Keeping different animals together

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by abbygibson1212, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. abbygibson1212

    abbygibson1212 Chirping

    Nov 29, 2014
    So right now I only have a horse, but I'm moving soon and plan on getting a few other animals, and I was wondering, is it okay to keep a horse, jersey cow, and alpaca all together? And what about a milk goat? Could I keep her with the big animals or would I need to get a wether to keep her company and keep them in a separate pen?
    Trying to save as much as I can on fencing and buildings, but if they all need to be separate I can figure it out. Hopefully they could all stay together though, since they are herd animals they would be able to keep each other company. I would at least like to be able to keep the cow, horse, and alpaca in one pasture and the goats in another pen so I only have to fence two areas (I guess three really so I could rotate the big animals every year, right?)
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I'm sure there are lots of people who manage all sorts of mixes of species in the same spaces, but I will just point out a few things:

    Anything with horns is a danger to anything else, particularly things that don't have horns.

    Cattle feed can be lethal to horses. There are "all stock" feeds that won't kill anything that you feed them to, but since the dietary needs of each species is different, they may not meet all of their nutritional needs, either. At minimum, you will need to separate them out at feeding time, if for nothing more than to be sure each animal gets what they need and no more.

    Fences only work if the animals respect them, and some kinds of fencing only work well for some types of animals. Barbed wire may be perfectly good cattle fence, but people who really care about their horses won't let them anywhere near the stuff. Some types of welded wire fencing will work for cattle, but will trap a goat's head (or a horse's leg); and some kinds of wire will only work for a cow as long as the cow doesn't see something outside that it finds interesting.[​IMG]

    These are all herd animals, and though they may accept these other animals as their new "herd," they may not. Some animals are pretty set on hangin' with their own species, and can be really stressed when they don't have others to be with (and pretty determined to get out and try to find some).
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  3. Horses can be unpredictable in behaviour. They may get along just fine for months with animals they are penned with. And then one day may decide they don't like the other animals in their space. A horse can inflict a huge amount of pain and suffering in the blink of an eye.
  4. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Songster

    Apr 24, 2015
    What do you want these different species for?

    I say just get a small goat herd, skip the cow and alpaca for now.
  5. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

    Oct 21, 2015

    I've seen horses and cows together but @Bunnylady makes a very good point. Personally, I've had goats and sheep together successfully so goats and alpaca could work depending on the temperament of the goat. I wouldn't have a male goat (too aggressive and very smelly).

    But as @Bunnylady has mentioned, Fences for one is not good for all.

    Goats can escape (and damage) most fencing and get their horns stuck in field fencing that is 4 or more inches apart (they get their heads in but can't get it back out and causes a panic). Chicken wire is useless with goats. So you need field fencing that is spaced close together 3 inches or less apart all the way from top to bottom and at least 4 or more feet high (yes, goats can jump pretty high).

    Since Horses and cows can damage field fencing you would need to put up hot wire with standoffs from the field fence on the inside. At least one 1 foot from the bottom and another along the top.

    Maybe start small and build a goat pen first then add other animals over time as you can supply good/proper fencing and shelter for each.
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I think it depends on the horse really. Larger goats should be ok, and de-horned or polled breeds of cattle should also be fine. I would not keep less than two goats though.

    I hesitate with the alpaca though. I've seen llamas kept with horses, but alpacas are considerably more delicate. They also are not good for much other than fiber, and they really aren't friendly pets. I always wanted one until I realized that they weren't cuddly and didn't like to be pet! They also tend to need monthly care for the prevention of meningeal worms, which some people don't care for the extra work.

    The others are right about fencing as well. Most all species will respect a properly constructed electric fence, but the boundary beyond that must also be adequate for all those species. Large field fencing might be your best bet (smaller field fencing can be a danger to horses who tend to get their feet caught up in stuff. A strand of electric wire low enough for the goats, but high enough for the horse and cow would help tremendously.
  7. Copper Creek

    Copper Creek In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2015
    I think it would be fine to mix them all to together as long as you watch them carefully for a least the first 2 weeks.
  8. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Songster

    Apr 24, 2015
    Note: You can't have just one alpaca. You need at least two, preferably more.

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