Miniature Goats

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Meeky, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Meeky

    Meeky New Member

    3
    Dec 13, 2016
    Hello,
    My family owns a property in the mountains, about three hours drive from our home. As such we are only able to visit it a few days every month.
    We were wondering if it is possible to keep two or three miniature goats on the property, seeing as we would not be able to provide daily care.
    The fenced area that the goats would be kept in is just over an acre in size and has foliage and grass for grazing. A clean, shallow stream (only a few feet deep) runs through the property so fresh water would be constantly available (we would provide a water trough as well, but the stream ensures that the goats may still drink even if their water trough is contaminated while we are away). We would be able to provide shelter (cleaned monthly), climbing equipment, and an automatic feeder for grain. It may get quite cold in winter.
    Would it be possible to keep miniature goats in these conditions, or do they require closer supervision and care?
    Thanks.
     
  2. catharina

    catharina Catharina

    Mar 16, 2016
    Northern California
    Sounds iffy--if one got sick or hurt you wouldn't know. Have you thought of having someone else local keep their goats on the property? Then you'd have brush control without risking goats' safety or health. People like me, who have little land, are often very happy to have their feed bills reduced in exchange for weed or brush control.

    Even if you can arrange for someone to look in on your goats for you regularly, I'd still think minis might not be the best choice because of dogs & other predators. You might want to look into a couple of the more "wild" breeds like Arapawa or San Clemente Island Goats. They know how to take care of themselves & have big horns. San Clementes rarely have health problems & are nice medium sized goats--my does are about 65 pounds & my buck is about 135 pounds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016

  3. lilaalil

    lilaalil Active Member

    538
    Sep 5, 2014
    I personally wouldn't. Things I'd worry about... predators, theft, them not getting enough to eat, somehow getting stuck in the fence or someplace else and no one being able to hear them call for help, them getting sick or injured with no one around to notice, etc. They will almost definitely not get enough to eat in the winter, even if maybe they managed to for the rest of the year. I also wouldn't really see the point in having goats if only to visit occasionally.
     
  4. lilaalil

    lilaalil Active Member

    538
    Sep 5, 2014
    Oh, just wanted to add, that I did do a version of this. My 3 goats were on a huge 20-acre pasture in the semi-wilderness with a few other goats and some sheep. When I went to pick them up, one had vanished completely, never to be seen again (probably got sick and died in the very thick underbrush), one was very ill, and died the night I brought her home, and the other was very thin, but fattened back up nicely at home. The other 2 goats there had been living there for over a year, with only occasional visits, and were fine, but it did not work out all that way for my girls, and I still feel guilty about it. I think most goats should be checked on daily.
     
  5. Meeky

    Meeky New Member

    3
    Dec 13, 2016
    Hi Catharina,
    Thanks for your reply!
    I looked into your suggestions but unfortunately, because we live in Australia, the breeds you suggested aren't readily available. Do you know of any similar Australian breeds? We were considering miniature goats mostly on account of their child-friendly nature and size.
    Also, we have neighbours who stay up there year-round. We'll have to ask, but they may be able to keep an eye on the goats for us.
     
  6. Meeky

    Meeky New Member

    3
    Dec 13, 2016
    Thanks, Lilaalil! We'll take that into account.
     
  7. Bree_6293

    Bree_6293 Briawell6293

    Aug 3, 2014
    Australia
    Maybe look into rangeland goats? They can be small like our Australian minis but harder and do have horns. They thrive on our natural browse also.
     
  8. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    No, it is not a feasible plan.
     
  9. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    As I just finished hauling warm water to the barn - how would you make sure they had water when it gets cold and freezes, have dry bedding and enough feed to see them through the really cold snaps, let alone illness, accidents, etc?

    Goats need daily care. Please don't consider it if you can't make sure they are getting all their needs met. They really aren't the "easy" livestock many people think of. Good for you to research this!:)
     
  10. Steampunked

    Steampunked Active Member

    224
    Mar 23, 2015
    Australia
    Unless the mountain is one of the tall ones here, it just won't freeze. You only even see hoarfrost on grass in the morning if you're in a very sheltered valley and I live in one of the cooler states.

    However, in summer? Eeeeh. Running out of water is deadly. It happens incredibly quickly, springs dry up, the ground water flattens out, and goodbye everything. And there won't be much water in dried out browse either. It gets hot, dry, and prone to catching fire.

    Rangeland goats can deal with a lot of stress, and there is also the Australian melaan (dairy). I don't know if Rangeland goats or Melaans would be as 'tame' as an Australian Miniature, though? Our miniatures are pretty tough as they've been bred from rangeland goats, but there are foxes, bad dog owners, and that water issue in summer even stresses me out when I'm AT home.
     
  11. Bree_6293

    Bree_6293 Briawell6293

    Aug 3, 2014
    Australia
    Some Australian minis are bred from rangeland but some also have crosses through them from other breeds. I know some of mine would be fine on limited care and just browse but a lot of mine come from my dairy lines and don't have the same hardiness of the rangelands. Rangelands (I have a few) may not be tame the first few you get but if you bottle raise their kids they will be tame. Maybe tame is not ideal in this situation though? Too domesticated and they loose their natural instinct to run or fend for themselves..
    I wouldn't do it. I recently had a dog attack on my mini herd and all the ones I lost were disbudded or babies. If you have a dog problem horns are good to keep but run the risk of getting stuck in fencing. I have now bought a maremma to guard my goats. I am only on 20acres and have dogs and the goats are not far from the house and I still had a dog attack.
     
  12. MoonShadow

    MoonShadow FancyDay Farm

    832
    Mar 1, 2015
    With as much daily care as most goats need, I think you would most likely have sick goats in a relatively short amount of time And with predators, I wouldn't do it. Predators can always find a way inside a fence, even a good one.

    Also, they would need to have horns, If you can't be there to protect them they need to be able to protect themselves. But then you run the problem of horns in fences. And If you're not there to free it from the fence, it will ether starve to death, break its neck, or be attacked by another animal.

    So with all that, I would have to say no, its just not feasible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
  13. lilaalil

    lilaalil Active Member

    538
    Sep 5, 2014
    I'm also thinking, even if you get "wild" breed goats, they may have a hard time surviving when fenced into just one acre. In nature, goats will travel over acres and acres to meet their nutritional needs, especially during times (winter, dry times, etc) when vegetation isn't really regenerating. I'm not sure you can put goats on a single acre and not let them roam and expect them to support themselves.
     
  14. catharina

    catharina Catharina

    Mar 16, 2016
    Northern California
    It sounds like some of our Australian members have some ideas for you on hardier goats available there. I'm not sure that goats would stay very friendly with little human contact, no matter what breed, & it could make them more vulnerable to abuse or theft by strangers.

    I do agree with the others though, that without daily looking to, any goat is at risk of being injured. becoming ill, entrapped or the victim of human or animal predators. I keep my goats in my yard & there are houses all around, yet some neighborhood kids saw 2 people throwing rocks at my goats 3 weeks ago.

    If you really like the idea of goats, perhaps you can work something out with the neighbors--maybe they would visit the goats daily in exchange for milk, or you could pay one of their older kids to check on them after school each day. I hope you can work something out. Goats are a lot of fun, but I think they aren't quite as low maintenance as you hope. Things usually go fine, but when things go wrong a goat can die very quickly & you'd feel very upset.