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