I’ve wanted a goat for a long, long time and last weekend, I’m happy to say we finally made that happen.
For my daughter’s quarantine birthday, we bought two Nubian babies, Willow and Whisper!
Before bringing our new friends home, we, of course, prepared a pen for them, installing panels over pipe corral fencing so we could keep them contained and keep predators out, but my end goal is to eventually keep them with my horses.
If you didn’t know, goats can make great companions for horses (especially if you have a lone horse), but there are other reasons to house them with your equines as well. For one, goats are browsers and will often “clean up” brush and undesirable weeds, leaving the good grass behind for grazing animals like horses.
Another nice thing about goats is that they don’t require much in the way of feed or supplements if they’re on pasture. (They do need hay in the winter, just like horses though.)
Goats and horses tend to do well together, but here are a few recommendations I’ve found if you’re new to goats like we are:
Introduce your goats and horses slowly.
In other words, don’t just dump the goats into the horse pasture and expect everything to go smoothly. My horses had never seen goats until now and were quite wary of them at first and the goats still aren’t sure what to make of those giant animals either!
Invest in the right kind of fencing.
Goats are notorious escape artists, so if you want to keep them contained, you’ll need the right type of fencing. Four feet is the minimum recommended height and some types that can work for both horses and goats include:
- 2×4 Non-Climb Wire Mesh Horse Fence
- RedBrand Non-Climb Wire Mesh Fence
- RedBrand Extended Live V-Mesh Fence
However, keep in mind that goats with horns can get them caught in some types of fencing. Our goats were disbudded as babies, so it won’t be an issue, fortunately.
If feeding concentrates, feed your goats separately.
As I stated before, most adult goats on pasture won’t need concentrates, but young goats, pregnant or lactating goats, or those not kept on pasture full time may need supplementation and this is where you will need to be careful as some goat feeds may not be suitable for horses and medicated goat feeds can even be lethal.
Though goats require some work, we’re learning the joy they bring is completely worth it; they’ve made quite a nice addition to our farm.
If you have further recommendations for keeping goats with horses, please share in the comments!
Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.