Goats Are Trendy: Goats as Pets and Companions when Social Media Creates a Goat Craze (The YEAR of the Goat)

I love goats.

I can think of oodles of reasons why. 

That said, goats are so complex both in terms of care and personality. They are not  animals which will thrive (or even survive) with someone who purchases them on a whim, as a novelty. True enough, no animal deserves that, and while a rise in popularity for the right reasons is great, when it is spurred by little goat kids flopping about or wearing diapers on Instagram, the odds the animals will fair well are Zilch.

The New York Times has called 2017 "The Year of the Goat," and we hear they are giving our typical cat and dog stars on Instagram a lot of competition in popularity

This trendy interest recently highlighted is, quite sadly, a recipe for disaster for goats.  I fear we will see a rise in goats being kept as pets for awhile, but this means once the trend and initial interest passes, we will see a rapid "dumping" of the goats without a place for them to go and likely in various stages of neglect. We've seen it in the past, unfortunately, with other animals.

What we've seen in previous years with Pot Bellied Pigs:
 Unethical backyard type Breeders quickly started (and continue) making false claims to increase sales, care wasn't given to the conformation of the animals being bred, extreme dishonesty was/is present about what it takes to care for the animals, the size the animals reach was/is denied and no care for real education on the animal was/is put out there.

People want to believe those cute little kids (just like we see with piglets) stay tiny and charming forever. They do not. For me, sure. . . goats are beyond charming, but that isn't the light the average "MANIA" driven buyer is going to see a 200 pound goat in, honestly, especially after they have caused the animal to bloat or have goat polio due to lack of understanding about the care the goat

Goats ARE ridiculously small and cute when kids (babies). But almost all breeds grow to be 200lbs, and even the miniature breeds (Nigerians and Pymgy Goats) usually end up at 60-80lbs. That isn't tiny. There is no micro breed of goat.

Goats, more than most any other animal, require complex care, and few vets have any idea how to treat them for anything. I've actually found most vets recommend treatments or administer care that knowledgeable goat farmers would advise against. Unless a vet specialized in small ruminants while in school, which few do, they just do not get training on goat care. They sometimes try to use "what works for cows" approach. This is a bad idea, too.

The Moral of this all?

Try to be sure you're ready for a 10-15 year commitment, have the space and funds to provide good care and are willing to learn about how to give them what they need to be healthy and happy. 

  • Goats can be LOUD. FYI - They sometimes scream and make neighbors think you're murdering children.  
  • Uncastrated males smell about as unpleasant as a land fill. They pee all over themselves, in their mouths and worse. Castration of a male goat once he is over 4 months old is really difficult on the animal, but keeping an intact buck as a pet is entirely unappealing, if not impossible. It needs done early.
  • You can more easily contain water in a fence than a Goat. 
  • Goats need supplemented in various minerals and vitamins throughout the year
  • Goats struggle with parasites in a way no other animal does (resistance to wormer is high)
  • Male goats, especially wethers (castrated males) get urinary blockages easily if the diet isn't just so-so. 
  • Goats almost all naturally grow horns unless they are removed through dehorning (which isn't kind) or prevented from disbudding (which has to be done before they are a few weeks old, and is humane if done properly)
  • GOATS rarely eat GRASS. So they will not mow your lawn. They eat weeds, leaves and all the flowers you'll plant and not want them to devour. 
  • Goats have to have regular trimming on their feet, and this isn't especially easy.
  • Goats hate rain or being wet, and if not allowed access to a very dry and clean area, will get hoof rot, which can cause them to be crippled.
  • They are as friendly as dogs, with personalities that are very similar, and they are very sensitive (more so than dogs), but this usually comes from hand raising them from birth, bottle raising and daily interaction. Without this, often they are as wild as Deer and taming adult goats is quite a feat, if not usually impossible. 
Here are Lucas Farm, educating those who offer either a farm or pet home to goats is SUPER important to us. They are loving, neat creatures who deserve knowledgeable care. 

  • They do not deserve to be neglected through ignorance, 
  • purchased on a whim, 
  • to be dumped at a shelter 
  • or sold on craigslist to the first random buyer.