Saturday, February 20, 2010

Urban Goat-Keeping Part 1

This is the beginning of a series of "articles" I will be writing and posting to this blog. Bear with me as I am by no means a professional author. :) I just want to provide some handy information, tips, and photos for those interested in keeping goats in a more urban setting. Yes, it IS possible! (We've kept goats in the city for five years!) Most of the information shared can be applied to any setting, whether it be urban or rural.

First off, it is very important to find out the regulations for your county. This, I believe, can be found easily by looking up your county on the internet or calling them up to ask. I only know of the rules within Multnomah county; you may own up to three miniature goats without a permit.

Once you've established that it is okay to own goats in your area, do talk with your neighbors about it. For the most part, people we've dealt with enjoy our goats immensely. We've been blessed with great neighbors! :)

Space: For goats to be happy and healthy, they do need space to move around and would greatly appreciate toys to play on. A fenced pen of about 20 x 20 feet is adequate for two miniature goats. If you have more room, all the better! If not, this size will do.

Fencing: Sturdy fencing of adequate height is crucial - not only to keep your prized roses and garden safe ;) but for the goats safety as well. Stray/wandering dogs at the very least, can do much damage to a little goat. Many people I've known have lost their goats to dog attacks. Our preferred fencing is 5 ft. "No Climb" Horse Fencing (easily found at many feed stores, I think even Lowes and Home Depot stock fencing of this type). This fencing looks best (and seems to last longer) when attached to treated wood posts but also works just as well when attached to T-Posts. We've also used a combination of wooden posts and T-Posts and that worked very well. It looks nice and is durable. I recommend spacing the posts 6 to maybe 8 feet apart.


Goats are not too terribly hard on fencing but you will find that they love to rub alongside it (especially in the spring when their winter coats are shedding). This can be a little rough on the fence-line so I suggest doing the best you can to make that fencing durable. It's no fun constantly making repairs!

Well, I guess that's all for now - more to come soon!


Suzanne said...

what about goat poop? how often and how much? ever since we got our 2 chickens, we have been inundated with chicken poop! They poop every 2 minutes it seems. Surely, nothing, not even goats, can poop as much as a chicken!

The Nerdy Housewife said...

Hey, I read all your Urban Goat Keeping articles, and I wanted to thank you for them. There was a REALLY CHEAP pygmy dam on Craigslist....and you talked me out of it because frankly, you're right about getting what you pay for and I'd have no idea if she had CE or CAL.

Thanks for the articles, I really appreciate it!

Suzanne said...

I am also glad you didn't go with the "Craigslist goat". You may have been put in a very difficult position of paying high vet bills or putting it down. It's very important to put a lot of time and energy (or find a breeder who does) into the care of the goat as a baby to ensure it will have a long and happy life.

I bought 2 baby pygmy goats a few months ago from the Capriola farm, and they are as happy and healthy as can be! This is because so much went into making sure that they were healthy even before they were born (mother's health, etc.).