Best breed(s) for pets?

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Goatstar, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Goatstar

    Goatstar New Member

    3
    Sep 11, 2017
    My husband and I already have a farm with a horse and a donkey and are thinking about adding some goats. We do NOT plan to breed or milk them, we just want a few as pets and to help clear some additional land on our property and help with general brush control. We're thinking about getting 4 goats total- either 4 the same breed or 2 each of 2 breeds.

    What are the best breeds for this purpose? We love the pygmy goats, and were just at a farm yesterday that I think had alpine goats that were also adorable and very friendly. We definitely want friendly/social goats to become part of the family like our other animals. I'm also leaning heavily towards getting disbudded goats so we don't have to worry about horns (head butting, getting stuck in fences etc.).

    We've been thinking about 2 pygmies and 2 nubiens but would love to hear other suggestions. Thanks! :)
     
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  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you really want brush control, get full size goats.
     
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  3. New-goat-mom

    New-goat-mom Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2017
    Texas
    My goats are a a 75/25% Boer/Spanish and a 75/25% Nubian/Nigerian dwarf. And, well, Mr Coffee... No clue what he is. They are like big dogs. Dogs with horns and hooves. My absolute sweetest is the Boer cross and I keep hearing that is just the Boer personality. I would take 100 just like her. My Nubian cross is a bratty, spoiled, princess. I love her dearly, though. They all come when I call to them, love to cuddle, are really the best pets ever. I had my first 'head stuck in a fence' incident a few days ago and it was TERRIFYING. For me and her. So, while I am not a fan of disbudding, it certainly would have saved us from that. I am assuming yours will be babies? Mine were all in the 5 to 6 month range and had not really had any human interaction except feeding. They were scared death of me at first but it only took a couple of months before they were like lap puppies. Whatever you decide on, good luck! I know you are going to just fall in love!
     
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  4. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    The only thing I'd not recommend is Nubian because of their talkative nature. If noise doesn't bother you or the neighbors, I don't think it matters what breed for a pet-it matters more in individual goats' temperaments.
     
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  5. capracreek

    capracreek Well-Known Member

    471
    Apr 5, 2016
    Missouri
    I highly recommend pygmies or Nigerian dwarfs IF you like smaller, cute and cuddly. The way the hop around and entertain is so darn adorable. I prefer the small size so you have to decide which you prefer. Most people who want pets only seem to go for the dwarfs!
     
  6. ShireRidgeFarm

    ShireRidgeFarm Active Member

    807
    Sep 24, 2015
    Northern WV
    To be honest, I think any disbudded and well socialized goat will make a good pet. However, I do love Nigerian Dwarfs! They are cute, colorful, and more playful than other breeds (in my experience anyway.) They eat A LOT, even for their small size!

    Sent from my VS501 using Goat Forum mobile app
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  7. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    There are always those few out there that need a good pet home. I have two right now in fact.
    Pup is an Alpine/ Nubian wether, three years old, friendly gentle loves children... Too high strung to be happy as a pack goat. He needs room to run and a stable home that doesn't involve traveling.
    The second is a very small LaMancha doe. One year old. She's a healthy in your lap cuddle bug who just doesn't fit my breeding plans. I would like to see her in a non breeding pet home with Pup.
    Finding these goats helps them and helps the breeders.
    Just don't be taken in by unhealthy and uncared for animals.

    Sent from my LGL34C using Goat Forum mobile app
     
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  8. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    You do have to evaluate where you want to keep them. Know that not all horses and donkeys get along well, if at all with goats. If you go for the smaller goats, your fencing should be tight, with the smaller weave. I have nubians and none of them are "noisey". Get well socialized goats that have been with people since they were kids, and any breed should do well.
     
  9. catharina

    catharina Catharina

    Mar 16, 2016
    Northern California
    I don't have a breed preference but wanted to add a couple thoughts to the discussion. Most importantly, I wanted to be sure that you knew that sometimes donkeys really hate goats & will injure or even kill them...I knew someone who had this happen when she adopted 2 burros from the BLM. They killed 2 of her goats. & Our very first goats were given to us for free on the condition we come get them right away before the new donkey managed to injure them. On the other hand, some people use donkeys as guardians for their herds, so I guess it depends on the individual donkey.

    The other thing I wanted to mention was that, since you're not wanting milk but just pets, wethers (castrated males) are supposed to be the friendliest goats. They are also cheaper than does. It can be hard for breeders to find pet homes for all their males, so you might even be saving a couple lives by getting wethers. Wethers have no odors like bucks, & won't come loudly into heat every 3 weeks like does.

    If you happen to live near the San Francisco Bay Area, I have a very cute wether looking for a home... IMG_1037.JPG
     
  10. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    289
    Jul 11, 2017
    I have had friendly oberhaslis and Nigerians (and one not friendly Nigerian... not aggressive, just afraid of people) and I think the Nigerians are doing alright on the brush clearing despite their size. In general from what I've heard and my experience wethers tend to be better pets because they're super sweet and don't get as moody as does. Also, as mentioned, they tend to be cheaper and easier to come by.

    I've heard lamanchas are sweet and saanens are gentle. Personally I think it comes down to the goat's experiences with people how trusting they will be and how long, if ever, it takes to get close to them or if they're lap goats from the start.

