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I just moved to my dream home in the country with 4.5 acres of land in Maryland. I am married, have a 2 year old son, and a daughter due in November. I have never owned livestock but I have the itch now. I will do a lot of research but was wonder if everyone can point me in the right direction.

1) I would like goats that will graze where it wont be necessary for me to cut the grass in their fenced in area. Child friendly. More like pets that help out with the grass, not looking to milk or produce meat. What goats should I be looking at?

2) I was thinking 4 goats for a area within a 600 foot fence. Research pointed me towards Red brand fencing. does that come with polls or is that purchased separately? I guess I put a poll every 4 feet for the 4x4 fencing.

3) Shelter. All the shelters I see are home made and do not seem nice enough. I basically feel like I need to get a large shed with an opening the size of a door so they have plenty of protection.

Thanks for getting me started. All information is appreciated. I am excited and want to build awesome climbing structures and give them all the bells and whistles. I am know to over do things which I am ok with. There are a 1,000 more questions but I just want a general idea if 4 goats in a 600ft fenced area grazing is in the right direction.
 

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Hmmm. I just thought they did. See how much I know. Not a lot. Thanks for the info. I have a lot of research to do. So no grass. Then what type of goat is the best goat for a pet and little kids? I will take great care of the goats don't take my lack of knowledge now for just some guy that think it be cool to own goats. I wouldn't get them till spring and I would make sure I have and know everything before then. I am just in the early stages.
 

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I agree, goats do not trim where you want them to, they bite then move on.

I would go for a smaller breed of goat if you just want pets and browsers. Or sheep as mentioned. But sheep are not really pet like as goats are and should be sheared.

Fencing supplies do come separate unfortunately.

Getting a shed will work. Make sure the floor is built up and easy to clean out periodically. Plenty of ventilation but no drafts on the goats.

It is a good start, but do remember, you want to be able to move them into other area's, so worms do not build up, causing a continuous worm issue.
 

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View attachment 122905

I agree, goats do not trim where you want them to, they bite then move on.

I would go for a smaller breed of goat if you just want pets and browsers. Or sheep as mentioned. But sheep are not really pet like as goats are and should be sheared.

Fencing supplies do come separate unfortunately.

Getting a shed will work. Make sure the floor is built up and easy to clean out periodically. Plenty of ventilation but no drafts on the goats.

It is a good start, but do remember, you want to be able to move them into other area's, so worms do not build up, causing a continuous worm issue.
So a moveable shed is required or can I just flip the fencing? Meaning the fencing is in front of shed and then I move them and fencing to back of shed.
 

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I have two pygmy x nigerian wethers and they lived in the grounds of the primary school where I used to work. They are a good size for children and super-friendly but that is because they grew up with them. I now also have two anglo nubians and they are so friendly, they are almost dog-like but, of course, they will grow much bigger. Whatever breed you decide on, if you get them still young, buy from someone who has children and other animals, and teach your children to be gentle and respectful, then you should be OK. I would also suggest that disbudded wethers are the way to go.

Your idea of moving the penned area around the shed should work well.....I did that when mine lived at the school as I didn't have the option of pasture rotation in the more traditional sense. Every six months I moved the 'corral', I used ground sanitizing powder on the area we were moving from to kill any worms/eggs that might be there and then left it to rest and recover from foot fall and weather.

As for the grazing thing, everyone is right, goats are browsers rather than grazers, they eat 'up' from trees and shrubs rather than 'down' to grass BUT I have had three alpacas for the last seven months and since the 'pacas moved in, who are definitely grazers as well as browsers, my goats have learnt to graze! They have also learnt to poop in one place, as is the habit of the 'pacas....not taught by me.... a completely self taught/copied behaviour by the goats!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You guys are giving me great info. Thanks for getting the ball rolling for me. A lot nicer than being new on other types of forums. Now I am thinking about getting 2 sheep and 2 goats..... thinking thinking thinking. I know sheep are good for grass but I would need a way that they don't eat the goat food which I read will make them sick.
 

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I am thinking....

2 female or neutered male nigerian dwarf goats with 2 female or neutered male sheep. I see there is a feed that they both can eat all-stock Sheep & Goat feed and I would just have to give the goats copper bolus supplement.

What are your thoughts on what I am thinking? Are there a better breed of sheep to pair with the goats?

Mike
 

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I am looking at hair sheep. What size would one recommend for say 3 goats and 3 sheep. Total of 6? I am still just planning on 2 of each but I like to have a little room to grow just in case.
 

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If there is one thing I would add, make sure you get them from a good breeder. Go ahead and make sure you aren't bringing any worms or diseases onto your property.

Being that you have little kids, I would get smaller size goats like Pygmy or Nigerians (hurt less when they accidentally step on your toes). Would also recommend getting some that are polled (no horns). They don't mean to, but can poke you every now and then, and you have to worry about their head getting stuck in fences. I would recommend does instead of wethers. I love wethers they are little angels, but you have to worry about kidney stones with them.

And keep in mind that it's not always perfect. As much fun as it is keeping the little goofballs...there are piles of things that can go wrong in an instant. Bloat, worms, cocci, hoof, mineral deficiencies, jumping fences, climbing on your vehicles (we used to have one that would get out every night and sleep on the very top of the truck cab hahaha) all kinds of stuff. They are full of surprises lol. Especially if you are new to owning them and aren't sure what to look for yet.

And that shed looks perfect to me, what are the demensions? The only time mine go under the shelter is if it's raining or at night. And they all bundle up in a group. Congrats on your new place! Can't wait to see some goat pictures when you get them. :)
 

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I'd do redbrand horse fencing. No chance of them getting their head stuck. That shelter might work depending on your weather. I have a 15x25 shelter that was added on to a garage with a closing door but I can have bad winter weather and need to close them in.
 

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Jump over, under, through it hahaha. I have some that are perfectly happy and wouldn't even think to get out. Then I have some that have learned to unlock every gate, jump out a 6+ foot wooden horse stall, DIG a hole under the fence and shimmy under. I have a 120 lb Boer doe that can go through a horse gate with bars that are barley a foot apart, I have to get a video of it, it only takes her 2 seconds lol.

I have the same brand of fencing you posted, but taller and bigger gaps, guess mine is for cattle or horses. Have had a few get their head stuck over the years with that though, mine have horns lol. That looks good to me though, as long as it's tall enough.

And make sure its sturdy, they will most likely rub on the fencing to scratch, and it will stretch it out. We ended up putting a single strand of electric wire up that is the height of their shoulder, just to keep them off the fences.
 

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With the shelter I have no idea. If you can go bigger I would, then you wouldn't have to worry about getting a whole new bigger shelter in a few years if you get more.

12X6 is probably fine for 4, as long as you aren't wanting to lock them up. But I don't know about 6. Maybe someone else will know more.
 
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