Pygmy Goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Brandy, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Brandy

    Brandy Active Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    I'm reading some old issues of Countryside and they recommend pygmy goats for the space impaired b/c they are only the size of a large dog.

    Now, I am planning to get a few chickens...and a gentleman on the poultry forum get a goat, lol. So, my question is what do they require? I live in a city (Indianapolis) on a city lot, but the only regulations on the books are no pigs! So, if my lot could sustain a pygmy goat and a buddy, I'd consider it. How much room do they need? What work does it entail? Do they still give milk or are they meat? Any good books to recommend?

    I'm sure this has all been covered previously, so I apologize to the goat experts and hope you can help a city gal make an educated decision.

  2. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

    Mar 6, 2005
    first, you will need two goats. second, they need as much space as possible. they NEED grazing, and if you have srubbery they will love it. how big is the lot? does it have alot of passerbys? If so, i would lean against livestock. Passerbys always want to "feed the animal" which can lead to death. They need housing. They will need a yearly vaccination. Always have a veterinarian that you can call 24/7, they can go down and die within a very short time. you will need to provide hay and possibly grain. Pygmy goats are actually not very good at dairy or meat production, though thier milk is very nice, but they don't produce alot, and I hear thier meat is tasty. If you want a small goat that produces milk, go for a nigerian dwarf. There is more info on pygmies on my website or you could try (I think thats the right address?)

  3. Ramblin Acres

    Ramblin Acres Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2005
    As a breeder of Pygmy goats.You can milk them,They actually have the highest butterfat in goats,you just don't yeild as much as you would from a dairy breed.Pygmies are consider a meat breed.Now as far as keeping one in the city be prepared to have to feed the goat hay year round and you may need to supplement with some grain depending on the sex of the goat.(the best pets would be some whethers)Also you need to do a yearly vaccinations,hoof trimming,rotational de worming.If the goat is going to be in your backyard,you will not be able to keep any plants alive as the goat will eat them.You also have to be careful of what plants already exist in the lot too as there are many toxic plants to goats.

    Now if you have an acre lot then by all means fence in an area and get a goat.You can keep a single goat by itself but they are herd animals and do thrive with a herd.I have a friend that has one lone pygmy and it does just fine,another friend has a single pygmy and the goat plays with there dog(the dog was raised with the goat).Just remember if you have close neighbors goats tend to make loud bleating noises and could very well annoy your neighbors and cause alot of problems there.

    As far as housing the nice thing with pygmies is that they will easily make a home out of a large dog house.Hope this helps ya.

    Here is the correct link to the National Pygmy goat Association.
  4. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    only regulations on the books are no pigs!

    Well, I've seen this happen in other cities, suburbs etc. before, where there was nothing stipulating a person couldn't keep goats, but if your neighbors ever complain, for ANY reason, it is very likely you will have to find new homes for any goats you get.

    Plus keep in mind, their environment NEEDS to be kept clean (to keep them healthy....but also as not to give the neighbors something to complain about....the smell)! This entails finding a means of disposing of their waste, soiled bedding etc.

    Also, as stated by mygoat Passerbys always want to "feed the animal" which can lead to death, this could be a problem since most landscaping shrubs/plants/flowers are toxic to goats. People have this idea goats can eat anything and will be tossing in all sorts of poisonous foliage/clippings to the goats. Not to mention any assortment of crap...tin cans?? they don't eat those either.

    They need a VERY high fenced area to keep predators out. ANY stray dog can seriously injure or kill a goat. IMO you should stick with the chickens. Hopefully, your neighbors won't cause any trouble over that.....defintiely don't get a rooster....they won't appreciate a 4 AM 'wake up call'.
  5. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Ah, the voice of dissent. I kept goats six blocks from the courthouse in Everett, Washington (pop. 95,990) for five years. I had three does. Sometimes, they all had kids. I lived on a double city lot, approximately 70 feet by 125 feet. The goat yard was about 25 feet by 60 feet, and believe it or not, there was lots of grass, except right around the entrance to the goat shed.

