SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Caring for goats

Before you decide to get goats, it is important to carefully consider whether you have the time, resources, knowledge, as well as the right environment to care for your goats properly.

An overgrown garden or hedge is not a good reason to get a goat, as goats are sentient and intelligent animals with specific wants and needs.

It is not enough to prevent an animal from suffering or simply provide resources to enable the animal to survive. An animal’s welfare refers to what it experiences. Animals are conscious beings and in providing a “life worth living”, animals need positive experiences. Every animal has the right to experience a “good life”. When thinking about getting an animal, you are responsible for making sure that ALL their needs (and wants) are met.

Below are some important considerations to think about before getting goats:

Good environment

  • Goats need goats! Goats are social, herd animals that should not be kept alone, and where possible you should look to get at least two goats that get on well together.
  • Goats need appropriate shelter particular from the wind and rain, therefore a well set up shelter is important.
  • Goats are incredibly inquisitive and active, and are well known for being excellent escape artists, therefore fencing must be appropriate.
  • Goats must not be tethered. Doing so prevents them being able to express natural behaviours, and can put them at significant risk from entanglement, bad weather or potential dog attacks.

Read more about the right environment for goats.

Good nutrition

Goats should not be obtained with the intention of using them as ‘lawnmowers’. Goats require a proper, varied diet they can browse on, including high quality hay, pasture and additional supplements (where necessary).

Read more about nutrition for goats.

Natural behaviour

Domesticated goats can be very friendly, and by using positive handling behaviours (e.g. spending time with your goat, gentle handling, petting, scratches, and small numbers of treats) goats will actively seek out your company.

Read more about handling goats and normal goat behaviour.

Good health

Goats need regular health checks, such as foot care and worming, and on occasion may require veterinary care, which can be expensive (e.g. emergency care).

Read more about how to keep your goat healthy.

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