What's Needed To Keep Goats

Funny story, my family and I live next door to a meat processing plant.  So, every now and then we get asked if we can keep the occasional animal until processing day. We've got several barns on the property and although, the fencing isn't the greatest it will USUALLY do the trick!

That is, until we tried to house our first goat for 4 days.  He escaped 3 different times..... until we finally got every tiny hole covered.


Goats require adequate land for grazing or foraging and some heavy-duty fencing, but other than that, raising goats is no more difficult than any other farm animal.

Goat housing is simple: Just keep them dry and draft-free and they are happy. A three-sided structure is enough for mild climates. It’s helpful to have a small stall for isolating a sick or injured goat or for a pregnant goat to give birth. Packed dirt will suffice for a floor in the goat house, but it should be covered with a thick layer of bedding: wood shavings (not cedar), straw, or waste hay. Since hay is goats’ primary food and they tend to waste up to one-third of it, you can pitch the waste hay into the bedding area each day, saving money. Keep bedding clean and dry, spreading new layers on top and removing and replacing all of it as needed.

Fencing is a little more complex. Goats need a very strong fence that they can’t climb over, knock down, or otherwise escape from. If there is so much as a tiny hole, they will find a way to get out. They use their lips to explore their world, so if a gate latch is loose, they can wiggle it open with their lips and escape. They also chew almost everything—rope, electrical wiring, and so on, are all fair game. Goats can jump and climb too, so your goat house should have a climbing-proof roof.

A smooth high-tensile electrified wire is ideal if you want to take an existing fence and make it goat-proof. You can use a nonelectric fence at least 4 feet high but aim for 5 feet for active breeds such as Nubians. Brace corners and gates on the outside so the goats can’t climb up. You can use wooden fencing, stock panels, a chain-link fence, or you can combine a wooden rail fence with woven wire.