Pet goats are goats kept for companionship. Their friendly nature makes them great pets.
Being herd animals, pet goats require advanced care like having two of their kind, having some bigger space where they will roam, and general care for the goats.
Table of contents
- Pet Goat Market: Size of the US Market + Other Facts You Should Know
- Can You Have a Goat as a Pet? What US States’ Law Says
- Do Goats Make Good Pets?
- Do Baby Goats Make Good Pets?
- Goats as Pets: Pros and Cons
- Types of Goats for Pets: Complete List of Goat Breeds for Pets
- Best Goats for Pets
- Having a Goat as a Pet: What to Expect
- Pet Goat Care
- Pet Goats for Sale: Where to Buy Them
You may consider the following before raising goats for pets:
- Check with state authorities. The first thing to check is whether it is legal to own pet goats in your state. Check the zoning regions to ensure pet goats can be kept within the town limits. If you are in close proximity with your neighbors, check if they are tolerant with goats.
- Goat behavior and temperament. Pets tend to like attention. They should never be kept alone so it is advisable to get a pair of the same breed. Look for a breed that is gentle and that will be great to have around children.
- Shelter. Have fencing that is five feet high as goats are very agile and good jumpers. The barns should always be dry and clean. Poor living condition may cause health related problems for the goats. Have enough ventilation in their shelters and design the barns to areas that provide part sun and part shade.
- Food and Water. The best practice is to provide your goats with pasture. They browse on grass, weeds, plants and shrubs. Supplement their diet with high quality hay greens and grains. Goats also need plenty of fresh clean water on a daily basis.
Pet Goat Market: Size of the US Market + Other Facts You Should Know
The population of goats in the United States in 2020 was 2.66 million as of the most recent USDA census. Apart from being kept for meat, milk and fiber, goats can also be kept for other purposes such as pets, livestock shows and brush control. America’s goat population is heavily concentrated in the Southwest.
Of the top ten goat producing counties, 8 are in Texas and 2 in Arizona. In Edwards County, TX, goats outnumber people 22-1. In general, goats outnumber people in 20 counties in Texas!
Statistics from the USDA- Small scale US goat operations show about 4 of 10 small scale goat operations (42.4 %) focused on meat production. One of 10 operations (10%) focused primarily on dairy goat production. 46.1% of operations focused on goats for brush control, livestock shows and pets. 1.5 percent of operations focused on fiber production.
Of operations with fewer than 10 goats, (72.4%) indicated they have goats for brush control, pets and livestock shows.
Can You Have a Goat as a Pet? What US States’ Law Says
The Animal Welfare Act was passed to law in 1966 and later amended in 2008. The act has guidelines on specifications for animal care and use, treatment of animals in transport or by dealers. The policies refer to the AWA as the minimum acceptable standard and are enforced by USDA, Animal Care and APHIS.
Under the act, a pet owner has to meet the basic welfare needs for pets which include;
- Somewhere suitable to live.
- Proper diet and hygiene.
- Protection from and treatment of injury and illness.
Goat owners must comply with extra laws for example;
- The registration of land where they are kept.
- Keeping of goat records.
- The way goats must be identified.
- Transport of goats.
Do Goats Make Good Pets?
Goats have charming personalities that make good pets. Though not all goats can be kept as pets, miniature goats like Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goats make good pets.
Miniature goats are the best to keep as pets. They are funny and make great family pets.
There are considerations for keeping goats as pets:
- The number of pet goats you want to keep. As discussed earlier, goats are herd animals so as much as you will be getting your pet goat, it is best to have more than one of its kind.
- The other consideration is the type of goat breed. This includes factors like:
- The size of the breed.
- The feeding schedule and needs.
- Housing and shelter.
- The amount of time you will give the specific breed.
Do Baby Goats Make Good Pets?
Kids are adorable animals that make good pets. They are fun to watch and have charming personalities. Goats are easy to love, entertaining and low maintenance. They are easy to handle and you can use them to teach children how to take care of livestock as part of their 4H projects.
The rise of Miniature goats has allowed more Americans to discover the joys of keeping these curious friends in their backyards. Miniature goats like the Nigerian dwarf and pygmy are good choices for people who want to keep goats as pests. These goats take up less room than large goat breeds.
Goats as Pets: Pros and Cons
The following are advantages of owning goats as pets:
- They can clear weeds, grass and brush in your yard or farm – Goats will graze and clear all unwanted weeds, shrubs and poison ivy in the compound thus keeping your area neat and free from the weeds
- They will offer companionship. It is fun watching goats. Their behavior and their personalities make them fun to be around. They are playful, loyal and gentle with children.
- They produce dairy products– These goats can provide your family with milk and dairy products like cheese that will save you time and money going to the grocery store. Goat milk is easier to digest so it is healthy alternative to cow’s milk. It is not lactose free, however. Nevertheless, you could also use the goat milk to make cottage cheese, or in a goat milk soap recipe to make soaps and other products for your home or to sell. Did you know that goat milk has many benefits for your skin?
- They make manure. Goat droppings and urine makes good manure and fertilizer. You can use the manure in your kitchen garden when planting vegetables or even flowers. Goat droppings add nitrogen to the soil thus improving the crop yield.
Keeping pet goats comes with a few disadvantages too. Below we will discuss some of the disadvantages of keeping goats as pets:
- They can’t protect themselves from predators. Though they have horns, they run away from danger rather than use the horns for protection. Some predators that attack these pet goats are stray dogs, coyotes and mountain lions.
