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I have considering getting goats as pets. The information that I’ve found online has been mainly quite useful, but a lot of sites have been giving contrasting views on things like feeding and the noise that goats make- I have some questions to ask before my family can seriously consider goat care.

We would probably get dwarf or pygmy goats, as lack of space is an issue. They would just be kept as pets.

The main thing that I am confused about is what to feed goats. If we got a couple of wethers, would a diet of hay and access to some land (with long grass, weeds etc.) be okay food-wise? Most people seem to feed their goats grain or goat mix, but it was unclear whether this is instead of or in addition to the hay. I was also confused about using concentrates. I don't know what these are, but some people said that they were necessary for all goats, while others said that wethers in particular don't need any. :/

Another thing which I was unsure about is the amount of noise that goats make. This is definitely a concern for us. While the occasional noise would be okay, constant bleating would mean that we couldn't keep goats at all. If only two goats are kept in proper conditions, would they be noisy? Would they bleat every day when they were hungry?

One more thing- I actually live up a mountain in Switzerland, so it can get very cold (It gets below 0 degrees Fahrenheit most winters). How can I make sure that my goats will thrive in these temperatures? As far as I can tell, it might be hard to ventilate the shelter (probably a shed or some large dog houses if that's not possible) while keeping the goats warm.

Wow, I wrote a lot! XD Any answers would be much appreciated. Thank you! :)
 

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I am pretty new to goats myself but I do know some because I have a Pygmy and a dwarf. I let them out of their pen to play and run around with my children so they can get quite loud when they think they need attention, but they will stop after 5-10 min and give up. I believe most people who are talking about homemade grains and such are kidding or have dairy or meat goats. Wethers are males so no milk and little food. Mine run loose in the weeds and eat whatever that want, hay is a necessity and in winter when their are no weeds they need food, alfalfa pellets seems to be most popular for wethers. And they can definitely withstand cold, nights here get below zero. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful, I'm sure others know more!
 

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Hello and WELCOME~!
As far as noise... all animals will make some noise when they are settling in and when they are used to a set schedule for feeding and for interaction.
I would suggest that if you do go with Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf, getting kids(weanlings) may be more stressful as far as noise level goes, they will cry for at least a minimum of a week due to being weaned and away from their moms and their herd, older goats that are 4 months to a year are noisy as they adjust but it doesn't seem to take as long.
Wethers are also a better pet, does will go into heat every month and some can be very vocal during this time.
Housing for 2 pets can be both warm and ventilated though like you I thought it was a contradictory thing :) Ventilation on a small wooden utilty/garden shed is up high, above them so there are no draughts across them at floor level, a small 6x6 box inside can allow them a place to cuddle together for warmth in winter and also provide an elevated table for them to jump up onto as goats like to be up high... even if it is only 3-4 feet above the ground. Having a small shed also will allow you space to feed hay during bad weather, the goats are protected from snow, wind and rain and they can eat comfortably.
A large dog house with proper fencing can also provide shelter but IMO, it's just a place to sleep and would have no space to allow them to eat without coming out into bad weather to stand at a hay rack.
I personally feed my bucks, wether and does the same feed... I have 12 Nigerian and pygmy/nigerian goats and it just isn't cost effective for me to have different feeds for each goat, I do adjust amounts though according to their purpose... breeding bucks get a grain ration along with hay during winter as do my dry does and wether, during the growing season I only provide hay in the mornings as well as loose minerals as they have free access to fields to browse through. My growing kids and does in milk get a grain ration according to their rate of growth as well as production level. Kids get a grain ration for optimum growth until they are 18 months old.
When I say "grain" I am meaning that I feed a food specific for goats, it consists of a pellet with a small bit of crimped corn and oats mixed throughout and the loose mineral I have in feeders free choice is one made for cattle but meets my goats specific needs for trace mineral intake that my vegetation and feed doesn't provide.
Remembering that you would keep them as pets and provide the same level of attention and interaction that you would give to a dog would help keep them content enough that you shouldn't have any problems with them being noisy.... oh and goats are very smart, given the chance they can learn to do tricks with training. As far as the weather you have, it does get very cold here in winter, goats can withstand cold temps but cannot take a wet cold, they need to be where they stay dry to be able to stay warm. Summer heat can also be an issue if they don't have a shaded area to be out of the sun... my pastures and barn do not have the protection of trees to provide shade so my goats have adapted to this by making use of the shade I provide in pens with a tarp over the fence and they have learned to go to pasture in the late afternoon when the sun isn't high. Goats are great in the way that they adapt to their environments :)

