Whether you already have a few goats or you are just thinking of getting a couple, you’ve come to the right place. This Beginner’s Guide to 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 becoming a goat owner. 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 about goats.
There are more than 450 articles on this site, and 120 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.
- 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
Getting Your Goats
These are things you need to think about or consider before buying goats or before buying more.
- Choosing livestock for your homestead
- How many goats to start with
- Do you need a buck — or two?
- Urban goats
- Quarantining new animals
- Debunking 9 ill-conceived notions about pet 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.
- 7 things goats need
- Sheltering your goats
- One is the loneliest number
- When goats attack — each other!
- Farm animal psychology
- Rotational grazing
- Rotational grazing: How do you DO it?
- 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
Time for Kids!
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
- 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
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!