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Three things to consider when designing your goats’ space

Honey, where will the goats go?

3 things to consider when designing your goat space:

Ensure they have adequate space

  • A goat’s indoor space varies from 6 ft2to 25ft2 per animal. It’s important that any amount of indoor space be dry, easy to clean, and well ventilated.
  • An additional 25ft2 of outside space per animal for exercise is also recommended. When considering the outside space, remember this is simply for fresh air and exercise, not the goats’ sole source of forage.
  • When planning and constructing penning, plan a space that can be easily divided.  If a goat or two needs to be in their own space, either because of injury or illness, having a space ready to easily convert will be helpful.

Prevent excessive bullying and promote good herd dynamics.

  • Since goats are herd animals, they typically like being in the company of other goats. There are goats that happily live alone as their human’s only goat child, but this dynamic is the exception and not the rule.
  • As the number of animals increases in any given space, so do the complexities of their herd hierarchy. These changes sometime manifest with one goat getting picked on and harassed.
  • Ensure there are multiple feeding stations and water sources. Feeding space of 8-16 linear inches is recommended per animal.
    • When feeding hay pellets in bowls or feed pans, the general rule is a bowl for each animal plus an additional
    • If using hay racks, consider installing them on multiple walls so the goats can distance themselves to eat.
  • Design both indoor and outdoor space so that there are no dead ends where an individual goat can become trapped and feel threatened.

 Provide enrichment for fun

  • The outdoor space is a wonderful place to provide enrichment
  • Playground equipment offers great inspiration for creative goat play structure ideas.
  • Other simple structures ideas are picnic tables, large wooden spools, elevated dog beds, mounting blocks, or lounge chairs.
  • Consider adding an area for self-grooming too, a stiff broom head mounted vertically on a fence post will soon attract them to scratch that unreachable itch.

No matter how big or small your goat herd may be, don’t hesitate to call EquidDoc Veterinary Services (508-885-4205) or email office@equiddocvet.com to schedule an appointment for a health check, annual vaccines, parasite management and discuss how to improve your goat’s environment.