Are you looking to raise goats in your yard but are unsure of where to start? In this quick and easy-to-understand blog post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to raise goats in your backyard.
Whether you’re just getting started or have already established a home for your incoming new pets, you should find this guide useful.
Benefits of Raising Goats in Your Backyard
Before you dive into this guide, it’s important to understand the benefits of having goats right in your backyard.
Goats make great pets. Because they’re small, relatively quiet, and easy to manage, they can be kept inside a typical backyard and can even be trained to do tricks! They’re also friendly, gentle, and loyal. Spending time with them while they’re young will likely have them following you around for cuddles.
By raising goats, you can get free milk for the whole family, which is often considered to be much tastier and healthier than cow’s milk. Goat milk can also help you make goat cheese, a product that’s in high demand, along with other products such as goat milk soap. This can be a great additional income source for the family!
Competitive Show Goats
Some families raise purebred goats to compete at various goat shows. Some goats are bred specifically for dairy shows. If you choose this path and your goats are able to secure awards, they can become highly valuable. You can then breed them to sell new kids and bring in a higher price for each goat you sell. This can be extremely profitable!
Things You’ll Have To Take Care of
There are many things that you may first need to address before you get actual goats into your backyard. Here are just a few of the responsibilities that you will likely encounter while raising goats, which will be discussed in further detail below.
- Legal Requirements
These are the most basic responsibilities of keeping goats inside a backyard. It’s best to start off with a small and simple operation and then move on to a bigger area once you get the hang of things.
How To Prepare Your Yard
In order to raise goats in your backyard, it’s recommended that you carry out the following:
When getting started with your preparations, the first thing to do is check that there are no legal requirements that may stop you from raising goats within your backyard. You’ll also want to look into local ordinances around your city or county, where they may have restrictions on the type and number of farm animals you can keep. It’s recommended that this be the first step in your journey because you don’t want to have everything ready to go only to have your plans canceled due to legal restrictions.
You’ll need to check that your backyard has enough space that’s protected (or can be protected) with proper fencing.
A few options you can look into include cattle panels, which are sturdier but can be expensive, or woven wire, which is more affordable. Because goats are good at escaping, it’s best to get stronger options as their numbers increase.
Another concern you may have when it comes to fencing is picking one that will protect your goats from predators. To pick the right fencing for your needs, it would help to do a bit of research into the kinds of predators that live around your area. Threats can range from coyotes to foxes, depending on where you live, so it may also help to get guard dogs to protect your herd from predators.
While it’s a common misconception that goats will eat anything, this isn’t true and they can be quite picky since the wrong kind of foods can make them sick. While goats will eat specific grasses, they are happier eating shoots and leaves from woody plants. It can also help to supplement the herd’s diet by providing them with hay (not straw) that’s dry and fresh instead of wet and moldy.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to getting feeders and feed buckets for your goats, but many opt for hanging feeders rather than the ones that sit on the ground. Another thing you need to look out for is poisonous plants that your goats may eat accidentally. If you do find any of them in your backyard, it’s strongly recommended that you remove them to ensure the safety of your herd.
Because goats drink a lot of water, they also tend to spit a lot, so it’s beneficial to set up a water bucket around your backyard that will automatically refill itself. Just like feeders, using hanging buckets can be more useful compared to the ones on the ground so they don’t end up spilling the water or making it dirty. When it comes to raising a dairy goat, you will need to invest in equipment such as stainless steel buckets, milking stands, and a milking machine once your herd grows bigger.
Goats love the outdoors but they hate getting wet. As such, they need shelter to get out of inclement weather when needed because too much moisture can expose them to sickness. It’s better to position them in a high area where water can drain away rather than leaving them in a low area where water can settle. A shed will work well to provide them cover but this will need to be well-ventilated.
How To Pick the Right Goats
This will depend on why you want to raise goats. Here are just a few considerations you might want to look into when deciding which goats are right for you.
- If you want to raise goats for dairy, consider getting Saanens, which are known to carry the gold standard, and can make as much as nine pounds of milk every day.
- If you have a smaller backyard, the Nigerian Dwarf is ideal and is around half the size of a usual goat, but also produces half the amount of milk.
- If you’re looking to raise goats as pets rather than for dairy, then Pygmy goats are a popular choice. They’re very friendly and can adapt to most climates. Not to mention, they’re extremely adorable!
It’s best to do some more research on the different types of goats and consider exactly what you’re after before making your choice.
How To Care for Your Goats
Once you choose the goats you want to raise, it’s likely that they will panic at first until they get used to the new environment around them.
The most important thing to do is help them get settled in by providing them with everything they need, such as food, water, and shelter. It may also help if you feed them the same diet that they are accustomed to, because a sudden change in their diet can make them sick. It’s beneficial to ask their previous owner for all the details you need.
Thankfully, goats are not as high-maintenance to care for as other farm animals. They don’t need constant care, but there are a few things that you may want to keep in mind.
- Hooves: Goats will need their hooves trimmed as and when they grow too long.
- Worming and Vaccinations: Keeping up to date with your goats’ worming and vaccination requirements is beneficial for their health. As not everyone agrees on vaccinating their animals, you can speak to a veterinarian or conduct further research online before forming a decision.
- Company: Goats prefer to live in herds and like the company of other goats, so it’s recommended that you keep at least two at a time.
- Look out for Medical Issues: It’d be beneficial to keep an eye on any potential health problems. Be on the lookout for things such as changes in appearance, lumps and bumps, diarrhea, parasites, and so on.
After a few days, you should notice that your goats will settle in and roam around happily. Just remember that any weaknesses in your fencing may allow them to get through, so it’s best to have this ready beforehand. Over time, your goats will develop a regular feeding and watering routine, and will soon follow your schedule.
While it may be difficult to get started, you’ll soon find out how to raise goats in your backyard. As time passes, they will become more friendly and playful with you — just remember to be patient and enjoy the fruits of your labor along with your happy goats.