    We did have our challenges, but checking with immediate neighbors, and then with animal control, before getting the goats greatly reduced the trouble we had afterward. Also, my priorities were: no noise to speak of, no smell to speak of. Anyone who looked curious was invited to visit with the goats, during which time they learned about the delicate digestive system of goats. The fencing bordering the sidewalk and alley was vertical boards 4 feet tall with 1/2-inch gaps between the boards. Around the top, on the outside of the fence, offset by about 6 inches, we ran a strand of barbed wire to discourage dogs. We may have done it at the bottom as well, but I don't remember.

    We used the manure to make raised garden beds and had the biggest vegetables in town. Our goats did just fine without grazing, but I did go to some effort to see that they got very good hay and grain. This was before I knew about alfalfa pellets, which is what I feed now.

    Occasionally, we'd find something odd in the goat yard, like a plastic bag with too-old lettuce in it. And occasionally, we'd have children come in uninvited and forget to close the gate behind them. But for the most part, the neighborhood, especially the many children, really enjoyed having the goats there, and were respectful and careful with them.

    Incidentally, Pygmies are a long way from your best choice for city milk goats.

    I could go on and on, but I see I already have. :) If you're interested, or would like more info on how we worked things out, feel free to PM me. Take care.
  6. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    Since I am in goat rescue, I'd like to comment that you really have to have the goats best interest at heart. It's great this all worked out for you, but I'd stake you are in the very small minority.

    You can take all the precautions you want, but as you even stated, "children come in uninvited and forget to close the gate behind them" It only takes one time that happening and potentially ending with some tragic results...the goats get out wanders around and is hit by a car,(BTW, most goats are natural jumpers, and even small breeds like Pygmy's and Nigerians can jump a 4 ft fence with ease if they have the inclination to do so) or is attacked by a dog or pack of dogs, or falls into the hands of some cruel individual(s). There are people (adults AND children) who take great pleasure in, and would not hesitate to, doing harm to your animals.

    And as you stated "Occasionally, we'd find something odd in the goat yard, like a plastic bag with too-old lettuce in it" Any shrub in the yew family (a very popular landscaping shrub) is LETHAL to ALL animals in very small quantities. Hydrangeas and Azaleas are also extremely toxic. Someone may think they are being thoughtful in feeding your goats foliage or clippings, but I know of one man who lost his entire herd to someone elses 'thoughtfulness'. You were fortunate not to have come home to find a dead goat(s).

    Sorry, but 25 feet by 60 feet is small even for one goat, let alone 3 (and with babies too!) Goats are browsers not grazers (hence the reason there was still "lots of grass") They prefer to eat weeds, underbrush, bushes and the lower branches of trees over grass. They need room to play, run and convort.

    If you aren't there 24/7 to 'educate' any 'curious passersby', there is no telling what someone will toss into the goats yard, whether it is a poisonous plant, or a pitt bull. Remember, I am in goat rescue and I've seen these things happen. A tiny lot in the city is no place for an animal that loves it's freedom to roam and forage. Goats need a roomy safe environment.

    Brandy, if you are intent on getting goats, PLEASE PLEASE do some extensive research into the laws/ordinances etc. I know of too many folks who lived in AGRICULTURAL/Residential zoned areas, where it was not specifically stated/regulated/prohibited to keep chickens or goats, but they were sadly forced to surrender their animals after an arduous court process anyway.

    And most definitely check with all the immediate and surrounding neighbors, and discuss your intentions before making any decision.
  7. Rachel K.

    Rachel K. Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Dyersville, Iowa
    I don't think that the City is the best place for a Goat. However if you have enough yard space to make a decent sized area for the Goats then you might be safe considering getting a few Goats.

    I myself live out in the Country. Our closest neighbors are almost half a mile down the street from us. We live on a gravel road and we don't have much traffic going by other then the Farmer's in their trucks or tractors. We have plently of yard space and my Two Goats have nearly a acre of fenced in grazing space for themselves.

