9 reasons dwarf goats make excellent pets

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Image: PerspectiveZ Creative; Photo Of One Of The Author's Goats

If you have spent any time on the internet watching YouTube videos over the last year, you've probably seen videos of baby goats in pajamas, goats bellowing as part of country songs in music videos, goats climbing and living in trees and many other odd, cute, funny or unique exposés. However, small goats are appealing to more and more homeowners who seek a natural lifestyle and desire pets that are fairly low maintenance. With a diminutive size, typically less than 24 inches tall, here are nine possible reasons a pet dwarf goat might fit into your lifestyle.

1. Goats are affectionate

Yes, a goat can be as affectionate as a dog. They will wag their tail happily when petted or food appears. They learn quickly and develop a bond with their owner.

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2. Goats are intelligent

This adds a unique facet to goat ownership. Watching a goat problem-solve (like moving a chair to get to the carrots on top of the table) can be wonderful fun. Their personality traits and behaviors can fill your day with laughter.

3. Space requirements

Dwarf goats require a smaller amount of space than their full size brethren. Two dwarf goats may be easily housed on a quarter acre. A simple electric fence is easy containment. You may also line a wood fence with mesh wire. Big barns are not needed; rounded white dog igloos are a perfect shelter for pet goats. Goats must have shelter from wind and rain.

4. Low noise and odor

Unlike dogs, you won’t have a goat keeping you up at night barking. Neither will they destroy your slippers or carry off tools. Goats are capable of “yelling,” however it is usually if they are in distress, scared or lonely. Only breeding stock carry the “offensive” bucky odor that people attribute unfairly to all goats. A pet doe or neutered male has no such odor.

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5. Easy cleanup

Goat manure arrives in the form of small, perfectly round hard pellets — easy cleanup with a broom if you happen to find some on your deck or patio. Some owners have trained their goats to pet potty pads in the house or trained them to follow the house dog outside as necessary. The intelligence is there, simply add repetition and reward.

6. Free fertilizer

Goat pellets make wonderful fertilizer for the yard or garden. They have very low odor, decompose quickly and can be used immediately. They are not considered “hot” as fertilizers go — horse and chicken manure must age before use or they can burn your plants.

7. Easy to feed

Goats have an extremely efficient digestive system with four stomachs. Grazing and foraging provide the natural feedstuff for goats. However, if this is not available, a quality hay and perhaps a periodic cup of grain for additional calories is all that is needed. With any animal, the higher the nutrient value of the feed, the less you need to feed.

8. Natural weed whackers

Goats love weeds, brambles, briars, thorns and particularly poison ivy and oak. Need an area cleaned out of brush? Let the goat do it. Unpassable, impenetrable lands overgrown and bushy, after a few days with goats, will become open and passable. Many metropolitan areas are renting goats to cleanup old graveyards, overgrown hillsides and other areas that machinery finds too difficult to navigate.

9. Happy homesteading

As more and more people are wanting to raise their own food, and move toward a more organic, self-sustainable lifestyle, the interest in small diary goats has grown as part of that dynamic. Raw milk is highly preferred by many for its vitamin, enzyme and natural butterfat content. Making one’s own soap, cheese, yogurt and kefir are growing in popularity.

Think a goat could be in your future? Start by speaking with a knowledgeable breeder. Pet goats typically range from $50 to $100 each. Those of us who raise goats for a living love our animals and want good homes. Most breeders will typically share knowledge and guidance to get you started on the path to happy goat ownership, laughter and fun.

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