You’ve heard that goats are great browsers and can add a lot to the diversity of your farm and land management practices.
You’ve got brambles and thistles and thorns and poison ivy all along the borders of your farm and have read about goats for rent to tackle problem areas just like yours.
You’ve seen hundreds of #goats on instagram and they really do seem so sweet. You have neighbors who raise and milk goats – theirs seem so tame and sweet and silly.
Maybe goats would be a good fit on your farm too?
We’re all about disseminating information here on the farm and want to both impart our hard-earned wisdom and help you learn from our mistakes experience. In that spirit, here are a few questions we would encourage pondering carefully if you’re wondering if goats might be right for you.
1. Is your fencing game Olympic gold-standard? Good fences make good neighbors and good goats. And by good fences I mean woven wire goat fence secured with t-posts no more than 8 feet apart with no less than two additional electric fence wires strung along the inside perimeter.
We don’t. No big deal, we thought. Worst case, we can tie them to a cinder block and move them around as needed. So if you don’t have great fence (it’s not a deal breaker), and you’re on board with free range goats – go for it.
2. Do you need a little excitement in your life? Goats are smart. And wily. And infinitely creative. They fit through chicken coop doors and loooooove chicken feed.
Also, they love to snack on cardboard. Those Amazon deliveries that came to your door today? Consider them munched. They’ll chew on anything – feed bags, tarps, buckets of nails, poultry netting, kids’ shirts and shorts and socks.
And you’ll find them in the darndest places – in the back of the truck, stuck in the fence, on the front porch rocking chair, in the van (those sliding doors are just so tempting…), on the four wheeler seat, in the utility trailer, up on the workbench… well, you get the idea.
If things are a little drab around your place and your day to day needs a little spicing up, goats could be a good idea.
3. How do your little ones feel about open field tackles? I admit, the goats we see on social media are irresistible, even though a disproportionate amount of them are clearly less than a year old because #cute.
But eventually, all goats grow up. And they’re wily and precocious and smart. They’ll figure out really quick who they can push around and intimidate – guinea fowl – yes, barn cats – yes, toddlers – yes, turkey tom – no.
Not that they intend to be mean or even aggressive, but in the eyes of a goat (and his buddy) it is kinda fun to knock over the littlest human in the barnyard and strut about it.
For sure, there are strategies to prevent the early childhood trauma that is being mauled by a goat (curtailing the free range policy would go a long way), and if your kids are middle school linebackers or top-shelf reachers, not much else stands in the way of your goat-owning dreams.
You think long and hard. You hem and haw. You do your research. You make a list of pros and cons. Your friends are on both sides of the fence – enthusiastic yes and aw hell no. So maybe you decide to try it out for a few months “just to see how it goes.”
And maybe that convinces you once and for all, but you still need to get rid of those briars and thorns and thistles. Use a weed eater, friend. It won’t poop on your porch or get locked in your car or chew on your packages or knock over the toddler.
Boom. Problem solved.