Can you keep goats, even if you only have a small or urban homestead? Here’s a helpful estimate of how much space you’ll need to raise a goat – plus some other tips.
If you are looking to add goats to your livestock lineup, you may be wondering just how much space you need to allocate per goat. While they aren’t large animals, goats are very active, and they love to roam. Your goat herd will be happiest if they have plenty of space for running, climbing, and investigating a varied landscape.
They also do best with a varied diet that includes several different food sources, including tree leaves, brush, weeds, grass, and twigs. They will do okay on just grass, but unlike most other ruminants, they don’t prefer it so they may try to escape to find other food sources. (And goats are great escape artists! When I was a kid, we had a goat who learned how to use her horns to unlatch the gate and get into our garden and orchards whenever she wanted. Needless to say, that goat was tethered often!)
Here are a few tips from WeedEmAndReap.com on how much – and what kind of – space you need to raise goats, as well as a few other related questions:
One goat requires at least 250 sq. ft of space.
Doesn’t seem like a lot, does it? What you have to remember though, is that goats are herd animals, so they prefer a buddy with them. One goat by itself will be VERY loud, trust me. You’ll have 24-7 bleating from a lone goat, while two are so happy, you’ll hardly know they’re there.
Two goats require at least 500 sq. ft. of space.
So, now you have two goats and you have a good space for them to live. They’ve got a hay feeder, fresh water, a shelter for rain, and maybe some shade for hot days. Life is good. But what about a pasture? Do goats need it? It’s a requirement?
Do goats need a pasture to graze in?
Goats are browsers, not grazers, which means that they don’t jump up and down in excitement over a yard of grass. They won’t really mow your lawn UNLESS you don’t feed them. Goats prefer alfalfa hay as their main dietary source, and while they’ll nibble at grass, they really won’t chomp at it unless it’s their only source of nutrition. Could you theoretically force your goats to eat grass? Yes. I’ve done this before. Your goats will cry out for a few days wondering where their precious rich alfalfa went, but they will realize grass is what’s for dinner and will start to (reluctantly) graze.
The only exception to this rule is if instead of mostly grass, you have an area with weeds, brush, and lots of variety of foliage. Goats LOVE variety, and so they are great at clearing an overgrown pasture, but once an area is just sporting grass, they tend to turn up their noses at it.
So, do goats NEED a pasture? Not in the sense that they’ll mow it down, but more in the sense that it’s nice to get out and explore a bit, you know?
Which animals can co-habitate with goats?
Goats get along with a variety of animals. They can be kept together with sheep, llamas, alpacas, horses, & cows. They also can be kept with chickens, ducks, geese, or ostriches — although, in this case, if you’re milking a goat to drink the milk, then understand that if she’s kept in very small quarters with fowl, the chances of her laying her udder in their feces is high. For this reason we keep our chickens out of the main goat area, but allow them to cohabitate when it’s time for the goats to visit in the large pasture. It’s the mix of fowl and a milking animal in a SMALL area that is the problem, so avoid that situation if at all possible.
Goats CANNOT be kept with pigs. Pigs are omnivores and can attack goats to eat them.