    Space is important when considering Goats. Goats love to graze on both grass, weeds, and trees, as well as run and race with their buddies. Goats are rather hyper animals and are always on the move. Playing, Running, and Jumping, are just a few of the many activities that they enjoy doing. The bigger the space the happier the Goats will be. Especially if they have enough things to do to entertain themselves. My two Goats graze throughout the day. They also enjoy going beneath the trees to nibble on the bark or eat the pine needles. They always have each other to entertain each other when bored. They race up and down the langth of the pasture, or butt heads.

    Goats are Herd animals and don't do as well when on their own. Some people do well with keeping only one Goat. Their Goat either makes friends with their other pets or the owner spends enough time with the Goat to keep it happy. But the truth is that a Goat is always happier when it has another Goat for company. I have Two Goats at the moment. They are siblings but also best friends. You can not take one away from the other without them screaming and crying for each other.

    My Goats do very well on a diet of Grain and Hay. During the warmer months I keep them out on the pasture where they are well fed on Grass. They also get a small amount of Grain twice a day. During the winter they go through twice the amount of Grain. I also give them free access to Hay.

    Goats are rather picky animals. Not only after their diet but also about the weather. My Goats refuse to go outside when its raining. They would rather spend the day in the barn eating and sleeping. They also refuse to go outside in the winter. They hate to get wet. Currently they are spending their days in the barn. Laying in their straw and munching on Hay. I make them get some outside time when ever its nice out however.

    You will need shelter for the Goats. My Goats have a Barn where they go each night after dark. During the day they spend their time out in the pasture. I'll be building a small lean-to for out in their pasture this summer. A small Goat Shed would do well for you.

    I suggest that you get two Goats. A larger herd wouldn't do well in the city. A smaller breed would also probaby be best for you. Pygmies and Nigerian Dwarfs are both small breeds of Goats. The larger breeds usually weigh in at 145 pounds. My two Saanen Alpine crosses are probably 150 pounds each. Not a good size for a city.

    Cattle panels make wonderful fencing for Goats. I have it along my Goats pasture. You will probably want to have Electric wire along it to keep your Goats in and to keep stray Dogs out. I myself don't like electric wire and don't use it, but in the city you can't take as many chances. The Goat would be killed if it escaped. Out here my Goats have so much room that they probably wouldn't even leave the yard.

    Wethers make wonderful pets. I wouldn't suggest getting a Buck. They aren't as friendly as Wethers and they smell pretty bad. You could get some Complaints from your neighbors. Does also make nice pets but I find them to be a little less friendly then Wethers.

    You will also have to learn how to trim Hooves, etc.

    I don't find my two Goats to be loud at all. The don't make any noise unless they happen to see me outside. Then they Naa to greet me. Does can get a little loud however when they go in heat.

    I hope that this helps.
  8. AllWolf

    AllWolf We love all our animals

    Dec 26, 2005
    VA, KY & TN Line
    I have 2 pygmys goats and I love them very much but I have one pygmy that was bottled feed when younger but the baby of her was dam raised which means the mother raised her and she not as friendly. If you want to get a pygmy goat or goats I would say get them where you can bottle feed them. If they are bottle feed and raised they are friendlier also. Plus wethers are more friendlier than bucks. I have 2 wether nubians and they are nothing but babies but of course I bottle raised them also. All my other goats i have is bottle raised them seem to be friendlier than a none bottle feed one.

    Goats need to have plenty of food and water at all times. You need to keep meds on hand because they can get sick in not time also. So always keep goat meds on hand incase of a emercy comes up. I give my goats hay to eat, grain with all kinds of grains in it and also for the wether medicated pellets. Goats are fun to have but always remember they have to have lots of attention and plenty of space to run and play.

    Good Luck!! :)
  9. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Absolutely, I'm in the minority. After all, not too many folks have goats in the city in this country. In fact, not too many folks have goats anywhere in this country. So I guess you're in the minority, too, if you have goats.

    I don't know about your goats, but my goats LIKE their home. When they got out, they never went further than the alley. Then the neighbors, who very much enjoyed the goats, put them back in. This only happened a couple of times in the five years we were there. No one was harmed.

    I never had ANY problem with goats jumping my 4 ft fence. Maybe they can, but I haven't seen it. Guess they like it OK where they are, huh?

