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Mixed Herd -- Goats and Horses?

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Goats' started by G. B., Nov 15, 2016.

  1. Nov 15, 2016
    G. B.

    G. B. Just born

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    About a year and a half ago we took the plunge and bought our own place -- a wee house on 3 acres with a barn. About 2 acres are pasture, with several paddocks and the barn. My wife has 3 horses (two desert-breed geldings and a warmblood mare), and we're thinking about adding goats to the mix. Are there any issues with goats sharing the same space as the horses? I wouldn't be confining them to the paddocks like the horses sometimes are (my wife likes to keep them in the barn during thunderstorms), but most of the time they'd be sharing ~2 acres with 3 horses (and eventually a flock of chickens). There is a stall that opens onto the pasture (rather than the paddocks) where they could take shelter from the rain, or I could build them something out in the pasture.

    The pasture makes a nice supplement in the spring/summer, but we provide hay year-round (it's nice in the summer, though, to be able to skip a feeding and not worry).

    Anyhow, we're new to keeping livestock at our own place, and have never raised goats before so any/all advice is welcome!

    thanks,
    G.B.
     
  2. Nov 15, 2016
    G. B.

    G. B. Just born

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    Oh, and since I didn't specify, they would be dairy goats (she likes Nubians), and to start with we'd probably go with 2, but the eventual plan would be 4 total goats (the 'plan' is to freshen one goat a year, alternating between the two 'active' goats, and then let them retire to be pasture ornaments in their dotage, adding a new baby to the mix (and retiring one of the nannies) when one of the geriatric goats passes on to greener pastures)
     
  3. Nov 15, 2016
    luvmypets

    luvmypets Herd Master

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    I have alpacas and sheep together no problems. Will the goats you get have horns? I would probably avoid any non-polled goats, you definitely do not want your horses get accidenlty cut and/or stabbed by horns.

    My sheep are all polled by the way.
     
  4. Nov 15, 2016
    G. B.

    G. B. Just born

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    Hrm, we had been planning to leave the goats with whatever horns they were born with. I'm not sure what Nubian horns look like though, or if naturally polled Nubians are common?
     
  5. Nov 15, 2016
    luvmypets

    luvmypets Herd Master

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    Not sure I only have sheep at this time. I know nubians have horns, however most are polled at a young age. If you are doing nubians I would play it safe and spend the extra $ to poll them. Thats just me though, my anxiety is as bad as it is, so that extra security gives me one less thing to worry about.
     
  6. Nov 15, 2016
    Goat Whisperer

    Goat Whisperer Herd Master

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    Some goats and horses can get along while others don't. I think it depends on the animals. You will need separate feeding areas.

    To clarify- Polled goats are goats that are born without horns (naturally hornless). Most goats are born with horns/horn nubs but are disbudded early in life.

    All serious dairy goat breeders disbud all non-polled goats. It shouldn't be hard to find some hornless does :thumbsup
     
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  7. Nov 15, 2016
    NH homesteader

    NH homesteader Herd Master

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    Horns or no horns... I've never kept the two together but it seems like a horse could do some serious damage to a goat if it wanted to and /or it spooked in the goat's general direction.
     
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  8. Nov 15, 2016
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Herd Master

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    Horses and goats CAN get along just fine - but, there are certain inherent dangers. When I first got goats, I already had horses - full-sized horses. The horses had never seen a goat and they were spooked by them. So, they each had their own area and it worked well. At one point a young pygmy buck got out of his pen one day and decided to "check out" one of the mares. He paid for that mistake with his life. A swift kick to the head and he was history.

    Decided I wanted goats more than horses at that time so those horses went away. I got more goats, let them have the run of the pasture and then realized I missed horses terribly. So, in comes a pregnant mini-horse with a baby by her side. Goats and horses co-existed beautifully. Goats came into another pen to eat, horses stayed out - everything was great.

    Eventually got more goats than would fit in their area so a new barn was built, gates were opened and everybody was together. All in all it has worked out well with a few exceptions. Goats eat at a fence line where they have to put their heads through the fence and eat from troughs on the other side. Horses can't get their heads through, but they hang around and eat at grain that is resting on the rims of the feeders - and I'm a softy and always give them a handful of grain. These are little horses that stay pig fat on NO grain - they aren't being starved, lol! But, they get testy some times and I've seen them reach out and bite a goat occasionally - mostly a threat - at worst a nip - but it's not a good thing. The horses are well-behaved about 95% of the time. And, there have been NO injuries to either.

    Best thing that has happened since then is a new LGD has come into our lives. He gets along with everybody (most of the time) with one exception. He will NOT tolerate the horses trying to get the goat feed. He keeps them away, and because he keeps them away they learned to go to the other side of the barn where I give them their handful of grain. Everybody's happy.

    Point is - things can be worked out - but it might take some creativity - OR a big ol' dog keeping his goats safe from those grain stealing horses!
     
  9. Nov 15, 2016
    norseofcourse

    norseofcourse True BYH Addict Golden Herd Member

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    If you feed your goats any feed containing an additive to prevent coccidia, such as Rumensin or lasalocid, keep that feed far away from the horses, as they are very toxic to horses. Safer yet, use non-medicated feeds.

    I have sheep, but those ingredients are commonly added to sheep feeds, and I had to do some looking to find feeds without them.
     
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  10. Mar 27, 2017
    JesseroDo

    JesseroDo Chillin' with the herd

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    Id never keep them together. My horse was in a pasture with sheep when she was young and nearly killed them. She hated smaller animals her entire 23 years of life. I had to watch her very carefully around all smaller animals. Dogs, cats, chickens, my sheep. One kick and there goes your goat. Some horses love goats, but horses are horses and they kick, in anger and in play. A 1200lb animal can decimate a 150lbs goat in a split second. That, combined with what everyone else has mentioned, are all good reasons to never keep them together.
     
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