    One huge rookie mistake we made with our oberhasli wether was pushing on his head when playing with him as a kid. This encouraged him to headbutt people as a 140lb adult because he was just playing (wethers can also be more playful because they never mature). This was when I was around 9 years old and kids (both species) like to climb on things like logs and the huge pile of gravel we were working on at the time. Not-so-little Jack took that opportunity to become "king of the mountain" by butting me off.

    Fortunately the worst thing that happened was a few bruises, usually from his scurs, not the ground. I've never heard of anyone being able to completely train this out of an adult. Once he realizes it's fun and people get a kick out of the tiny kid trying to play it can totally change your experience. I'm not saying put them down, but things are a little different.

    Whatever breed you choose, just be sure to get them from good people don't get suckered into goats with serious health issues. Permanent, somewhat mild disbilities like a missing eye or a funny leg is one thing. Contagious diseases like CAE, Johnes, and uncontrolled parasites can wreak havoc on your goat herd, your bank account, and possibly you and your other animals. Recently my little bottle baby came down with cryptosporidiosis and it proceeded to spread to our dogs and, because it isn't usually killed off by the classic soap and water, family as well.

    Long-winded rant aside, I'm sure your goats will be fine given the research you're doing. Good luck!
     
  11. Goatstar

    Goatstar New Member

    3
    Sep 11, 2017
    Thanks for all of the responses! To answer a few questions:
    • We will be building a separate area for the goats. They will be adjacent to but not in the same paddock as the horse and donkey. Also, the donkey is a mini and was bred and raised on a farm that also breeds dogs and goats, so she should already be decently socialized- but again, I'm planning on keeping them separate (I've also heard stories of goats eating horses' tails- definitely not something I want to happen!).
    • We will also be doing our research and be careful about where we get the goats and make sure they are all appropriately tested/disease free, socialized etc.
    • I have heard wethers make good pets so will look into those- don't really have a strong preference for does/wethers, just know that I don't want any bucks :) I'm assuming it's OK to mix does and wethers together? Or is it better to have all of 1 sex or the other?
    • I'm not terribly concerned about neighbors and noise, we have 5.5 acres and are adjacent to the highway (which has a tall fence separating the highway from the adjoining properties) so there's already a pretty constant, loud-ish white noise from the cars. The only neighbors that might possibly hear the goats are a couple hundred feet through the woods, and honestly they have some rather loud dogs, so, payback I say, haha (and no I'm not concerned about their dogs getting to the goats, our whole property is fenced and I have never seen them come onto our side in the 5 years we've lived here- they just get loud when they bark)
    We have a big regional fair coming up in a few weeks and I plan to talk to some breeders there about goats- definitely doing all of our research before committing! We're probably still a year or 2 away from getting any but I like to learn as much as I can before making any decisions.

    Catharina that's a very cute goat but we're on the opposite coast ;)
     
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  12. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    It's fine to have a wether and a doe together, it's just that the wether will be flirting with and jumping the doe every three weeks from October to January every year...
     
  13. Idahogoats

    Idahogoats Active Member

    192
    Sep 5, 2016
    Lenore
    I have 3 wethers, two Nigerian and a lamancha, alpine combo. Little Bunnie is a Nigerian Pygmy. Leo and Bunnie are buddies and Bruce and Josh are brothers. They are in picture. They all get along great and do well with weeds. We love them all!
     
  14. K Gemmill

    K Gemmill Member

    52
    Aug 22, 2017
    Bellingham Washington
     
  15. K Gemmill

    K Gemmill Member

    52
    Aug 22, 2017
    Bellingham Washington
    I recently purchased two 10 week old Nigerian dwarfs weathers debudded. I absolutely love these boys they follow me out of fenced area 2-3 times a day to graze rain or shine. Their easy pets and love to be brushed and talked to. Best of luck
     
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  16. Idahogoats

    Idahogoats Active Member

    192
    Sep 5, 2016
    Lenore
  17. Idahogoats

    Idahogoats Active Member

    192
    Sep 5, 2016
    Lenore
     
  18. ForeverBoerd

    ForeverBoerd Member

    33
    May 3, 2017
    I'm my experience personality is more dependent on how the goat was raised than what breed it is. We have boers who all think they're dogs because we interact with them constantly and from a young age. I would get full sized goats if you're really going for brush control. Does and wethers are totally fine together. Wethers may mount the does or each other from time to time, but does do that when they're in heat too. Disbudding has its pros and cons, the main pros being less danger of heads getting caught in fences, less chance of the goats hurting each other (likely on accident), and less danger to people if the goats ever do become aggressive. Cons are that horns are an important mechanism for heat regulation and getting rid of them inhibits the goat's ability to maintain a healthy temperature in hot climates, and horns are also the only defense a goat has against predators, so if a stray dog or coyote happens to get in the pen or if the goat gets out, it has virtually no way to defend itself. Have fun learning more about goats! I remember how excited I was when I got my first ones!
     
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  19. Goatstar

    Goatstar New Member

    3
    Sep 11, 2017
    Thanks for all the feedback everyone! We're having fun learning about them. We went to our local fair over the weekend and saw goats there and are just smitten with them :)