Goats as Pets (Part 1)
by Gary Pfalzbot
About the Author
So you want a goat for a pet? Surprisingly enough there are not a whole lot of books or articles written on this subject so I figured it was a task I would take on myself to enlighten those interested "would be" goat owners, especially since I have had a number of people ask me how goats are as pets. Well, to begin with, let's look at a couple of different things one must consider with having a goat as a pet.
One must first define the word "pet" and determine what the word means to them and what they want from the pet. If you are looking for a pet that sits in your lap while watching TV, a goat is not that kind of pet. If you want a pet that fetches the evening newspaper, again, a goat is not that kind of pet. If you are looking for the type of pet that you need to pay very little attention to and feed perhaps once a day, a goat is not that kind of pet either. If you are looking for the kind of pet that you can housetrain or litterbox train, well, from my experience, a goat won't be that kind of pet as well.
A goat as a pet primarily means that you are willing to let it be the type of animal it is. An outside animal that you cannot necessarily have sleeping on the bed with you each night (though some report that their children make a practice of this). A goat basically needs the outdoors to be within it's natural elements. Having a goat indoors can pose many problems, to include that your favorite piece a furniture may become a "rip and chew" party. Of course cats and dogs are reknowned for this as well but they appear to be a bit more trainable to discourage that type of undesireable behavior.
For the most part (at least in my opinion), a goat has basically only a few things on their mind; eat, drink water, sleep, play, fight and reproduce. And taking up the greatest percentage of that time is eating. Most goats will eat several times a day, stopping only to rest and letting their rumens process the food. An hour later they are back at it again. So to have an "outdoor pet" of this type, you must be willing and able to provide the proper food and nutrition at all times for your goat just as you would any other pet. And the water is important as well. Never deprive a goat of water. One must either have an ample field or pasture for the goat(s) to browse in addition to supplementing the diet with nutrients not readily available such as hay and alfalfa.
A Word Or Two On Water - Ask yourself, will you drink a glass of water that looks mucky and yucky? Answer is probably no. Goats (as well as alot of other animals as pets) prefer clean water too. It does not neccessarily have to be sparkling fresh (although it's not a bad idea), but it should be pretty clean. Lots of harmful bacteria and organisms thrive in the mucky and yucky water. This is what makes goats a bit different than dogs or cats. Dogs and cats can survive on mucky and yucky water. Goats might survive on yucky water (if they have to) but they certainly will not be as healthy as they should be.