    Seems like this happens a LOT out in the country. We did have a few dogs in the neighborhood who got loose from time to time, but they were never any problem. Perhaps the relatively solid fence and barbed wire were adequate discouragement. In any case, again, no one came to any harm.

    Man, I hope I don't go through life making decisions based on the faint possibility of running afoul of the criminally insane.

    Evidently, the goats weren't hungry enough to have much interest. Now swear to me you've never had a plastic grocery bag blow across your extensive property.

    Not that fortunate. The plants surrounding my fence were non-toxic. I made sure of that. People don't go far looking for goat munchies when they're standing right next to a likely looking bunch.

    I don't know where you're getting your numbers (which you haven't shared by the way), but 25 by 60 feet provided plenty of room for them to run and cavort. A few toys in there (cedar stumps) and they were quite happy. And, you know, we seem to keep getting these "duh" moments in this reply. Yews and azaleas are lethal??? Goats are browsers??? No kidding??? Now run along and tell every goat dairy that they'd better not be feeding grass and alfalfa because goats prefer tree bark. See how far you get. Sheesh!!

    Again, this is too ridiculous for words. People are not intrinsically bad. You can run into sickos in the country as well as in the city, and there will be far fewer witnesses in the country. As for the "tiny lot" comment, please read a few books and see what they recommend. Then come back and let us know, won't you? We'll see if your research results match my own.

    Again, be sure to play by the rules. Work closely with Animal Control from the outset. Get your neighbors to agree to it before you even begin to build your facility. And if your neighbors and Animal Control are good with it, don't let some sanctimonious nay-sayers put you off the idea. Have fun!! You'll be surprised at how well you get to know many adults and most of the children in your neighborhood. Having goats is better for meeting people than walking a puppy!

    By the way, I had 2 Nigerian Dwarfs and a standard Oberhasli (standard because the Nigerians weren't giving enough milk, Oberhasli because they are QUIET). I've got a picture of the Ober on my website. You'll notice she's standing on the sidewalk. I tell you, walking a goat is a GREAT conversation starter. Just don't do it on a busy street. The rubbernecking will cause accidents!

    I'm sure we were fortunate to have had so few incidents and no real problems, but then, we had everyone in the neighborhood looking out for our goats. And it seems that people keeping goats in the country have comparable challenges in keeping their goats safe, but without all the backup. Best of luck to you!
  10. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    When you get chickens, are you going to get roosters? If your neighbors can stand the crowing, then you shouldn't have a problem with the baaing of 2 little goats. Incidentally some goats are quieter than others...such as oberhaslis. I have a nigerian dwarf that is really quiet.
  11. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    In fact, not too many folks have goats anywhere in this country

    When I said you were in the very small minority, I was referring to the goat-keeping community only, not the entire country. Unfortunately, there was an increase not too long ago when, along with the pot bellied pig craze, it was considered 'cool' to have miniature goats. So you had all sorts of city folk who knew nothing at all about goats going out and getting Pygmy's or Nigerians, did zero research on them, did not consider the huge commitment in providing PROPER care, housing and diet, didn’t know it’s a lot more complicated and involved then just turning a goat out in their yard, and many thought they could be kept indoors like pet dogs.

    So next thing you know, local Humane Societies started getting goats once the animals become ill from lack of proper nutrition, abused for whatever reason, became less cute as they matured and the children no longer wanted them and the adults weren’t about to provide the care, started to smell because since the people didn't do any initial research the bucks weren't castrated, destroyed peoples homes (if kept indoors) since goats love to eat wood, paper, and drywall, or for any of the other hundreds of idiotic reasons.

    And where do these goats end up? Along with all the pot bellied pigs, Easter rabbit, and Easter chicks that grew into chickens, if they aren't adopted by rescuers, they are kept for the usual length of time (if they are lucky to even make it to a humane society or shelter) and if not adopted, they are euthanized with the rest of the unwanted animals discarded by society.

