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What's a good "starter goat"?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Granolamom, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    8 months ago we entered "chicken world", which has been a wonderful experience and has naturally led us to wanting more animals. We are considering getting 2 goats, and are wondering, what would be a good breed for absolute beginners. I like the idea of eventually having milk goats, but due to my job, which takes me away from home 3 days per week, that won't be in the immediate future.
    We don't have land, just a 3/4 acre lot, but my neigbors says she'll let me use her pasture (behind our home). Her suggestion was to tie the goats to stakes, and move them around the pasture, which is unfenced, but what I want to do is get electric fencing, and move it from area to area. I'm looking at a wooden, kids' playhouse, to have them in at night. We have 2 small children, ages 3 and 6, and we want the goats to be our pets, and very used to being handled, which means we should probably get really young ones, right? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! (I am leaning towards the larger breeds, like perhaps Nubians, versus little Pygmee goats, but I'm definitely open for pro's and con's)
  2. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Please don't consider tying out your goats. It leaves them vulnerable to predators and to themselves.

    Any breed of goat can make a great pet. As long as they're well socialized, they're great. Yes, for good socialization, younger animals are best.

    So, go for whatever you think is pretty [​IMG] and research fencing options.

    Good luck!
  3. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Thanks, Kate, and rest assured that I'd never consider tying the goats to sticks. I've seen it, and I totally hate it. Got any suggestions for fencing options? In Germany, where I'm from, people use these movable electric fences, that you just stick into the ground (they're used mostly for sheep). Would that work for the goats, too? I've heard that they are amazing escape artists, but I'd think that once they learn their boundaries, and get zapped a few times, they'll figure it out. I plan on making their area as big as possible (any suggestions, for 2 goats?) We also plan on walking them into the woods behind our house, and letting them "go to town" there.
  4. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Just for fun one day, DH and I put 4 of our goats in a 60' area of horse paddock made from 1" electric poly tape. They didn't care about the shock of a 1.5 joule charger - they wanted out so they walked right through. [​IMG]

    We use chain link panels (for dog pens) and love them (we got them at auction, though, so we saved a TON on them). Permanent fencing here is dog wire fence (2" x 4" holes) supported by t-posts and reinforced with wood posts, with the pen panels used intermittently - esp for the gates.

    When we needed temp fencing for yard clearing...we took 100 feet of 4' dog fence and attached it to garden t-posts every 8'. Then when we wanted to move it, we'd pull it up, roll it up, then stick it somewhere new. Lots of work, but it was safe and effective.

    We're dealing with mini's, too...so for some larger breeds you can get away with different fence types. Just depends.
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Kate has tons of experience so listen to her about the fencing.

    I have both Nubians and Alpines for large milk breeds. I love them both. I got them as adults and they were all socialized so even my kids love being with all the goats. I have one Nubian wether and he is just a doll - but huge! I don't worry about him with my 4 and 5 year olds either as he's so sweet and gentle. A wether is a great way to start out with goats but if you know or think you won't be able to have more than two or three goats in the future then you may want to start with milk does. My only comment on the difference in my Alpines and Nubians are that my Nubians are more vocal than the Alpines. I've heard others say that it's typical of the breed. Of course, each goat is an individual so you never know who's going to be loud and noisy.

    Do lots of research (which you obviously are) and figure out the breed that you like best for your situation. Have fun! [​IMG]
  6. minifarm8

    minifarm8 Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    Hagerstown, MD
    We love our fainting goats. They are not as big as the Nubians, etc but bigger than the minis. We don't have any issues with them trying to escape either. If they jump, they may stiffen and fall so why try? lol Ours are poled(born without horns) which I like around the kids.

    I also thought about milking but can't with all the activities we are involved with. These have been a great begining step for us.
    Plus, you get the entertainment of the "fainting". Sounds mean but it doesn't hurt them and we don't let the kids chase them around screaming.

    Half the fun is deciding what to get. Enjoy.
  7. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Songster

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    We have pygmy, nigerian dwarfs ,Boars and Spanish goats. DH started with wethers as pets but soon wanted does for milking. Be careful when you buy them . The younger the better. DH was told the does were tame that was 2 years ago and no amount of touching,playing or giving treats will tame these girls down. We use Horse field fence. It designed that a horse can not buckle it down so it works for the goats. Alot of people say they have trouble with the goats escaping but so far we have never had one to even try. MY son built tables and play teetertotters for the goats to play on. I think only bored goats try to escape you know the grass is always greener. lol Right now with Kates help we are raising an abandoned pygmy baby who is 6 days old Her mama just left her and her twin to die luckily we found them and got them inside. As for goat houses they really only need a place to get out of the weather goats hate rain. They can handle the cold but they do like shade when its hot. We have open housing here in Florida and so far its worked out fine.
  8. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Thanks for all your responses and tips, guys! I will do some more checking around, and plan to go and see 2 farms in the next few weeks to get a first hand look at some of the different breeds, as well as ideas how people are keeping them. I'm very excited and really look forward to this! Wish me luck! Oh, and Micky, good for you for trying to save that Pygmy baby! I love to hear happy ending stories like that. Bet it's a lot of work to care for an itty-bitty one like that. Good for you!
  9. hollyk

    hollyk Songster

    Nov 21, 2008
    Canton, Texas
    We have boer goats. They have been very easy to keep in fences. I have not tried the electric with them, but many I know use it and have very good success. Another idea is using hog or cattle panels. these come 16 ft long so by forming a square with four t-post at the corners for stability you can give thema good amount of space to eat in. This pen can easily be moved around. Boer goats do get large, but the have a very mild disposition. Wethers are pretty inexpensive. Buying a bottle baby is a good way to get a pet. If you do get a bottle baby, I would try to get one that is 6 weeks at least. There is a lot that can go wrong in those first few days and weeks. We also have a fainting goat, she is no trouble and we do get laughts. These would also be good to start with I think. 2 Saanen dairy goats round out the herd. These dairy goats are by far the most curious and busy. I am not sure what life would be like if we had started with them. When I bought them our herd boss was already established. The boss is a boer and doesn't try to escape. I agree that plenty to do probably helps with the behavior.
    All in all, we love all our goats. They are so funny! I am sure you will enjoy them. Like Helmstead said- get what you like to look at!

    One more note- my goats like the rain. They have plenty of shelter and barns, they just don't hardly use it![​IMG] Sometimes I will go pen them up in stalls when it's cold and raining so that I feel better. They don't see the good in it, but oh well.
  10. greenthumb89

    greenthumb89 Songster

    May 30, 2008
    pulaski wisconsin
    i would definitly go with wethers but other then that breed is up to you but i would stay away from pygoras or angoras...you didnt even mention them but i thought i would to be sure, they need shearing, if you want to do that all good but im guessing you dont because of the extra hassle
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009

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