How to prepare for goats – the necessities

I know you are totally begging/stealing/kissing whatever…

…to totally get goats, right? Oh, wait. Was that just me? My bad, my friends.

But it’s the truth. I had been wanting goats for over two years and Mountain Man was dead set against it. 

He thought there were other things that we should be concentrating on. I tried explaining to him that if we had goats- for milk– we would save SOOOO much moola because we could make our own raw milk (duh), butter, cheese, yogurt, soaps, etc.

But, he still didn’t buy it.

So, I did what any amazingly-talented-wonderful-homesteading-wannabe farmer wife would do and plotted out a plan. ;).

I started obnoxiously pointing out how many buckaroos we were spending weekly on raw milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and soaps from local farmers/stores. It would go something like this:

Mountain Man: Hey babe, how was your day?

Me: Oh, you know. Great. Went grocery shopping and ran errands. Got gas. Picked up some flour and oats. Spent 7 bucks on a gallon of raw milk. $4 on a bar of soap. And honey, they done raised the price on the roll butter...AGAIN! Last week I ONLY paid $10- this week I paid TWELVE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY TWO CENTS (gotta add those cents in!). Dang, man. Imagine if we had a goat and could just make all this stuff ourselves. Sigh… 

But that was only the first part of my plan…

Then every time we ran out of something I made sure for him to be home, let out a big sigh, and was like “well, there goes another darn $7 on a gallon of milk that lasted 2.2 days (as I’m pouring out the last drop). Or as I’m using the last slice of butter off the roll I’d slyly say “man…I hate when we run out of butter. Now I gotta get in the truck, drive two towns over, and drop $12 on a roll of butter- or has it gone up again? …” Sigh. “You know honey- if we had our own goats we could make all of this and save about $1,324,567.42 every year.” 

Not like I’m counting or anything.

But, he wasn’t havin’ any of it…so I gave up. Then a year went by.

2014-09-22 01.16.35

One night Mountain Man and I were laying in bed and I happened to stumble upon 8 week old twin Nubian girls- and something clicked. 

I squeamishly asked Mountain Man if we could have them and he said maybe. Say whaaaatttt? Did that handsome bearded man just say MAYBE?

He did.

Long story short. HE FREAKING SAID YES! (read about it HERE).

It was more exciting than our engagement night! Just sayin’…

We got the girls! (read about it HERE)

Now I had to find out exactly what we needed to prepare for them since we were getting them a week later. There was one problem though. I couldn’t find anything online that flat out told me the necessities of what I needed. But don’t worry all you goat-lovin’-adorable peeps. No need to scour the internet for days like I did. I got ya! Here it is…

How to Prepare for Goats- The Necessities 

1. Fencing

All good (and bad) goats need fencing. If not, they will be running around like a recent high school grad the day they moved out of their parent’s house. Just sayin’.

You have to take into account how many goats you are getting and what their size will be when they are full grown. We went with 100 ft of livestock fencing from our local store. We added about 25 feet by adding doors made out of pallets (post coming soon- so stay tuned!). We figured this was good for them for a while. We plan to add another pen the same size next to it with a door in between them.

2. Feed

Contrary to popular belief (like Mountain Man thought) goats do NOT eat anything and everything. They are browsers- not grazers and they are very picky eaters. Ours will NOT eat off of the ground. If the food falls on the ground it stays on the ground, my friends.

There are different options that you can feed your goats:

  • hay (alfalfa, bermuda, blend)
  • grain
  • pellets (alfalfa, bermuda, blend)

Our goats only get alfalfa hay. Once we start milking them we will grow our own barley grass in trays to give them at their milking stations, or mix our own ration of grains. I would not feed our goats the grain from the feed store. NOT EVEN AN OPTION.

We choose to feed our girls straight alfalfa hay. Goats need the long stems that are in hay to aid in digestion. If you decide on using the pellets then you will need to supplement with some sort of hay/grass. For now (until we find a better source) we buy 50lb compressed alfalfa hay bales from Tractor Supply. They run around 18 bucks a bale. They last for a good while and the goats LOVE them. Like for real, they ask for it in the morning “Mooooooom- mooooooooom.” Which totally means “bring me some alfalfa hay or else I will plot my escape where you have to chase me down all day.” Or something like that…

A goats diet is not difficult at all. We feed the goats alfalfa hay and garden scraps. Pippy LOVES her some banana peels and Lilly loves her some greens.

3. Housing

Another common misconception is that goats need a big ‘ol barn. While that would be super awesome it isn’t necessary. Our girls won’t have a barn until spring time rolls around.

Mountain Man built them a really cool house (from FREE supplies) with a door on it and we put a HUGE dog cage inside of it so we can lock them in. All sides and the top are covered except where the door is. Goats do need some air circulating throughout the night.

A lot of people just use a regular ‘ol dog house for their goats. Some people don’t even lock their goats up at night but we live in a rural area with predators so we lock ours up (and they are like my children, so….).

We use plain ‘ol straw for their bedding. Goats like to have clean bedding, so we give them a thin new layer every few days.

4. Minerals and Baking Soda

Goats need minerals. The end.

Totally kidding. We started with a red trace mineral block that costs about 12 bucks at our local feed store. ***Read the labels on the blocks- some are NOT for goats***

We offer it free choice. We keep it next to their hay in their pen.

We have had the mineral block for almost two months and we are not fans. It breaks apart after awhile. We will continue using it until we have their feeding station built.

Once the feeding station is built we will use loose minerals. It’s really just a personal preference!

We also offer baking soda free choice. This is to help aid in bloating. The ph in a goats rumen can become off balance. A goat knows when they need baking soda so leave it free choice.

5. Dewormer

Worms like LOVE goats. Period.  You have to do something to deter/remedy this. We like to use natural products over anything else around these parts. We use Molly’s Herbal Dewormer Kit. It comes with two different formulas. You use formula one once every 8 weeks*  and formula two once a week (on the weeks you don’t use formula one). It is an all natural powder. We mix ours with raw honey and the girls EAT. IT. UP.

*Note: you give formula one every 4 weeks until 6 months old.

Seriously. THIS IS THE BEST STUFF EVER (and it’s certified Organic)! I don’t know why people use the harsh chemical stuff. Nope. Don’t get it.

6. Hoof Trimmers

Last but not least you will need hoof trimmers. We bought THESE Shears off of Amazon. They work super duper great!

You will need to trim your goat’s hooves at least 4 times a year, if not more. Here is a great tutorial on hoof trimming.

That’s it! Now gather up your supplies and get ready for them babies (or adults)- whatever is coming to your home! Goats are seriously my favorite animal in the entire world. They talk to you, love on you, and demand attention!

Congrats on Your New Goats,


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