    In the last week I had 4 cases come up where 9 goats had to be placed because people are ignorant and fickle. That was just the calls placed to me, this was not including the countless other cases in our network of farm animal rescuers.(5 havens/sanctuaries) We get calls from all over the country. Of the 4 calls I had last week, there was one from TN, one from TX and the other 2 in MI.

    Three weeks ago, I stopped at a store in another town on my way home from a huge sanctuary where I volunteer my services once a month. The cashier inside noticed the "I Love My Goats" license plate on my truck and started to bombard me with questions to the point i almost felt i was being interrogated. Questions like, do I have enough land for the goats, what do they eat, do they have a safe barn in which to sleep……and twice more “how much land do you have” and “is there enough land for all the goats”, so I knew at that point what she was going to ask me.

    I told her to tell whoever has the goats and needs to find a home for them I would take them if all their options have been exhausted. She told me the father had bought his daughter 3 goats for her birthday and since they have 4 acres he thought there would be no problem. The story is his neighbor (with whom he had ‘thought’ he had a good friendship/relationship) was the one who ratted him out. Come to find out, the requirement is 5 acres for the first animal and 1 acre each additional animal. (clearly a case of not checking the township ordinances)

    Even though the father is currently trying to buy additional land adjacent to his property, that’s iffy at the moment, and the case is going to court (basically to buy some time so he can find good homes until, or if, he can purchase additional land) They are hopeful they’ll be able to return the goats to the original breeder, but they have my contact info if that doesn’t happen.

    I never had ANY problem with goats jumping my 4 ft fence.

    While a fence high of 4 feet is often recommended for Pygmy goats, most of the breeders I know recommend at least 52" and up to 5 feet, with strands of high tensile wire above that. (that’s in a group of 500 hundred Pygmy goat breeders (many who have had goats for over 30 years) so I am inclined to believe them) Our 22 acres already has 5 foot high fences with a hot wire a foot above that since we have horses, but I did have to raise the height of the stalls from 4 ft to 5 ft after I rescued a group of Pygmy goats a few years back that continually kept jumping out of their stall.

    The height is not only to keep goats in, but to keep predators out. It might surprise you to know, coyotes are in every state, in rural areas, suburbs AND cities.
    Coyotes can jump an 8 foot fence with relative ease, and if they can’t go over, they’ll go under. A high solid fence is a good idea in any case even employing a hot wire across the top and extending the bottom out to create a ‘bib’ to deter digging under it.

    Now swear to me you've never had a plastic grocery bag blow across your extensive property.

    ????? Apparently you didn’t understand I was pointing this out as an example that people WILL throw anything into the goats pen. Fortunately for your goats it was a plastic bag (although not the very best thing for goats to eat or chew on) and a benign piece of old lettuce. It could just as easily been any number of poisonous plants (common poppy, rhododendron, laurel, oleander, lobelia, the pits in cherries (cyanide), rhubarb)

    Brandy, here’s a list of poisonous plants
    and the signs of poisoning

    I don't know where you're getting your numbers (which you haven't shared by the way), but 25 by 60 feet provided plenty of room for them to run and cavort.

    For optimal health and sustainable goat management the average acreage recommended is:

    From the American Dairy Assc.

    “one-half acre of land per milking goat should be plenty.”

    From the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

    “From one-half to one goat per acre”

    Other numbers:

    ‘Texas rangelands typically require 3 to 4 acres…. per goat’

    ‘2-3 head per acre on good native pastures’

    ‘1-2 head per acre of brushy fields’

    “Generally, a half acre per goat is considered sufficient”

    “one acre of land for every two goats”

    ‘two to four goats per acre’

    ‘2-10 goats per acre’

    How many goats you can support largely depends on whether or not you have pastures that are rotated. (not a remote possibility in the city) You can also have a few more goats on one acre as long as the diet is adequately supplemented in addition to good forage/pasture/browse.

