5 Pointers You Should Remember If You Want to Raise Goats
Fri, December 9, 2022

5 Pointers You Should Remember If You Want to Raise Goats


Goats are traditionally seen as a farm animal and are a favorite in petting zoos, explained Lianne McLeod, DVM, of The Spruce Pets, a website dedicated to publishing content on pets. Goats make wonderful pets and companions due to their curious and friendly nature. There are a variety of breeds available, but the dwarf or pygmy ones are the breeds commonly kept as pets. There are more than 300 distinct breeds of goats. These animals are some of the oldest domesticated species around the world, with people using them for their milk, meat, skin, and fur.

Global Goat Production and Goat Milk Production Statistics

B Skapetas and V Bampidis of international journal Livestock Research for Rural Development (LRRD) found there were 597,151,916 heads in Asia in 2013, up from 2000’s 458,521,280. Asia contributed 59.38% to the total goat population, showing an increase of 30.23% during the period 2000-2013. Africa contributed 35% to the world’s goat population, with 351,978,256 heads in 2013, up from 2000’s 236,852,594 heads. The percentage showed a 48.61 increase during the forecast period.

Europe had 18,940,725 heads in 2000, which dipped to 16,487,290 in 2013 (12.95% change), contributing 1.65% to the world’s goat population. In the EU (European Union), the region had 14,509,183 goats in 2000 and 12,411,308 heads in 2013 (14.46% change), contributing 1.23% to the overall goat population. In the Americas, it had 36,013,781 heads in 2013, up from 2000’s 34,921,55 (3.13%), contributing 3.58%. 

In Oceania, there were 3,972,060 heads in 2013, a slight increase from 2,396,231 in 2000. The region contributed 0.39% to the global goat population, showing a 65.76% increase in the number of goats. At the global level, the number of goats rose by 33.79% (751,632,381 heads in 2000 versus 1,005,603,003 in 2013), demonstrating a 100% increase each year.

In Asia, China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had the most number of goats. Nigeria, Sudan, and Kenya had the largest goat population in the African region. In the Americas, the largest goat population existed in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. In the European continent, Greece, Spain, Russia, and France boasted the largest goat population.

Globally, goat milk production during the period 1990-2012 rose by 39.2% with an average increase of 3.27% each year (9,980,102 in 1990 versus 12,819,288 in 2000 versus 17,846,118 in 2012). Asia was the largest producer of goat milk, contributing 58.35 % to the total goat milk production. Africa contributed 24.14% to the total goat milk production, followed by Europe (14.21%), the EU (10.80%), the Americas (3.31%), and Oceania (0.002%).

The largest goat milk producers were India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Turkey. In the African region, the largest producers were Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Kenya, and Algeria. In the Americas, the leaders in goat milk production were Jamaica, Mexico, and Brazil. France, Spain, and Greece were the largest producers of goat milk in Europe.

The Netherlands was the leader in the annual milk production per doe (798.4 kg), followed by France (686.6 kg), Spain (352.1 kg), and Israel (304.8 kg). At a global level, milk yield of dairy goats was 90.4 kg.

US Goat and Kids Inventory

In the United States, goat and kid inventories on January 1, 2020 totaled to 2.66 million, up 1% from 2019’s 2.622 million head, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), a principal agency of the US Federal Statistical System and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US’s federal executive department.

Breeding goat inventory was at 2.18 million head, showing a 2% increase from 2019’s 2.14 million head. Kid crop— which refers to kids born the previous year— was at 1.64 million head in 2019, an increase from 1.635 million head in 2018.

5 Pointers to Keep In Mind When Raising A Goat

1.     Health

You can get your goats from a reputable breeder that practices good preventative medicine. Visit the breeder to see what sort of conditions the goats are living. You can ask to see test results for CAE (Caprine arthritis encephalitis) and other diseases. At this point, think about your expectations and whether you can meet the needs of your pet goat.

You should also consider routine preventative treatment and vaccinations for worms and other parasites. Goats are susceptible to various infectious and chronic diseases like Caseous lymphadentitis (CL), Coccidiosis, bladder stones, and more.

2.     Legal Implications

Check your local area’s regulations to ensure that goats can be kept within the city’s limits. There may be restrictions on their size or weight. Some municipalities have regulations on how close an owner’s goats can be kept to dwellings or neighboring properties. If you live close to your neighbors, ask them if they are tolerant of goats, which can be extremely loud.

3.     Behavior

Goats should not be kept as solitary animals since they are herd animals. Opt to get a pair (or more) of goats. Goats are best suited in farms, rural areas, or homes with acreage. They can be trained to carry your equipment and gear on hikes as they can carry 20 to 30% of their body weight and have minimal environmental impact, stated Lauren Arcuri of The Spruce, a website on helping readers make their homes better.

Like any other pet, goats need attention from their owners so consider who will look after them if you’re away. Goats love to be petted by their owners and will even eat food from your hands. They even get jealous if you favor one goat!

4.     Housing

Smaller breeds of goats like pygmies need at least 135 square feet per goat. Nubians and other larger goat breeds need twice as the former per goat. The square footage of the space should be multiplied by the number of goats you plan to own considering they need ample room to move around. Fencing should be at least four to five feet high since goats are agile and good jumpers.

Housing should have areas that provide part sun and part shade. A draft-free shelter or barn is key to protect your goats from the wind. Windows should be higher than the head of the tallest goat when standing on its hind feet. 

5.     Food

Goats are picky eaters, preferring to consume unsoiled food or that have not fallen on the floor. Use a feeder that is attached above the ground. Your goats will eat flowers, grass, weeds, and shrubs in your garden. However, a standard backyard will not have enough foliage to supply your goat’s entire diet.

Supplement their diet with grains, greens, and hay. Keep your goats wat from roses and other toxic plants such as azaleas, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and ferns. They will also need protein grain and supplemental minerals, particularly copper. Don’t forget to give your goats plenty of fresh water.

Feel free to consult an exotics veterinarian on the best food for your goats. Don’t assume that food products labeled for other barn animals are good for them.

Goats are interesting and useful pets since you can use for milk or meat production. They are social animals and will love to be showered with attention. Keeping goats involves long-term commitment so be prepared to invest your time and money in raising them.