So, you’ve decided to join the growing trend of keeping goats as pets. You have done your homework and know they are easy to care for and fun to watch. You have plenty of space for a goat pen, and you have installed low-maintenance metal fencing panels around it. You’re sure the fencing is tall enough to keep the notoriously curious climbers inside their designated area. What else do you need to prepare?
The Escape Artist of the Animal World
Before you welcome your goat pet home, you need to know that goats are well known to be adventurous escape artists. Unless you want to wake up with a goat in your front yard munching on flowers or the recently delivered morning newspaper, you need to make certain their area is secure. It’s good to have fencing around the goat pen, but make sure the gate and the rest of the space are secure as well.
If your pet goat hasn’t been dehorned, make sure the fencing isn’t the type where horns can get stuck, leaving your goat trapped without water under the hot sun.
Basic Needs of Housing and Food
A simple three-sided shelter with a dirt floor is fine. Straw bedding is also nice for goats to bed down, especially in colder weather. Make sure to consider these when completing your goat pen.
Goats like to eat oats, hay, and grain, especially Wet COB (a combination of corn, oats, and barley mixed with molasses). They will also eat the barks and leaves off any available trees and bushes. Still, they are considered finicky eaters. They don’t like eating meat and dirty, old food off the ground. But they are particularly fond of treats like pasta, salty snacks, or sweet treats like cereal and bread. They also like to nibble at clothing items and any paper you don’t keep out of their reach.
If You Don’t Want a Depressed Goat
Goats are social creatures, and to thrive, they will need the company of at least one other goat. If they don’t have a company, they may get stressed and even feel depressed. But if they are happy, goats will give you hours of entertainment with their playful antics. They jump, run, and play together, and they will bond with you. Goats can learn to recognize their names and come running when they hear you coming.
Playtime is important to keep your goats healthy, happy, and contained inside their area. You can create a goat pen that is as elaborate as a playground with bridges and towers for them to climb on, or put simple large industrial-sized wooden crates and spools.
It takes time and effort to keep a goat as a pet, but it is rewarding to have a fun, entertaining, and unique pet. The life expectancy of a goat is about the same as a dog. Goats are also inexpensive and require less attention once you have set their pen up properly, making them a great house pet.