    So lets just take 10 goats per acre for the sake of it. Hmmmm….one acre is 43,560 square feet divided by 10 goats comes to 4356 square feet of pasture per goat. 25X 60 ft equals 1500 square feet divided by your 3 goats (and that's before they have babies) leaves 500 square feet of ‘pasture’ (if you can call your city lot that) for each goat. A far cry from the 4356 square feet recommended. Of course if we go by the average (1 goat per acre) or even 2, 4, 6, 15, even 20 goats per acre!!!!!!…..500 square feet per goat is woefully small.

    Perhaps you are confusing the recommended SLEEPING area needed for 1 goat, for the browsing/foraging acreage needed per goat.

    Sleeping space needed for goats to be comfortable (meaning their stall/shed/barn/shelter)

    “bedded area of at least 15 square feet per goat”

    “optimally a goat should have at least 25 square feet per animal”

    “Goats need about 15 square feet of bedded area per goat to be comfortable”

    “smaller breeds may only require 10 square feet per goat”
  12. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    Yews and azaleas are lethal??? YES

    Goats are browsers??? YES. It is a fact they are browsers like deer….(which BTW they are genetically related to) and their eating habits and nutritional requirements are more like deer (browsers) than sheep (grazers).

    No kidding??? Now run along and tell every goat dairy that they'd better not be feeding grass and alfalfa because goats prefer tree bark.

    Anyone who knows anything about goats knows they prefer browse to grass. It happens to be their natural diet. Besides, I don’t recall ever saying “they'd better not be feeding grass and alfalfa”. What I pointed out was “They prefer to eat weeds, underbrush, bushes and the lower branches of trees over grass” Note the key word here is ‘prefer’. And Alfalfa is considered forage and is NOT a grass, but is a legume.

    Oh, and this in from the American Dairy Assc.


    Dairy goats need a year-round supply of roughage, such as pasture, browse or well-cured hay.


    Dairy goats will graze grass pastures, but prefer to browse brushlands and a varied selection of pasture plants, including non-noxious weeds.

    Goats are often used to clear brushland, to provide graze (grass) for cattle. And they are used extensively to clear oak brush for other livestock since goats have a tannin-binding enzyme in their saliva that neutralizes any tannins and their entire diet can be comprised of oak with no toxic effects, while the tannins in oak are toxic to other livestock in moderate amounts.

    People are not intrinsically bad. You can run into sickos in the country as well as in the city

    Oh granted, most people are basically good, but the chances of running ‘into sickos’ in a population dense area are dramatically increased. If you worked at a shelter/pound/humane society/rescue, or if you are a rescue yourself, you’d know this, as you would come into contact with neglected/abused/tortured and injured animals on a regular basis. And that is not taking into consideration all the thousands of cases never reported because people don’t want to get involved and turn a deaf ear and blind eye to animal abuse and neglect. To assume it rarely happens or there is a “faint possibility” because it never happened to you is erroneous thinking.

    There is an ever-increasing rise in violence and abuse towards animals. And the truly sad and disturbing part is the alarming increase in the number of children who abuse animals. Anyone involved in the rescue of animals (cats, dogs, goats, rabbits, farm animals) is aware of this and has had intimate contact with some very horrifying cases that would break your heart.

    I'm sure we were fortunate to have had so few incidents and no real problems

    Yes you were very fortunate. And we can only hope Brandy has the same good fortune. Nothing is for certain. Not everyone who has goats on a small lot is as committed as you were in providing a clean, safe, healthy environment for their goats. I’ve rescued many from some horrible situations and living conditions because people got lazy or lost interest, and it is the animal that suffers. Hopefully Brandy’s neighbors will never complain and be good neighbors who watch out for any goats she may get. If she is on a lot, then it is probably much smaller then your ‘double’ lot, and the goats environment is going to need more frequent and routine maintenance


    In your situation, any goats you acquire *may* need more frequent wormings and they should be kept current on vaccines, particularly tetanus. Tetanus is found in the soil everywhere, worldwide. They should be trained to walk on a leash so you can take them for walks and provide exercise. They should never be tethered or were a collar (except for walks) because they can get hung up on ‘anything’. (literally) Goats seem to have a knack for getting into trouble in spite of any and all preventative measures.

