Lots of comments asking me about my goat maintenance – a topic on which I never thought I’d be the expect. Goats are, first of all, very darling cute friendly little companions. I know many of you are asking from the perspective of raising city goats, and I commend your attempts, but the biggest barrier I’d see in this success is the amount of noise and smell goats make. They bleat, a lot, and it sounds similar to a screaming baby or an annoyed toddler. A goat in heat screams. Good for her, but bummer for your neighbors. So be sure your city is livestock friendly and your neighbors are ok with lots and lots of all-hours screaming.
Also, goats like to have companion goats. As herd animals, they tend to travel and live and love together so don’t be cruel and get one goat to live a lonely life in your tiny backyard. Make sure you have ample space and resources and get at least two goats.
Separate your goats from your gardens. I cannot effectively communicate my emotions when, a week after bringing goats home, they had eaten my entire vegetable garden – one I had spent years cultivating. Anger, yes. But goats eat, that’s natural. Sad, yes. But I should have anticipated this. That said, they also did a number on the wee and brush, clearing way for me to start my herb garden and doubling the size of my forthcoming replacement vegetable garden. And their manure is an excellent compost.
In order for my female goats to keep producing milk, they have to be bred each year. This means, there are beebee goats every year requiring maintenance and rehoming. I’m fortunate to live in a community where it’s not too challenging to rehome a baby goat or three each year, but for your city-dwellers this may be more of an obstacle.
Goats are great companions, they’re vest friends with my Labrador retriever Louie, they’re excited to see me when I come outside each morning, and they’re cuties. When I have my annual kids, I bring them to the orchard and set up a makeshift little petting zoo. They’re darling with the urban kids who come through who literally pay money to bottle feed them!