat in the house” is not always easy to answer, which is why our experts are on hand today to help you find out more about this topic. And hopefully, this will give you the tools you’ll need to give your goats a happy and healthy lifestyle overall.
Can you Keep Pet Goats Inside the House?
“Can you keep pet goats inside the house” is a tempting question to ask. However, while you can keep pet goats inside the house for a short period of time, we recommend against keeping pet goats in the house for a long duration.
Indeed, goats ideally need to be outside in the fresh air with other goats to stay fit and well; providing a suitable environment for a pet goat indoors is very difficult. However, if you can provide an outdoor pen for your goat adjoining their indoor pen, this may be more practical.
What are Some of the Benefits of Keeping Pet Goats Inside the House?
This can offer numerous benefits if you need to keep your goats indoors temporarily. Some of the key perks of keeping your pet goats inside the house for a short while include:
- Allows you to easily clean out their outdoor house or pen without being mobbed
- Helps you keep a closer eye on your goats if they have been unwell or aren’t looking right
- Gives goat owners the chance to isolate sick animals from the rest of the herd so they don’t get bullied, picked on, or hurt by other herd members (goats aren’t often nice to ill animals!)
- This can be a suitable short-term solution while repairing a broken part of your outdoor pens
What are the Risks of Keeping a Pet Goat Inside the House?
While you can keep your goat indoors for a short period of time, if necessary, this comes with numerous risks. These include:
- A lack of airflow in your home (common for many houses) may increase the chances of your goat getting ill – discuss this with your veterinarian to learn more about airflow’s importance
- If your goat is kept in a very small amount of space inside the home, they may not be able to get an adequate amount of exercise in
- Keeping your goat indoors in a small pen for a long time may reduce its ability to act naturally and exhibit natural behaviors (e.g. browsing for forage and climbing), which could represent a welfare concern for the goat
- If your goat stays in a small pen for an extended time, the chances of it suffering from conditions such as internal parasites may be higher without very regular pen cleaning
What Kind of Food and Water do Goats Need to Stay Healthy Indoors?
If you’re keeping goats indoors, you will need to carefully consider their diet to keep them healthy. Many people assume that a few branches of leaves will be enough for their goat while it’s indoors; however, this is not the case. In fact, most goats will need around 1 – 2 kg (2 to 4 pounds) of feed per day in dry matter. As such, a few damp leaves certainly won’t do the job!
With this thought in mind, it’s advisable to provide the bulk of its diet with hay when your goat is indoors. Since hay is around 85% dry matter normally, it is much easier for your goat to eat enough food to stay well than providing them with freshly cut grass and the like. However, fresh food is fine as a treat, but you may struggle to cut enough every day to keep your goat going. Remember: a lot of grass’ composition by weight is water, so you may need to feed two or three times as much grass as hay to keep your goat well.
It’s also worth considering minerals if your goat is indoors. Feeding your goat a suitable level of hard feed may provide this, as can mineral supplements and licks. Discuss this with your vet if you’re not sure; they’ll be able to take a blood test to tell you which minerals your goat is lacking (if any).
Other Things You Should Consider Before Keeping Pet Goats Inside the House
At this point, we’ve outlined some of the main benefits and drawbacks of keeping pet goats inside the house. Overall, goats are herd animals and grazers, so being outdoors is much healthier for them than being in the house. As such, we don’t recommend keeping pet goats as house pets without any access to the outdoors. However, if you plan on bringing your goat indoors for a short period of time to help them recover or avoid harsh weather conditions, you should consider the following:
- Goats love to climb! As such, if you bring your goats indoors, be prepared to find them potentially in places they shouldn’t be (such as atop a table or chair)
- You might find that your goats attempt to chew your furniture – this won’t normally damage the furniture as it’s mainly out of curiosity but could harm your goats if any cleaning chemical residue is left on the furniture.
- Goats aren’t really “toilet trainable.” While a few people claim to have succeeded with training their goats on where to go to the bathroom, this is uncommon. As such, be prepared for a lot of cleaning up if you let the goat wander around your home!
If you need to keep a pet goat inside the house for a short time, this can offer numerous benefits – mainly if your pet goat is sick. Indeed, a newborn kid that’s weak or a goat that’s feeling under the weather may not be able to thrive outdoors until they’re stronger. In this case, bringing your pet goats inside the house can allow them to heal and recover without competition, stress, or harsh weather conditions.
However, we strongly recommend keeping your pets outdoors for the most part since goats are not really suitable house pets; as a herd animal, your goats should ideally be kept outdoors or in a barn environment with other goats. Their pen should always have good airflow, which may help promote their overall health and happiness going forward.