    I have a friend who was POSITIVE she choke-proofed here barn and she used cattle panels for fencing, but her buck (her favorite bottle baby) managed to somehow get his collar caught on something in the barn and she came home to find her goat near death. As goats will often do when restrained or when they panic, they twist, turn, and jump over and over trying to extricate themselves and this causes the rope/collar/tether to tighten. She was lucky to have arrived in time to free him for, as she said, only a few minutes more and she would have had a dead goat. She took the collars of all her goats and from that moment on vowed to never use them again.

    To be prepared for the possibility of ever ‘having’ to find homes for the goats, I’d suggest talking with the breeder (or whatever farm you get the goats from) and asking if you can return them in case it doesn’t work out or if you encounter some unforeseen circumstance and are forced to remove them.

    At the same time get the number to their farm vet. The vast majority (if not all) of vets in the ‘city’ won’t even see a goat in their practice, let alone know how to treat one. Also find out who their hay supplier is, and the location of a feed mill/grain elevator, or tractor supply, because you aren’t going to find goat feed, mineral supplements, vaccines, and medications for your goat at the local corner market.

    You’ll also need some sort of storage area for their grain and bales of hay (ideally they should be kept dry. Eating moldy hay/grain causes an acute vitamin B deficiency that can kill a goat)

    You’ll also need to check the ordinances to be sure they allow you to even install a fence of any type (some don’t) or only certain types of fence like wire (chainlink, cattle panels, goat or livestock fence) or wood (post and rail, picket, privacy) and there may even be ‘height’ restriction in place. You’ll want to make sure of all these things, unless you already have an existing fence....that the goats can NOT escape. Goats are known to be escape artists.

    Also you’ll need to know if you can ‘build’ a shed/shelter….again, many communities have restrictions or prohibit ‘sheds’ or shed-like structures.

    Wethers make the best ‘pets’ as most bucks after castration develop sweet, friendly dispositions, and since most wethers or ‘excess’ bucks are sold for meat, you’d be saving some lives. They are generally healthy and the only concern is they must have a proper diet such as grass hay, or alfalfa hay with 'very little' grain or they can develop urinary calculi (a potentially fatal condition)

    Most standard size goats are seasonal breeders, and females go into heat during the fall-early winter months, but Nigerians and Pygmy goats cycle year round….meaning they will become very loud and vocal every 18-24 days (average 21 days) and some get aggressive during heat.

    If you get dairy goats be aware they must first become pregnant (so you’ll have to locate a buck, take your goat there and leave her for a few days when she is in a standing heat) and they have to give birth in order for them to produce milk. This means every time they kid, you will have to find homes for the babies, (average 2-3 kids), sell them at auction, or eat them. In all honesty, you do not have enough room to support a herd of goats.

    You might be able to find some mini-Saanens, mini-Alpines or mini-Toggenburgs which are higher milk producing goats then than Nigerians.

    Nutritional requirements for pregnant goats change during their last trimester and immediately following their pregnancy. As far as nutrition on dairy goats, or any breed/sex of goat, you can PM me anytime for that information, or any info on care, shelter, etc) My friend is a well known goat nutritionist of over 35 years experience, and would be able to answer ANY of your questions/concerns/issues. She is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to caprine illnesses and diseases since most are often the result of improper diet. She specializes in all goats but in particular any dairy breeds.
  13. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Blah, blah, blah. I was going to reply to you point by point, witchysharon, but that was just way too much work. I'm busy, and a partial reply sat on my computer for days. So in the end, I'll just say this.

    Before you go making judgements about what is adequate space, you should research other goat-keeping methods than pasturing. There's a method called "yarding" that has kept my goats happy and healthy for the past eight years. If you want to see just how happy and healthy, check my website (URL below). The method is highly recommended in the following books:

    "Goat Husbandry" by David Mackenzie (the goatkeeper's bible, British author, and you know how the Brits are about animal welfare!)

