Welcome to this guide to starting up with goats as a smallholder or pet owner. This work will be continually revised, so please add comments and suggestions!
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:
Choosing the right breed, number, sex and age.
Fencing, housing, food racks, first aid cupboard, vet details and registration.
Hay, pasture, poisonous plants, vegetables, hard feed, minerals, water, seasonal changes.
Rumen and its potential problems including bloat and diarrhea, parasites, hoof care, vaccinations, signs of disease.
Making sure goats are the right animals for you and you understand their needs.
Later, I’ll have things to say about breeding and kid care, but it’s important to know goats – and to know your goats as individuals – first. Can’t wait? Download article
Contact me with any questions if you need to know something sooner.