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Goats/Sheltering goats


Hi , I am thinking about getting goats soon when I retire. My question is do I have to go out and round up the goats every night and put them away or will they go into their shelter on their own ?

HI Joe,
How many are you thinking of getting? For fun or commercial?  Meat goats? Dairy goats?  pet goats? Fiber goats?
What's your setup going to be like? How far from the house will the barn be? Where will the goats be (before  going to the barn) in a big pasture.. a large  few acre yard?  Will they be on your property where you reside? or somewhere else?
IF you have a pasture  where the goats will be out of sight, you may want to  call them in - placing hay in the barn  helps them to go in on their own, but if  they will be somewhere  they can get into trouble  you  will want to do a head count..  JUST in case someone didn't make it back.. (stuck somewhere.. down or hurt) it happens more often than you would think.. :) Goats are notorious for getting into trouble - they will test your fencing to the nth degree - they will go under, over and through any place you would NEVER think they would fit. They will get heads stuck on fencing, legs caught in  tree V's,  hung up in briars, you name it they will do it.. All of this being said..  it doesn't happen every day.. BUT  it WILL happen the one day you forget to count heads..
Whole corn and cookies will be your best friend ( don't over do either)  but to get goats to go  or do what you want in a large number situation, once they have had them..  shaking the corn can or  a pocketful of animal cracker cookies  will do more than  hollering or begging - :)
IMHO the best scenario is to count them when they come in from pasture.. preferably in the early  evening late afternoon - (gives you day light in case you have to go looking for someone)- bring them in for evening hay and or treats.. have a relatively large yard set up fenced in with the barn in it.. feed them in there- and have water for them too..  lock the yard up with full access to the barn - and for me.. I have my barn within view from my living room window, in 23 years I do not think I have ever had my goats in a place where I could not see them from my house at  all times..  I have lived 4 different places  - BUT that's me..  when we did have a large pasture, I took the dogs and we actually herded them for 6 hours a day.. and brought them back like I suggested..  VERY time consuming..  but I did love it.. Now I have a few acres where we are, the barn is 25 ft from my living room.. I dry lot feed year  round (give hay) and at night I have a dusk to dawn light lighting up the area  they  stay  and  not many venture very far from the barn at night.  I never have  closed my goats up in the barn or used heat lamps..  too  much danger of fire - and locked up  if anything were to happen they would not be able to escape -  good deep bedding in winter , out of the prevailing wind, with a solid roof they  will be fine.. mine is 3 sided.. open side toward my window so I can see in from the house.

To Answer your question..
Most of them time.. but new goats  in a new place may get  funny about it.. Even in the rain.
Goats are funny about  change in living space..  you may have to call them in or bribe them  a few times to get them to know  it's ok to be there and it won't hurt them.. place the hay in there - this will help them go in.. just don't box them in where they cannot get out quick..
goats are creatures of habit  - once you get a rhythm going.. they will follow suit  and expect the same each day..  at the same time.. so getting a routine that works for you is good, they will adapt and  look forward to this routine to happen each day..  they are very smart..  and know when things change - they will also tell you when something is going on different.. they will all look in one direction -  if something scares them at night they will jump up and gather in a small  group tight together..  these are red flags to go take a look what's out there.. predators or  people.. anything that the feel may harm them.. a stray dog maybe.. But once you  teach them a routine and make it a happy thing for them, they will  start to do this on their own.. IF you need to move a group of them.. and they do not come to a can of corn shaking or you haven't tried it..  get Behind them as a group.. clap hands or raise a branch above you head (they HATE things above their heads)  - and walk them from behind where you want them to go slow and steady,  don;t try to run and chase them , you will lose every time.. ..  or use a command.. I use a sound like schit-schit-schit  and they know to move where ever it is  we are going..  in the mornings I take a special group of goats out of the hay pen where they spend the night.. older and special goats I want to eat  without being bothered - (goats have a hierarchy and beat up on older or weaker goats at feeding time esp) so  they may be  laying  there  not ready to leave.. I do the "sound" they get up..  out the gate and we go on with chores..  at night.. all the rest of the goats go to the barn to eat and that group is waiting at the hay pen gate - pretty much like clockwork.

MORE than you ever wanted to know.. :)
let me know how things go..

and take a look at my website - it is written for newbies  in particular - to help with  all sorts of things  


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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

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United Caprine News, Homesteaders Magazine, Columnist for Goat Magazine, Owner and Author of GoatPedia™

Graduate Programs in Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

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