    "Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way" by J. D. Belanger (founder of Countryside magazine, and author of many livestock books)

    "Backyard Livestock" by Steven Thomas and George P. Looby, DVM

    "Backyard Dairy Book" by Andrew Singer and Len Street (part of the British Backyard Farming series)

    "Backyard Farming" by Ann Williams (another in the British series)

    As for poisonous plants, well DUH, of course there are poisonous plants out there. One should know what they are and take steps to see that your goats don't eat them. Note that there are only a very few that are lethal in the small doses that would likely be offered by a passerby, and the chances of a passerby giving them to your goats will be greatly reduced by providing proper plantings around your city goat yard.

    As for sickos, well, we lived in the highest crime area in Everett, an area with a very high population density, and didn't have problems. Maybe because we were friendly to passersby and the neighbors. I don't know. But it would take a real psychopath to intentionally harm the goats, and they're not likely to work in an area that's well-observed. At least it seemed to work for us for five years.

    Well, that's all I have time for now. Hopefully, you haven't thoroughly discouraged Brandy and others from providing healthful dairy products for their families using this time-honored method of keeping goats.
  14. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Oh, goodness! I just read the part of your post directed at Brandy. Now I have to write more!

    Goats in yards with proper feeders are LESS likely to pick up worms because they won't eat anything from the ground. It's still not a bad idea to do fecal exams now and then. Decent scopes can be had on eBay relatively inexpensively, or you can take the fecal pellets to the vet. It isn't expensive. In any case, DEFINITELY worm your doe the day she kids. If you don't worm regularly, the worm her again 10 days later. Kidding seems to super-activate parasites.

    Choking: Don't put collars on your goats. They'll be friendly enough that you won't need them except on occasion (such as for walks, and hoof-trimming if you don't have a stanchion), and you can put them on and take them off for those occasions. In emergencies, it's pretty easy to control a goat by holding it around its neck just behind its head, as though your hands were a collar.

    Checking with Animal Control will give you the info you need to follow the ordinances, etc., and is a lot less trouble. And no, I wouldn't try to keep goats in the swankest neighborhood in town without checking the CC&Rs.

    Some goats are noisier than others. I did have a noisy Nigerian. She didn't stay long. My other Nigerians, and especially my Oberhasli were very quiet. The Nigerians didn't get markedly noisier during heat. The Ober did, but she was still much quieter than neighboring dogs, and after one or two heats, she was bred and was silent for the rest of the year. I NEVER had any noise complaints. (DO NOT get Nubians or Nubian crosses for this reason.)

    Kids are easy to sell. I never sent any to auction. Since my yard was the local petting zoo, and I provided appropriate treats for guests to feed to goats, my kids were always super friendly and provided quite a decent income. After selling kids, my milk for the year was pretty much free.

    One must definitely be informed about nutritional requirements for pregnant or lactating dairy goats, or they will have problems ranging from low milk production to death.
  15. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    Goats in yards with proper feeders are LESS likely to pick up worms because they won't eat anything from the ground.

    You can have the prettiest feeders/hay racks you want, if ALL of the goats mineral requirements are not being addressed, they WILL eat the soil in an attempt to get the mineral(s) that is lacking in their diet.

    They should be offered a free choice COMPLETE and BALANCED mineral supplement (also placed in a feeder or mineral dispenser) It should be one that is formulated FOR goats containing 1000-1800 ppm of copper (since goats have one of the highest copper requirements of most livestock) The mineral supplement should be a loose form, as 'blocks' are harder and more difficult for goats to 'chew' since they have no upper front teeth and it's more difficult for the goat to eat enough from a block to meet it's daily requirement.
  16. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 28, 2004
    SE Ohio
    I would love for you to get Kitty to understand that.. :nana:
    She was our only bottle baby two years ago. She was raised in the cow barn with the cats. Hence the name Kitty. We'd call "Here Kitty Kitty" and she would come running. I introduced her to the goat herd later that year after she had been weaned and she would not stay with them. She would run over and hide behind me. If I left she would cry and cry. When I would let them out to browse freely she would immediately take off for the barn and us. :bash: So, we have a very large barn cat part of the year. Right now, she is a goat and I think after she has her kids this year it will get better, but she is the type of goat that would be fine by herself as long as there were some cats to play with and she received attention regularly from humans. ;)