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How to Care for Dwarf Goats

Dwarf goats are raised for milk production but can also make excellent pets. They are gregarious, friendly, and hardy and can thrive in almost any climate. Their gentle, calm, and playful nature makes them good companion pets for children and disabled and elderly people. If you decide to begin raising dwarf goats, follow these basic guidelines when you establish their living area.

Housing

Miniature goats require about 10 square feet of indoor space per animal. The house should be dry, well ventilated and provide protection from rain, snow, and wind. You can easily convert a shed, section off part of your existing barn, use a calf hutch or even buy a large doghouse for them. Also look for a house that is easy to clean. The easier it is to clean and the more likely that you will do it regularly. Make sure that you do not face the doorway into the prevailing winds. Consider creating an area like a house with a covered patio where the goats can hang out when it is raining or snowing. Goats will not go out in the rain. Having a patio area with a hayrack will keep your hay dry and provide a place for them outside of their house on rainy days.

Bed the house with shavings spring, summer and fall and with a deep bed of straw in the winter. “Fluff” the bedding several times a week and sprinkle new bedding on top as necessary. Completely clean out the house weekly and more often when they spend a lot of time indoors. In winter use a bed pack method, every few days sprinkle fresh straw on the top layer. The bedding underneath compresses and decomposes thereby creating heat. By the end of winter, you will have a good foot or so of bedding to dig out and spread in the garden where it makes great mulch.

Fencing

Miniature goats require a minimum of 130 square feet of outdoor space per animal. The fencing must be strong, high and escape proof because goats are great at finding gaps in fencing. Using stock panels that are 16’ long and 52” high is ideal. The line wires on these panels are spaced closer at the bottom and gradually increase upward. They are also strong enough that the goats can climb all over them and they don’t bend. An 8-week-old goat can walk right through a 4” x 4” square so the bottom gaps must be small. You can also line the panels with hex net wire to keep baby goats from going through. These panels can be connected at the corners with wire cable ties and supported with a few t-posts.

The fence also needs to be high enough to prevent a stray dog or coyote from jumping the fence and getting into the pen and also preventing the adult goats from jumping out of the pen. Never tie your goats out on a rope, they can easily become entangled and can strangle themselves. They love to go for walks and browse around trees though. The outdoor pen should contain some type of safe climbing toy: a big rock, a cable spool (with the holes covered), a wooden box or an old picnic table (make sure the paint is non-toxic). Goats love and need to climb.

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