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Tips For Setting Up A Good Goat Pen

September 1, 2022

Are you considering keeping goats? Goats are very hardy and sturdy, not to mention lots of fun. In fact, it used to be common practice to place a single black goat with 100 sheep, as they turned out to be better flock leaders than rams. In addition to a clean, comfy, well-ventilated shelter, Billy will need some outdoor room. A Roswell, NM vet discusses setting up a good goat pen below.


Billy will really enjoy having things to climb. Some things you can incorporate into the yard include children’s slides, used stairs, pallets, and large cable spools from utility companies. Old tables and tires also work. Just bury the bottom third to anchor them. Make sure there are no sharp edges, such as nails or screws, sticking out. Also, take care not to create habitats for scorpions, spiders, or snakes!


We recommend having at least 200 square feet for one goat, but bigger is better. If you want to breed your goats, keep that in mind when designing your pen. Otherwise, you’ll be expanding again and again. That would be baaaaaad!


As you may know, goats eat many things that would make any other creature—including us—very sick. However, that doesn’t mean everything is safe for Billy. Some toxic plants include pigweed, locoweed (astragalus), horse nettle, ivy, snakeweed, goatheads, lupines, acacia, nightshade, hemlock, mountain laurel, rhubarb, rhododendron, and bracken ferns. Ask your vet for more information.


Like any other animal, goats need fresh water. Use sturdy troughs, tubs, or buckets, so they can’t be knocked down. (Tip: when cleaning buckets, use the old water for herbs or veggies.)


Sturdy fencing is not optional … at least, not if you want to keep your goats contained. Billy is a very talented escape artist! You can choose from several types of fencing, from wood to panel fencing, as long as it’s safe and sturdy. Electric fencing is also a good option: most goats will learn to leave it alone. You may find that fences with vertical bars work well, as goats can’t stand on them as they would a normal fence.


Clean your goat pen regularly, so manure doesn’t accumulate. Look on the bright side: if you have a garden, you’ve got free fertilizer!

Our Advice on Tips For Setting Up A Good Goat Pen in 2024

What fun and safe items can you incorporate into a goat’s outdoor pen for amusement?

To entertain goats in their outdoor pen, incorporating items that promote climbing and exploration can significantly enhance their environment. Safe and engaging options include children’s slides, used staircases, pallets, and large cable spools obtained from utility companies. Additionally, old tables and tires can be repurposed as climbing platforms, ensuring they’re securely anchored by burying the bottom third. It’s crucial to remove any sharp edges, such as protruding nails or screws, to prevent injury and to avoid creating hiding spots for potentially harmful creatures like scorpions, spiders, or snakes.

How much outdoor space is recommended for one goat?

For optimal well-being, it’s recommended that each goat have access to at least 200 square feet of outdoor space. This area provides sufficient room for exercise, grazing, and natural behaviors, which are crucial for their physical and mental health. If breeding goats or planning for a herd, consider allocating additional space to accommodate the increased activity and social dynamics. A larger enclosure prevents overcrowding and supports better health management by reducing the spread of diseases. Always aim for more space when possible, as it enhances the quality of life for these active and curious animals.

What types of foliage should be avoided in or around a goat pen due to toxicity?

Certain plants should be meticulously avoided in and around a goat pen due to their toxicity to goats. Notable toxic plants include pigweed, locoweed (astragalus), horse nettle, ivy, snakeweed, goatherds, lupines, acacia, nightshade, hemlock, mountain laurel, rhubarb, rhododendron, and bracken fern. These plants contain compounds that can cause serious health issues ranging from digestive upset to more severe neurological problems and, in some cases, death. Always consult with a veterinarian for a comprehensive list of local toxic plants and implement regular checks to ensure the pen and surrounding areas are free from these hazardous species.

Why is it essential to provide goats with fresh water, and what kind of containers are recommended?

Providing goats with fresh water is crucial for their hydration, digestion, and overall health. Goats require constant access to clean water to prevent dehydration, facilitate nutrient absorption, and support metabolic processes. Sturdy troughs, tubs, or buckets that cannot be easily knocked over are recommended for water containers. These should be made of durable, non-toxic materials and designed to minimize contamination from debris or waste. Regularly cleaning and refilling the containers ensures the water remains fresh and safe, promoting healthy hydration habits in goats.

How often should you clean a goat pen, and what is a beneficial use for the accumulated manure?

Cleaning a goat pen regularly is vital for maintaining a healthy environment, with a thorough cleaning recommended at least once a week. This frequency helps prevent manure and urine buildup, reducing the risk of disease and parasite transmission among goats. Accumulated manure, rich in nutrients, is an excellent garden fertilizer. Composting the manure before application can enhance its benefits, making it safer and more effective for promoting plant growth. This practice recycles waste and contributes to a sustainable approach to farming and gardening.

Do you have questions about goat care? Contact us, your Roswell, NM animal clinic, today!