- They succumb to parasitic infections. Odds of contracting an infection are high since they may encounter poisonous plants when browsing. Some intestinal worms if not treated, may cause a goat to die. You should also be keen to the feed you are giving your animals. Some feed contain substances that are harmful to goats.
- Goats will destroy food crops in your garden. Keep your pet goats away from your valuable vegetables, fruits and flowers. If given any chance, the goats will destroy and eat all the food that is meant for household use.
- Keep your goats in a well fenced area. Goats are escape artists so make sure the fence in tall enough to a point the goats cannot jump over. A well fenced backyard also keeps predators away.
Types of Goats for Pets: Complete List of Goat Breeds for Pets
Below is a list of goats that are kept as pets.
Breed Weight – Bucks
Males weigh between 25 to 30 kg
Females weigh between 20 to 25 kg
Breed Weight – Does
The height of pygmy goats is usually in the range of 16 to 20 inches
NIGERIAN DWARF GOAT
Breed Weight – Bucks
The average weigh of bucks is about 75 pounds
The average weight of does is about 75 pounds
Breed Weight – Does
Males have an average height of between 19 and 23 inches
Females have an average height of between 17 and 22 inches
These goats are a cross breed of the Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf. They are ideal for small homesteads since they are easy to keep. They bring the best of both the pygmies and Nigerian Dwarf and are docile enough to withstand sharing a home with your family. They are also good milk producers.
MINI DAIRY GOAT
Mini dairy goats include the kinder goats, Nubian-Nigerian crossbreeds. These goats measure Pygmy height. They also make good pets because of their attractive and friendly nature. Other mini dairy goat breeds include Mini Alpines, Mini Toggenburgs, Mini Lamanchas, Mini Saanen and Mini Oberhasli.
MINI FAINTING GOAT
The Livestock conservancy declared the myotonic breed endangered in 1988. These goats have short to thick coats. Their friendly nature makes them good pet goats. They are also known to be good meat goats.
The pygora goat was developed after crossbreeding a Pygmy and Angora goat. They are alert, friendly and easy to keep as pets. They have a height range of between 25 and 27 inches.
Best Goats for Pets
The two most common breeds of goats kept as pets are the Pygmy and the Nigerian dwarf goat. Below we will discuss the characteristics that distinguish the two breeds.
They are friendly and adaptable to any climate. Though considered as a pet goat, they can be used for milk and meat production for a small household. They were introduced in the US in the mid 20th century.
Characteristics of Pygmy goats
- Males weigh between 25 to 30 kg.
- Females weigh between 20 to 25 kg.
- Have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
- Have erect ears and full coats with straight medium-sized hair.
- Temperament: they are Active, Friendly and Playful.
Pygmies won’t require much space because they are miniature. All in all you should provide some pasture, clean and dry shelter and fencing that will keep predators away. Pygmies are easy to handle and are good breeds for children doing 4H projects.
NIGERIAN DWARF GOAT
The Nigerian Dwarf was imported to the US in 1930 and came from West Africa. The breed was recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association. They were used as exhibition animals before later becoming a popular pet goat.
They make good pets due to their admirable personalities, but can also provide milk for small households.
They are hardy and can survive in any climate given proper care and handling. Below are some characteristics of the goat.
Characteristics of Nigerian dwarf goats
- The average weigh of bucks is about 75 pounds.
- Males have an average height of between 19 and 23 inches.
- Females have an average height of between 17 and 22 inches.
- Have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
- Temperament: Lovable, gentle, friendly and playful.
Having a Goat as a Pet: What to Expect
Goats will offer companionship to their owners. They will also entertain their owners with their charming personalities.
They are intelligent and when well trained, they can be used to pull carts in the compound.
They love being around their owners so they are good companions when you are going out for walks.
Pet goats are high in demand for Goat Yoga classes. These goats can be used as therapy goats.
For a pet goat to be used as a therapy goat, it has to show it is controllable, have good manners in public and also be at ease with strangers.
Goats are social animals, and they will interact with your other pets as well. Don’t be surprised if you find out that your cat enjoys goat milk, your small goat is standing on your pig (see below!) and your dog is lapping up as much goat milk as he can get, or that the goat is yelling loudly at one of the other animals.
Pet Goat Care
Below are some basic care management that you should perform on your pet goats.
- Feed. The pets will require a balanced diet so provide them with high quality feeds. Supplement their feeds with grains, and quality hay. Make sure the feed has vitamins and minerals. Provide some pasture area too. Goats are good browsers and will eat all that they require saving you money.
- Housing. A good structure will keep the goats safe from predators and also provide warmth in the cold seasons. Provide clean bedding where your pet goats will sleep.
- Dewormer. It is important to get advice from your vet on the best deworming kit. Always deworm your goats. Worms affects your goat’s health and cause other health related.
- Hoof Trimmers. You will need to trim your goat’s hooves at least 4 times a year.
Pet Goats for Sale: Where to Buy Them
Finding pet goats to buy is easy. Below we will discuss where you can find pet goats for sale.
- Agriculture papers: You will find goats for sale around your area from your local agriculture papers and thrifties.
- Registries and goat clubs: Breeders promotes goats so you will find a healthy goat breed from the registries. They often give you a herd book on the goat you have purchased, where you are able to view the goat’s history and performance.
- Breeders’ websites: go directly to a goat breeder’s website and search for the breed of goat you are interested in.