Getting to know: Goats
Goats are social animals and should at the least be kept in pairs.
A fenced-off area of a large garden, or a small field or paddock is essential. The fencing must be very strong, as goats will always be trying to reach what is on the other side. They are pretty good at escaping by using their mouths to open doors and gates.
Unlike sheep which produce an oily secretion called lanolin into their wool, goats have no natural waterproofing so not surprisingly they don’t like to get wet! They need dry, well ventilated accommodation to shelter in when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Goats can reach up to two metres on their hind legs and explore everything by nibbling and chewing so anything harmful such as fixtures, fittings and electric cables are kept well hidden!
Food & digestion
Did you know that goats have four stomachs? They will feed for much of the day and spend periods of rest regurgitating food to chew it further and swallowing again this is part of a process called rumination.
In the wild, goats are grazing animals and will eat a varied diet of grass, weeds, shrubs, branches and hedgerow. If they’re fenced in a grass paddock like ours, they can be given branches and (non-poisonous) hedge trimmings so that they can continue to display their natural behaviour.
Like all good humans, goats that are not wild should be given a balanced diet which can include good quality hay, straw and pellet feed with added vitamins and minerals, particularly in the winter months. Goats can also be fed cereals such as wheat, barley or oats, with vitamin and mineral supplements.
Just like children, goats need to be disciplined from an early age so that they don’t develop any bad habits. Goats do butt each other but this is normal as they develop an order of dominance in the herd. If taught from an early age, goats will not butt other animals or humans.
They are inquisitive little things and love to climb and explore at every available opportunity!
Goats discovered coffee! Apparently in Ethiopia a goat herder saw goats behaving more actively and energetically after eating from a particular bush. He then tried it himself and felt uplifted, awake and full of energy.