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6 Things to Know Before Getting a Miniature Goat

 by simone on 12 Jun 2014 |
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Cats are excellent pets. Dogs are loads of fun. Goldfish are certainly quiet. Apparently iguanas are loving. Still haven’t found your dream pet? Then what about miniature goats? If you’ve got the outdoor space then why not go for goats!

Miniature, pygmy or dwarf goats are exactly that. The same in every way as their larger cousins only, well, much smaller. Miniature breeds are predominantly kept as pets and are immeasurably cute, clever, fun and friendly. They are also quite easy to care for, hardy and adaptable. 

Miniature goats generally live for 8 -15 years, some even up to 20 years so it's a commitment not to be bleated at. They make fantastic companion animals, are great pets for children and tend to get along well with most other non-aggressive animals. They can even be taught to go on a leash, just like a dog. 

The males will grow larger than females and weigh 27 to 39 kg (60 to 86 lb) and females weigh 24 to 34 kg (53 to 75 lb). They will stand 40-65cm (16-26in).  

1. Regulations
First you’ll have to check with your council and animal regulator whether you are permitted goats where you live. It may be a condition that any goats need to be tagged or chipped for identification.

2. Herd animals
Goats are herd animals and will not like being alone. Having at least two goats will be less trouble and less demanding for you as they will have a companion to live and play with. Goats have also been known to play and live happily with other gentle animals such as dogs, cows, chickens and horses. Male goats will be more outgoing than females, but tend to generate a fairly strong smell if not desexed

3. Hey kid
To ensure that socialisation occurs, it is best to bring goats into your family when they still require bottle feeding. You and your children will love feeding and patting the kid goats, and who will in turn form close, trusting bonds with your family. The goats will also become more manageable as they are not unfamiliar with handling and people. Don’t leave any young children unsupervised with goats.  


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4. Housing

Although some people enjoy having their pet goats inside their home, they can be quite messy and are naturally outdoor animals. Ideally, you should only have them inside for short periods. Goats are tough little creatures but do require some basics for a safe and healthy life. You will need an appropriately sized and properly fenced enclosure that will also protect them from predators. And they will need shelter from rain, wind and sun.

Goats are amazing climbers, jumpers and can squeeze through holes that even Houdini would walk away from. Have the correct fencing, wire mesh is best, and make sure it is at least 120cm/48” high. 

Kid goats can be housed in large dog kennels initially but will need rehousing into a larger shelter as they grow. Horse stables, barns and barn stalls, and draft-free wooden structures all make great shelters, or you can purchase special livestock housing. 

5. Food and water
Goats have a reputation for eating anything. Whilst that’s mostly true, goats will not eat any spoiled food or drink water that is not fresh. If let loose, they will eat most plants and grasses so be careful that there's none in your garden that are poisonous. 

Their enclosure should have plenty of grass, clover and alfalfa for them to graze on, or fresh hay daily if grasses are unavailable. Grain, oats, corn and protein pellets should also be given. Any hay and grain must be in a trough and not on the ground. Small amounts of fruit and vegetables are also suitable and they will also need a salt and mineral lick. 

It is important to provide goats with clean, fresh water at all times. As with their food, the water should also be raised off the ground to avoid it being spoiled or muddied. 

5. Exercise and play
Though small in size, miniature goats are certainly not small in energy or playfulness. They should not be tethered, caged or confined in a small space for long. Their enclosure must be large enough that they have adequate room to live in and are able to jump and run round. A pair of goats ideally need one acre of space. 

Goats love to play and climb so give them objects that they can use such as large rocks, tree stumps, benches, tables, platforms, concrete blocks or a child’s tree house or activity centre. Some will also enjoy kicking around and playing with large balls. 

You should never allow your child to encourage rough play with goats. Goats are naturally gentle but have strong heads for butting and very strong legs. 

Goats can be leash-trained and you and your goats will look great out for your daily stroll!

6. Health and Grooming
Goats are prone to parasites and need regular worming and tick prevention. They should also be vaccinated annually for Tetanus and Enterotoxemi. Have the vet do a throrough teeth and mouth check at the same time. 

Goats can be de-horned or de-budded at a young age. You may need to trim their hooves every two - three months. If they are getting enough time and space to play, climb and run, their hooves will wear down from these activities. 

Every office should include a miniature goat to assist open (i.e. crush) mail, do some filing and keep staff morale high. 
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