If you fancy a different pet, you should maybe get a goat. They are very easy to get along with, but need some space. What you need to know before getting a goat.
"Come on, flake, go ahead." And indeed. The white domestic goat runs up, stands on its hind legs and at the same time pulls its front hooves to its chest. When it comes to making males, the goat at Moritzhof in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg is an experienced professional. In fact, goats are very intelligent animals, capable of learning, and affectionate. They quickly become tame and look for people to relate to. No wonder that goats are not only kept on farms as livestock, but also on the outskirts by more and more people as a hobby.
Goats as a welcome change
Keeping goats even if you don't live in the country. Johann-Georg Wenzler considers what sounds like a crazy idea to be entirely plausible: “Today, many people work eight hours sitting down. The preoccupation with the goats forms an opposite pole here ”, explains the breeding manager of the Sheep Breeding Association of Baden-Württemberg, who has written a book about goat husbandry with colleagues. The animals would provide a natural rhythm in which humans come to rest.
Goats need a diet rich in fiber
Twice a day, this rhythm demands that the animals be fed. Fiber-rich food such as hay is particularly important for ruminants, around three kilograms per goat per day. If the animals are kept outside, they also eat grass, in winter it is replaced by silage or beets.
But the animals also eat grain such as oats, barley or maize. However, this should not amount to more than a kilo per day: "If there is too much concentrate, the animals get diarrhea," says Hedwig Eusterwiemann, who herself has almost 100 goats.
Goats can also live on the outskirts
Eusterwiemann started with two goats. In general, the ungulates do not like to be alone. If they have enough exercise, they can also live on the outskirts. An open stable is the best solution, but the goats can also be kept in individual boxes. Adult animals need between 3 and 3.5 square meters of box space.
Goats should live fenced
A small lawn area for grazing is ideal for the animals. It is important to have a fence around 1.20 meters high, as the goats otherwise like to explore their neighborhood. They deal uncompromisingly with trees and bushes: "Everything is cut down, the bark is nibbled off," says Prof. Theo Mantel, President of the Federal Veterinary Association (BTK) and an experienced owner himself with a buck and four mother goats.
Inform neighbors about goats
If hobby goat keepers can offer the animals enough space, not all problems have been resolved: “The neighbors may not find it so great. The animals like to express themselves, for example when they see someone or want to be fed, ”says Eusterwiemann. There is usually only a strong odor nuisance if you keep the buck. In any case, it should be discussed with the neighbors before they complain in front of their kitchen window.
Obtain information before purchasing a goat
Anyone who wants to keep goats should not approach the matter completely inexperienced: "For example, it's good to talk to other keepers first," advises Mantel. Information is also available from goat breeding associations that are organized regionally. As far as costs are concerned, keepers have to budget between 80 and 300 euros for an animal, depending on the breed.
And if you get bored with keeping it at some point, you can tackle the next step: milk the goats themselves in order to either drink the milk, make it into butter or cheese, or sell it. Beginners may prefer to use goat flakes as an example. Teaching a few tricks is enough for now.
- Hans Späth / Otto Thume / Johann-Georg Wenzler: Keeping Goats, Ulmer, 200 pages, 32.90 euros, ISBN-13: 978-3800177271
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- Annette Arnold / René Reibetanz: Everything for the goat. Handbook for species-appropriate husbandry, Pala, 160 pages, 16.00 euros, ISBN-13: 978-3895662355
- Ann-Marie Hagenkötter: Ziegen: Faithful friends with heads, Cadmos, 79 pages, 10.95 euros, ISBN-13: 978-3861276784
| Updated November 12, 2015