wanting goats, how destructive are they?

dangersmama

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I'm looking into getting a couple of nigerian dwarves to keep for milk on my urban homestead. I have read a lot of warnings about escaping, jumping off of walls and breaking windows, destroying all plants and trees, etc. How destructive are these little guys really? I have a mini barn in my yard that I will fix up for them but was hoping to let them run around the yard most of the time. My yard has my gardens in raised beds, young fruit trees and berry bushes, my son's playhouse and sandbox, as well as our three dogs that stay outside during the day.

Is it realistic to think that the goats will just hang out like my dogs and eat the weeds and stuff that grow on my fence? We have a 6 ft privacy fence on one side, 6 ft chainlink on two sides, and a 4 ft wooden gate that extends from my house to my detached garage. We have about 1/10 acre total with most of it being backyard but I am scared for my baby fruit trees and garden. Should I just wait the 5 or so years until we get land and move out to the country?
 

lilhill

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They will eat your fruit trees and whatever they can get in your garden. If you do not have adequate fencing, they will become escape artists in record time (I've never had an escape, so it's possible to keep them contained with proper fencing). When goats play, they will bounce off what is available to bounce off of. Face it, they are goats and they do what goats do. Sorry, I don't think this is what you wanted to hear. My nigerians are just as sweet as sweet can be, and love attention, and produce great tasting milk ... but they are goats. And I love them dearly. :)
 

ksalvagno

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As Lilhill said, they will eat everything. It is fun watching them play and bounce off walls but if it was a house wall, I probably wouldn't be too happy. I have not had an escapee and I have 4 foot fencing. But you do have to make sure there are no low spots that they could crawl under.

Also, the dogs would probably find the goats great things to chase. I wouldn't leave dogs and goats in the same area unless it was a guard dog that specifically guards the goats.

You may be better off waiting until you have more land and can put the goats in their own barn with their own pasture.
 

dangersmama

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That's what I was thinking. So how do people keep goats in the city? Are they the only thing in their yard or do they keep them penned up?

I'm getting angora bunnies this fall and chickens in the spring, I guess they'll have to do for farm animals for a while.
 

Henrietta23

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Mine will be in a pen within a fence. The fence keeps our dogs and chickens and ducks in and the neighbor dogs out. The pen will be more secure to keep goats away from gardens and trees we don't want them to destroy.
 

Hollywood Goats

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I have 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats.

I live in a urban area and I have a screened porch and several young trees. so far they have not damaged the screens, trees, or fence, they have never made it over the 6' privacy fence or through the screens.

They have only eaten a few leaves from my mulberry trees and have not eaten any bark like I was told that they would.

Overall I have found them less destructive then my 12 hens, who love to eat the tree bare and have killed a plants and have pecked hole in the screens.

My goats also have about 1500 sq. ft of space to run in, some little tykes toys, and plenty of food and playthings.
 

Lil-patch-of-heaven

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Mine eat the lower leaves off trees. ALL the lower leaves, but they do grow back, then the goats eat them again. So far no bark-eating at all. I wouldn't begin to want them in my garden. They stripped some new rose bushes bare within moments and I'm not sure they will recover.

One doe nearly busted through walls of 2x4 and osb when stabled away from her 10 week old kid. They sleep together again now. She's pathological about being separated from him. Other than that, the only damage done by the does were to wire rabbit cages trying to get their food and slight bends to wire pasture fencing getting their horns stuck and scratching their sides along it. And standing on it to reach tree leaves.

The buckling and wether are more destructive. The buckling - about 4 months old - likes to push against gates and has split the wood on ours a number of times. Fortunately it leads into another fenced yard and we keep fixing it. His buck pen will have much stronger fencing and gates. And the wether loves to ricochet off things and has hit that same gate a few times and broken it as well.

Now we make our gates out of 2x4s and chain link.

None of them seem to be trying to escape. They only want to reach through the fence for browse, not get out (unless I'm standing right there and they think I have food).
 

cmjust0

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We had a particular little buckling in the house once.. I think he was about 3 weeks old at the time this happened......

He jumped, flat-footed, from the kitchen floor INTO the kitchen sink basin.

Goats are just nuts.

They're also a lot of fun. :D

If you fence off the stuff you don't want eaten, and make sure there's plenty of resources for them inside the fence...you'll be fine.
 

savingdogs

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My goats especially love bark and strip it off of any tree they are around just about. They managed to open their gate one day when we forgot to latch it correctly and they knocked a young apple tree right over, cracked it off at the base.
Other than that they have been very good fun..........not that expensive and well worth the trouble. We should have protected the tree better, it was our fault, not theirs.
 

Dany Strickland

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It depends on the goat. They will eat lots of things out of your garden and eat cloth or paper. Make sure you keep a lot of those things out of reach. They will break out of they yard if you are not careful as well.
 

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