Saturday, June 21, 2014

Things you need to know before getting fainting goats for pets (first time owners with no prior goat experience).

I'm writing this due to every year I get people who want just one goat for a pet (without other goats for companions), want a pet buck, or want them just for "entertainment". This post hopefully will serve to show why the following isn't acceptable.

"I just want ONE goat".

Goats are herd animals, while they may not seem as attached to the hip as sheep are, goats will get very upset when they realize they are the only goat in the pasture/barn and will go seek their buddies. A single goat is a very unhappy goat and far more likely to get into trouble due to boredom. I will not sell single goats to people without other goats.

"I have chickens/sheep/pigs/horses/mules/donkeys/ducks/turkeys/geese/dogs/cats/cattle to keep it company".

The above are still not a goat. Plus fainting goats can be more prone to being hurt due to the fact they stiffen up and fall over when startled, and could easily be stepped on by the big horses or kicked. Pigs and sheep could knock them around as well. Birds are not goats and do not make appropriate "buddies" for them. Sure they can interact with each other when there is two or more goats, but don't make them the goat's sole source of companionship. 

"I want a fainting goat so my kids/grandkids/neighbors kids can come scare it and/or can I come and scare your goats."

Fainting goats stiffen up and fall over due to their myotonic condition. They don't actually faint. As they get older, most learn to control it and won't fall over. Chasing them rarely serves to make them faint, all it does is makes them wild and not want to be near you. Mine faint the best when I have treats and they all come running TOWARDS me for them. So under no conditions will I sell mine to someone who wants to chase them around all the time or have people come scare them. 

Seen on Craigslist: "Friendly billy goat, good with kids, need to get rid of because he's getting too pushy."

Okay, first off bucks (intact males) DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I don't care what your friend/neighbor/grandparent/etc said, no intact male livestock makes a good pet. They are males. They have a penis, and testicles, and testosterone and they want to BREED. When denied sexual companionship, they can get very aggressive, and try to breed YOU or your KIDS. Which isn't a fun experience from what I have heard. You wouldn't get a ram/boar/stallion/bull/etc for a pet, don't get a buck. Now castrated male goats (wethers), make wonderful pets. Because they do not have testosterone and do not want to breed. So check and make sure there is no dangly parts between the rear legs of the male goat!

"I want them to eat our lawn so I don't have to mow."

If that's the case, then get sheep. Goats are browsers like deer, which means they LOVE burdock, thistle, nettle, poison ivy/oak, brush and tree leaves. They will eat grass, but only as a last option. So your lawn would look like a war zone of high and short grass and desecrated trees and shrubs. Now if your pasture is mainly browse or weeds, then you'll have some super happy goats.

"Horns are so cool looking, I want mine to have them."

Horns are a literal pain in the butt. They will get their heads stuck, they will bully each other, they can accidently hurt you or your children and learn to intimidate people with them over time. Horns are never a good option. Fainting goats can't defend themselves either (since they stiffen up and fall over when scared) so that's a moot point as well. Disbudding is done quickly and safely and everyone is far more happier in the long run.

"I can feed them anything, right?"

Goats are super picky. They will refuse hay that has spent 2 seconds on the ground. They will not eat nasty, moldy hay (which will kill them), nor do they eat cans or other objects. Since they are so picky, they generally have less issues getting sick from bad feed or foodstuffs. But no, do not feed them "anything", the goat will get sick and you'll have a big vet bill.

"Goats don't need copper, just like sheep."

Goats DO need copper. Let me repeat, goats DO NEED COPPER. For whatever reasons, feed companies are STILL producing *sheep and goat* feed and blocks which do not have enough copper. Never feed these to goats, you will cause severe deficiencies. Get an actual goat feed (check the label to make sure there is copper) OR a calf starter which is very similar and has copper. 

Goats make great pets, they aren't high maintenance if properly cared for and a joy to have. BUT they must be cared for just like any animal so if you don't want to make that commitment, please don't get them. They will be unhappy and it's not fair to them at all. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.