Goats are very friendly animals and it’s no wonder you want to adopt one! Their growing success made them join the great family of new pets (NAC). But before you start, there are 6 things to know. Our file answers your main questions.
1 – The goat is an intelligent and terribly endearing animal
The goat is an animal that has something to seduce, especially since it generally likes cuddles. Curious and kind, goats are not aggressive by nature. A little capricious, they are also known to be mischievous, especially as they quickly understand what can annoy you.
As you will no doubt have understood, the goat is an intelligent animal. She learns quickly. You will need a lot of patience and be gentle to make it integrate some prohibitions. However, you will have a hard time protecting your plants. It is better to assume that you will have to keep the ones you want to keep at a safe distance because the goat is a non-selective ruminant, which eats anything that comes within its reach!
A goat can live 15 to 18 years: its adoption therefore commits you to a long duration. Before adopting her, you must wait until she is weaned: she will therefore be at least 3 to 4 months old. A single goat will be unhappy. You must therefore adopt at least two, or failing that, give it the company of a horse, a donkey, geese … If you have enough surface to form a small group of goats, know that the females smell much less strongly than males.
2 – Which breed of goat to adopt?
Goats are raised for a variety of reasons. Angora, Pygora and Cashmere goats are known for their woolly hair which is used to make clothes. Other breeds are famous for their milk which is used to make cheese.
There are over 200 breeds of goats. If you can make a purely aesthetic choice, we recommend that you select goats that are easy to breed, especially for beginners.
The dwarf goats are arguably among the most suitable for becoming pets. Kinder, Dwarfs of Nigeria, Pygmies,…, these are small goats which do not exceed 50 cm at the withers, very resistant.
The Poitou goats are large goats, hardy to the point of adapting to difficult terrain. Known for their calm and docile character, their milk is renowned for its richness.
The alpine goats are medium-sized goats, very good milkers, adapting very well to life on steep terrain.
There are also breeds of goats adapted to the consumption of their flesh: Kiko, Texmaster, Savannah are examples.
3 – The goat is a dynamic animal
Nomadic by nature, a goat is a dynamic animal that has difficulty keeping still. Novelty and play stimulate her. They are skillful animals, able to do long and high jumps. A goat loves to climb and stand high. Yours will love it when you make a secure stack of wooden pallets and straw bales for it.
Surprisingly talkative, goats bleat a lot, but always for a good reason: she is hungry, she is thirsty, she is bored… In case of danger, the goat emits a noise distinct from the usual bleating, very shrill. In this case, do not wait to come and see what is happening!
Goats are very stubborn animals, and don’t hesitate to do silly things if they so desire. They do not have a great notion of danger: you undoubtedly know the story of Monsieur Seguin’s goat… And their reputation as runaways is not usurped! If you have a dog and you are not sure how to behave in the face of novelty, take the initiative and protect your goat as she will not be suspicious. But you should also know that an adult goat that has retained its horns has enough strength to kill a dog with a single blow of the head. While the different animals in your environment are taking their marks, you need to exercise a lot of vigilance.
4 – Surface needs
Grass is their goat’s favorite food and they must have it. at will, but goats also like to eat the shoots and leaves of trees and bushes.
You must plan 200 m² of land for the first goat and 100 m2 for each additional goat. It is advisable to divide the grazing space and allow the goats to access only one of the portions to give the grass time to regrow.
You need to take care of the fence, the height of which should not be less than 1.30 m. The barrier must not only be effective and leave no possibility of escape, but also be secure so as not to injure goats or wild animals likely to frequent the places such as deer, hedgehogs or amphibians. It is therefore advisable to set up electric fences with several wires. Electrified plastic nets risk trapping young animals that will die.
Goats need a stable that protects them from wind, rain, heat or cold, at the rate of 2 m2 per animal. The drinker will be placed there (a goat needs 10 liters of water per day), as well as hay and fresh branches with a little foliage so that they can nibble in the shelter if they feel like it. The barn itself should allow them to satisfy their need for height: you will set up large shelves so that they can lie down and ruminate.
When you have several goats, you must prevent the risk of conflict during meals. Each of your goats must have a feeding place. If you have a group of goats, they will have set up a hierarchy. And a higher-ranking goat may prevent a lower-ranking goat from eating.
5 – Caring for goats
Goats are flexible animals and reach all parts of their bodies with their teeth, horns or hooves, except between the horns, causing them to scratch against a support. But even hardy ones, you will need to give your goats some care.
Regular trimming of the hooves is essential twice a year if the meadow is wet, and once a year if the soil is rockier.
If you own wool goats, their hair should be trimmed at least once a year during the hot season.
If you have dairy goats, you will need to milk them once a day.
6 – What steps must be taken before adopting a goat?
The administrative steps to be taken to acquire a goat are quite simple. Your goats must be declared and identified by two ear tags. Each of them has a circulation document. Any detention of a goat, from the first animal, implies a declaration to the Departmental Establishment of Livestock (EDE), renewed each year.