Anyone who has had to mow a large lawn, or attempted to control brush on their acreage has probably thought at least once about buying a goat. Goats are cute, intelligent, and their constant grazing can help cut down on yard and garden maintenance chores. While this might sound like the perfect pet, there is much more to take into consideration before you buy a goat.
Here are some factors to consider before bringing home a goat as a pet:
Life Span: Anyone who is considering getting any kind of pet needs to consider that a pet is for a lifetime, and adopting a goat can be a much longer commitment than another kind of pet. Goats live on average for ten to fifteen years, but have been known to live for as long as thirty years with proper care. Consider carefully if you are willing to make this kind of lifetime commitment before you decide to buy a cute baby goat.
Social needs: While they may not form flocks like their cousins, sheep, goats are animals that like to belong to a social hierarchy. They are happiest when they are in the company of other animals, people, or other goats. This can work to your advantage when training them, as a goat can come to see its owner as the flock leader and will learn to come when you call and follow you around. If you don’t have other animals in the home, consider buying two goats so that they have company during the day when you are away from home.
Containment: Goats are famous for being almost impossible to keep fenced in. Goats are curious, intelligent, and persistent. Any kind of fence you put up can be conquered by a goat, whether they jump it, climb it, or simply chew through it. Goats are also escape artists who can even open nearly any kind of latch. Research your fencing choices well before committing to the purchase of a goat. Goats also do not like to be out in the elements at all times, and will need a shelter of some kind inside their corral.
Medical Needs: While goats can seem easy to maintain, they can have medical issues. Plan to take your goat to a veterinarian on an annual basis for vaccinations and check ups. Additionally, when you adopt a goat, plan for regular hoof cleaning and trimming as a part of the costs associated with goat ownership. A farrier will need to come every six months or so in order to maintain your goat’s feet. Because they will eat nearly anything, owners must always be vigilant and monitor their goat’s health closely. Goats can go from healthy to deathly ill very quickly, so regular grooming and contact is essential to keeping your goat well.