Goat Help Center

Answers to common questions about goats and to questions you didn't know you had.

What are the standard terms for male, female, baby goats?

Intact male goats are called bucks, nuetered goats are called wethers.  Female goats are does.  Baby goats are called kids, like human kids.  Unlike human kids, male babies are called buck kids or bucklings, and female kids are called doe kids or doelings. 

I don't want to milk my goats, I just want pets. What should I get?

Wethers.  They are the calmest, friendliest and easiest to keep in good condition because they don't go into rut, don't go into heat, and don't have the added nutritional needs of does who are pregnant or making milk.  

Why can't I keep buck kids and doe kids together?

Nigerian dwarf buck kids are fertile as young as 7 weeks old.  You read that right.  Seven WEEKS!  Doe kids are fertile as young as 12 weeks (sometimes even sooner).  That means that tiny baby buck kids can get tiny baby doe kids pregnant!  If you are wondering how a tiny baby can have babies, the short answer is, they can't.  Chances are very high that this situation will end badly for the doe kid because she is not big enough to carry or deliver babies.   They should not be put in a situation where that could happen.

What kind of fence do I need if I want to keep goats?

There are four ways that predators can get into a goat pen: jumping over, chewing through, pushing under, or digging under.  A good fence provides protection from all four ways. 

 

To deter jumping over, make the fence as tall as you can afford to.  I prefer at least 6 ft for a perimeter fence.  You can also add a strand of hot wire (electrified fence wire)  a few inches above the top of the fence.  Make sure to use a strong, solar fence charger and ground it properly for a reliably intense (but not harmful) zap. 

 

To prevent chewing through, use a strong fence material.  An example of a suitable fence material to resist chewing through is 6 ft woven wire horse fence, with 2x4 inch squares.  It is important to choose a low gauge, strong fence that is woven aka knotted, NOT welded.  Welded wire fence is flimsy and easily comes apart at the welds.  Sturdy, low gauge chain link is another option.

To prevent predators from pushing in, and adventurous goats from pushing out, make sure the fence wire is stretched tight with a stretcher and a come along.  For a sturdier and more durable fence, use wood fence posts rather than t-posts, and cement the corner posts in place.  

To prevent digging under, use additional wire fence or hardware cloth along the ground, cover with dirt or gravel to hold it down.  And/or install a strand of hot wire at the bottom of the fence, on the outside, a few inches above the ground, where a predators nose would likely touch it if trying to dig under.