Whether you already raise goats or you are thinking of getting a couple, you’ve come to the right place. This Beginner’s Guide to Raising Goats includes links to some of Thrifty Homesteader’s most useful goat posts. Caring for goats is not difficult or time consuming, but you do need up-to-date information.
There are three basic challenges to raising goats. First, most of us grew up with dogs and cats and have zero experience with prey animals, which have a completely different personality than the animals we’ve always known and loved.
Second, goats are ruminants, which most of us have had zero experience with. Ruminants have four stomachs, and that kind of changes everything we think we know about mammals. The rumen is a finicky thing and far easier to upset than a single stomach.
Finally, most research on goats that was done prior to this century was only done on the genetics. We knew very little about goat nutrition or parasites until the early part of this century. Unfortunately, a lot of that old information from 20 or more years ago is still alive and well on the Internet, which leads to a ton of confusion when people are trying to learn how to raise goats.
There are more than 550 articles on this site, and 175 of them are about goats, so feel free to browse by clicking on “goats” from the drop-down index menu on the right. Or you can get started with these posts that contains answers to the most common questions I receive.
Table of Contents
- buck — male goat
- buckling — a male baby goat
- doe — female goat
- doeling — a female baby goat
- kid — baby goat
- sire — father goat
- dam — mother goat
Read more: 500+ Goat Names for Does, Bucks, and Groups
Getting Your Goats
These are things you need to think about or consider before buying goats or before you decide to go from goat owner to raising goats.
- Choosing livestock for your homestead
- Goats vs Cows: The Ultimate Comparison
- How many goats to start with
- Do you need a buck — or two?
- Quarantining new animals
- Debunking 9 ill-conceived notions about pet goats
- Pet Goats: 8 Things You Need to Know
- 12 Fun Facts About Goats
- How Long Do Goats Live?
- Dairy Goats in the City
- Pet Goats in the City
You may also want to check out my podcast episode, Thinking of getting goats? where I cover the basics of what should be considered before taking the plunge and buying goats.
Choosing a Goat Breed
Choosing a goat breed is a very personal decision. Everyone has different goals, various amounts of land, and different housing. The following articles and podcast episodes will give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of different breeds and help you figure out which one might be right for you.
- Choosing a Goat Breed for Your Farm
- Which Dairy Goat Breed is Best for You?
- Alpine Goats
- Angora Goats
- Cashmere Goats
- Experimental Goats
- Fainting Goats (aka Myotonic Goats
- Kinder Goats
- Kiko Goats
- LaMancha Goats
- Mini Dairy Goats
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats
- Nubian Goats and Cheesemaking
- Oberhasli Goats
- Pygmy Goats
- Saanen Goats
- Sable Goats
- San Clemente Island Goats
- Toggenburg Goats
Goat Care Basics
Food, shelter, and health are some basic concerns of all goat owners, and these articles give you the latest information and research on what goats need and how to keep them healthy.
- 8 things goats need
- Sheltering your goats
- One is the loneliest number
- When goats attack — each other!
- How to Tame a Goat
- Farm animal psychology
- Rotational grazing
- Pasture Management for Parasite Control
- Goat Minerals: What, Why, How?
- Do goats need baking soda?
- Goats and Copper Deficiency
- Is copper oxide really safe for goats?
- Diarrhea in goats
- Constipation in goats
- Learning to milk a goat
- Goats in winter
Goat Birth and Raising Goats
If you want milk, your female goats (called “does”) have to get pregnant. The following articles will get you started, but if you want to learn more about goats giving birth, check out my beginner’s guide to goat birthing for more information.
- Kidding in winter
- Raising Baby Goats: Essential Tips for Success
- Conducting a newborn check in goat kids
- Castration options for goat kids
- How many kids can a doe feed?
- Dam-raised vs. bottle: Socialization
- Basics of bottle-feeding goat kids
- When to Wean Baby Goats
- When, Why, and How to Dry Up a Dairy Goat
Additional Resources for Raising Goats
Sometimes, even after reading everything you can find, you still have questions. That’s when it’s helpful to have another person to ask! Nigerian Dwarf Goats is my online forum filled with friendly goat owners who are happy to help others and talk goats. Thrifty Homesteading is our Facebook group where we talk about all things related to homesteading, including goats and other livestock. Feel free to click on over and say hi!
Click here to visit our Amazon store, which includes a list of things goats need.
Are your goats getting the nutrients they need?
Test your knowledge of goat nutrition. Take my free quiz and find out how much you know!