Goats as pets

Goat at an RSPCA animal centre © Andrew Forsyth/RSPCA Photolibrary

Always contact a vet if you are concerned about the health and welfare of your goats.

Owning goats is a big commitment and can be very time-consuming and expensive. Before getting any goats it's important you consider if you have the time, resources, commitment, knowledge and facilities to care for them. Goats are not gardeners - An overgrown garden or hedge is not a good reason to get some goats.

Download our booklet: An introduction to goat welfare and ownership (PDF 1.1MB)

Suitability of goats as pets

  • Goats can be destructive to fences, housing and gardens and can call loudly, which neighbours may find a nuisance.
  • Uncastrated male goats have a very strong odour and can show aggressive/sexual behaviours that many people find unpleasant - they are not really suitable as pets.
  • Males of smaller breeds that have been castrated before they become sexually mature (wethers) can be suitable as pets.
  • Castrated males of the larger breeds are still powerful animals that can be difficult to handle.
  • Goats that are lactating (producing milk) need to be milked twice a day, every day. You should only consider getting a lactating goat if you're prepared to put in the extra work and time needed for milking.

Breeding goats

  • Breeding of goats should only be attempted by experienced owners.
  • If bred, goats will often produce twins, triplets or even quads.
  • Owners must take responsibility for the welfare of the offspring, including organising the humane and legal euthanasia of any kids that cannot be kept or rehomed.

The following pages include some important considerations for anyone considering or already keeping pet goats:

Further information

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