Over all the basics needed:
Good quality hay such as that for horses
Water and clean pails
Loose minerals
Secure pen with shelter
Your time to ensure they are happy and healthy, goats may be livestock but they have personality unlike any other livestock animal that thrives on attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you both for the information! :)

We don't know yet whether we would get kids or older goats, but looking at what you've said getting older goats would probably be a better choice. Saying that, though, being noisy for a week or so probably wouldn't cause too many problems- I was thinking more of long term noise that the neighbours would object to.
A small shed is definitely the ideal housing, we need to check first to make sure that we don't need planning permission to build one. :p Would an air vent be okay, or do you need to have a window?
That makes more sense, thank you! What I might do is feed hay and let them eat the weeds most if the year, and in the winter give them hay and alfalfa pellets (or something along those lines).
Another question- if I fed them like this, would I need to provide loose minerals all year round? How exactly do you give them the minerals?
 

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Minerals are a must all year round. I was giving mine free choice but they never seemed to touch it! They say that goats will eat it if they need it, I just leave is in a dish not too much bc you have to change it an make it fresh often as well or they won't eat it. Every once in a while I sneak it on a piece of bread to make sure they get something. It looks like sand lol
 

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goats make noise and if you get goats you will need to feed them goat feed but don't feed a wither sweet feed. any little goats need a whole lot of space. hope this helps.................
 

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I have considering getting goats as pets. The information that I've found online has been mainly quite useful, but a lot of sites have been giving contrasting views on things like feeding and the noise that goats make- I have some questions to ask before my family can seriously consider goat care.

We would probably get dwarf or pygmy goats, as lack of space is an issue. They would just be kept as pets.

I have Nigerians, and let me just say I ADORE them. They are my pets, with a purpose. Be sure that you buy them from a farm that SOCIALIZES them, because even bottle babies can be standoffish if they aren't given enough love.

The main thing that I am confused about is what to feed goats. If we got a couple of wethers, would a diet of hay and access to some land (with long grass, weeds etc.) be okay food-wise? Most people seem to feed their goats grain or goat mix, but it was unclear whether this is instead of or in addition to the hay. I was also confused about using concentrates. I don't know what these are, but some people said that they were necessary for all goats, while others said that wethers in particular don't need any. :/

Some people chose to feed grain to their wethers, but it puts them at a higher risk for Urinary Calculi. UC is caused when a wether's diet is unbalanced. For a wether's diet to be correct, they need twice as mucn calcium as phosphorus in their diet. Usually just good old hay is balanced perfectly in that way, so if you're feeding high quality grass hay, they may not need anything else besides fresh water and loose minerals. If their grass hay is one high in phosphorus (like Timothy) they may need a tiny bit of alfalfa pellets to get their calcium back up.

I learned this lesson the very hard way. I sold two wethers, who were given free-choice grain and limited hay. They both developed stones within 3 weeks. On the other hand, the wethers here who get grass hay and 1/2 a cup of alfalfa pellets a day, never have had a problem. :) Hope that helped. I have more info on it on my website below, in the goat care section.

Another thing which I was unsure about is the amount of noise that goats make. This is definitely a concern for us. While the occasional noise would be okay, constant bleating would mean that we couldn't keep goats at all. If only two goats are kept in proper conditions, would they be noisy? Would they bleat every day when they were hungry?

I give my goats free-choice hay (as much as they want to eat) which is healthiest for them and keeps them quiet. You will have to expect a little noise at first as they get used to their environment, but after that they should quiet. Make sure your area is zoned for goats. Tell the breeder you are buying from that you need quiet goats. Quietness is sometimes hereditary, and it's usually clear early on if a kid is going to be quiet natured or not.

One more thing- I actually live up a mountain in Switzerland, so it can get very cold (It gets below 0 degrees Fahrenheit most winters). How can I make sure that my goats will thrive in these temperatures? As far as I can tell, it might be hard to ventilate the shelter (probably a shed or some large dog houses if that's not possible) while keeping the goats warm.

LOTS LOTS LOTS of hay!! MAke sure they have the best shelter they can, and fill it with plenty of bedding. Goats (especially hardy little Nigerians and Pygmies) tend to fair pretty well in the cold.

Wow, I wrote a lot! XD Any answers would be much appreciated. Thank you! :)
My answers are in red. :thumb:
 
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