Welcome to this Beginners’ Guide!

Welcome to this guide to starting up with goats as a smallholder or pet owner.

Here is advice I have learned from owning goats and studying their needs and behaviour as a smallholder in north-west France, plus tips I learned from volunteering at Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Maidstone, UK, and evidence from scientific studies.

This is what I believe every new owner should start out knowing, carefully thinking about or looking into.

Firstly, remember that every goat is

… an individual


… just like Georgette here …

and one may behave differently or have different needs from others. They have strong and distinct personalities, just like us, and their physical and mental needs are very particular to their species.

I would like to guide you through the following topics:

Finding the right goats

Choosing the right breed, number, sex and age.

Preparing goat accommodation

Fencing, housing, food racks, first aid cupboard, vet details and registration.


Hay, pasture, poisonous plants, vegetables, hard feed, minerals, water, seasonal changes.

Health care basics

Rumen and its potential problems including bloat and diarrhea, parasites, hoof care, vaccinations, signs of disease.

Goat behaviour

Making sure goats are the right animals for you and you understand their needs.