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How Much Space Do Goats Need to Be Happy?

domestic goat in the field

You might already be well aware that goats are adventurous creatures. If you let them, they would rule the roost—coming and going as they please. But because these guys are troublemakers, they need to live in a sufficient space with proper reinforcements.

So, to make things easier on you, we tried to make a one-stop-shop of information on this front. This article covers how much space your goat needs and other aspects of environmental care that are essential. Let’s get to it!

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A Little About Goats

Goats have been used for centuries to provide meat and milk for humans. In more recent centuries, they have even crossed the threshold into pet territory—and make perfect 4H project partners for children.

Even though these guys are very adorable and generally easy to maintain, they come with their challenges. Goats can jump, chew, dig, and weasel their way out of so many types of enclosures, so safety is always first.

Once you have the proper enclosures, everything else should flow from there. But the last thing you’ll want to do is have a fragile setup where you’re constantly having to retrieve escaped goats.

goat and sheep farm
Image Credit: Wissam Hajj, Pixabay

Types of Goats

Female goats are usually called “nannies” and males are called “bucks.” There are all sorts of fascinating breeds, but here we have broken them up into dairy or meat goats—depending on what you’re looking for.

Commonly domesticated dairy goat breeds include:
Commonly domesticated meat goat breeds include:
  • Spanish goats
  • Boer
  • Kiko
  • Myotonic
  • Savannah
  • Texmaster

While goats can vary in size, even at their largest, these basics cover all breeds.

goat dividerHousing Goats

Regardless of the breed you select, goats are masters at escaping. So, to keep your goats safe inside and protect them from predators or horn hang-ups, here’s the kind of setup you’ll need.

Enclosure Space

If you don’t allow your goats to graze in a pasture, the dry should be at least 200 square feet per goat. As long as the area is secure, you can make grazing space much larger, but definitely make sure you go no smaller to avoid overcrowding.

Goats eating
Image Credit: joolsazzy96, Pixabay

Fencing

Goats are slippery little boogers that can escape in a minute’s time. They often require high electrical fences to keep them contained. A good rule of thumb is to have a fence at least 42 inches tall all the way around their living quarters.

You can select from various fencing, but we recommend cattle fencing or woven wire.

Make sure fencing is snag-free, as there is nowhere for horns to get stuck. If your goat’s horn gets stuck it can cause serious injury, blood loss, and property damage.

Related Read: How High Can Goats Jump? And How Tall Does Your Fence Need to Be?

Shelter

Goats are hardy animals, but they need appropriate shelters to protect them from inclement weather and hot sun.

Generally, farmers use:

  • Greenhouse barns
  • Calf hutches
  • Three-sided sheds

You can get really creative in this arena, though. There are tons of DIY projects online where you can use cheap or free materials to make decent shelters.

Grazing

If you are responsible for all of your goat’s daily dietary needs, you might not allow them to graze—or have the space for them to do so. But if you do, grazing is incredibly important for the overall needs of the animal.

On average, you should have 30 to 50 square feet of grazing space per goat.

Even if you allow your goat to graze, they will still need supplemental food like grain and hay to make sure they have all the nutrients their bodies require.

goat munching
Image Credit: Pixabay

Do Goats Need Friends?

First, let’s say that goats are extremely outgoing creatures that love to be in on all the barnyard gossip. If goats are alone, it can cause serious depression in their lives. Also, the less socialization they have, the more likely they are to curb their boredom with mischievous behaviors.

Luckily, goats are also compatible with a variety of farm life as well—and they’ll make friends wherever they go. However, you should have at least two goats for the sake of community and socialization.

How Many Goats Should You Have?

You should have at least two goats. These animals do very well with other livestock, but they are the happiest with a goat friend to share their life with.

Compatible Pasture Sharing

Goats are incredibly social animals that love having companions around. So, the company they have isn’t limited to their species, although other animals are no substitute for having like companions.

Goats get along fantastically with:

Goats will even get along with non-barnyard-type animals like the family cat or dog. Not to mention—they love their human friends just as well as long as they have been properly socialized in that sense.

sheep and goat
Image Credit: Jonathan Aldave, Shutterstock

Can Goats Free Range?

You, unfortunately, cannot trust a goat to free range. They are far too adventurous to contain themselves and will wind up a long way from home before you can stop them.

You can, however, walk them on leads and take them on walks—almost like a dog. They would love to tag along to see new sights, but it can be a bit challenging to get them to behave initially if you have a rather spirited breed.

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Conclusion

So, remember—each goat needs 200 square feet of space in an enclosure. You should use strong cattle or woven wire that is at least 42 inches high to keep those buggers inside. Most people use electric fences for better reinforcements.

Also, keep in mind that goats are social and need at least one other goat friend to keep them company. Unlike some smaller farm animals, goats do require a decent amount of space to live happily. So, always make sure you have the space before you make the commitment.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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