Have you ever wondered, can I keep a goat in my backyard? While you should never keep a goat on its own, it’s absolutely possible to keep a pair or several goats in backyard environments – with the right care and facilities.
And there’s a lot to love about keeping backyard goats; they can provide milk, meat, and companionship year-round, in some cases, making them great fun pets to consider.
However, while it can be tempting, you should never rush into this decision; after all, keeping goats is a real commitment! So, with this thought in mind, today, we’re looking at everything you need to know about keeping goats in your backyard – and if you have what it takes to meet their needs.
The Basics of Keeping Goats in Backyard Environments
If you’ve been looking to keep goats in your backyard, you’ll need to do a little bit of planning to begin with. Indeed, even if your yard is already fenced, you can’t just let the goats loose and hope for the best.
As such, when keeping goats in your backyard, you will need to arrange the following features to keep your goats happy and well:
- Goat-proof fencing is a must! Goats are often excellent climbers and jumpers, especially for lighter breeds such as dairy goats or pygmy goats which can be very nimble. As such, your fencing must be strong and high enough to prevent your goats from escaping.
- Your new backyard goats will need some form of shelter from the elements. Since goats do not have lanolin in their coats, they will need a shelter of some kind to keep them well, especially during wet weather. However, they should also have shade to protect them when the weather turns hot to prevent them from getting sunburned; hairless areas, such as under the tail, are especially prone to sunburns.
- You will need to arrange suitable feeding and watering areas for your new goats. Be prepared to change these regularly, as goats are surprisingly wasteful animals in many cases! Look at a few different feeder designs to find the one that best suits your goats.
- Before you can keep goats in backyard environments, you will need to ensure you’ve got the correct approval to do so. For example, in the UK, you will need a CPH number for your land to keep any livestock, even pets. This may vary from country to country, so check with your local authorities as to any paperwork you may need to complete to keep goats in your backyard.
What is Required to Keep Goats in your Backyard?
If you want to keep goats in your backyard, you’ll need good fencing, housing, and feeding facilities for your goats and authorization from the authorities. However, you may also need to plan how you will feed your goats since many backyard goat pens won’t be large enough to feed goats on grass alone. If your goat pens are small, we also strongly recommend looking for enrichment ideas to keep your goats happy and interested.
Additional Things to Consider Before Getting Goats in the Backyard
While goats can comfortably live in backyard environments, this may not always be the ideal situation for them, so it’s worth considering whether you are genuinely able to provide your new goats with a happy life in a backyard environment.
Furthermore, if you’re planning on getting backyard goats to use for meat or milk, make sure to consider your kidding facilities and how you will manage to milk the goat – potentially twice per day if you remove her kids – or slaughter any meat kids that are born.
These are important considerations, as in many cases, a backyard goat pen may not be suitable for rearing potentially twin kids per doe along with the does themselves. You’ll also need to consider how to breed her – naturally, you’ll need either a buck/billy or to get her bred by artificial insemination for this.
Both options come with additional expenses and hassle, so if you have limited space, be sure to consider how you can manage this without compromising on your new goats’ welfare.
FAQs About Keeping Goats in your Backyard
Will goats eat my flowers?
If you plan on keeping goats in your backyard, there’s a good chance they will eat your flowers. As such, you should securely fence these flowers away from the goats to prevent unwanted accidents.
How much space do I need to keep goats in my backyard?
Goats are incredibly versatile and, if provided with enrichment, don’t necessarily need much space to be happy. However, you will ideally need around half an acre if you want to feed two goats exclusively on the grass during the spring, summer, and autumn/fall months.
Do goats make good backyard pets?
Thanks to their often agreeable nature, goats can make excellent backyard pets. However, they aren’t the easiest pets to keep and can definitely escape if given the opportunity, so your backyard must be “goat proof” before getting your first goats!
Do my backyard goats need much space?
Backyard goats don’t necessarily need much space, but they may get stressed without room to run around. As such, enrichment may be vital to keep them feeling happy and well; after all, goats are incredibly playful animals!
Keeping goats in backyard environments can seem tempting if you’ve always dreamed of having your own goats. However, it’s really not quite this simple. Indeed, while goats can make excellent pets, they aren’t always suited to a backyard environment. Not only will they likely trample (or try to eat!) any foliage and plants you have growing, but they will often also need a lot of extra care. As such, while you can have a goat in your backyard, you should consider this decision carefully. It’s not always the right thing for either you or your goats. However, if you take the appropriate steps to prepare, keeping goats in backyard pens is not only possible but surprisingly rewarding!