Goats as a companion for a horse? - Page 2

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Goats as a companion for a horse?

This is a discussion on Goats as a companion for a horse? within the Farm Animals forums, part of the Farm Forum category
  • There was a farmer who had a horse and a goat
  • Are two wether goats good companions

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    03-16-2012, 05:21 AM
Green Broke
Goats are also used in barns to discover when sickness/illness is about to strike.
They have a weaker immune system than horses, and will die first, warning you that you need to get the vet out.
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    03-16-2012, 09:02 AM
Super Moderator
Much of what people have written about goats is basically true except goats DO NEED copper. Goats who don’t have enough in their system will carry higher worm loads and be harder to keep healthy. Most places in the US, particularily the entire north east area, don’t have enough copper in the soil, thus not enough in the browse, much like selenium, which they also need. However, keeping them balanced is as easy as a horse as there are goat salt/mineral products specially for them.

Also, they aren’t generally known to have weak immune systems per say, it is just they are ruminants (4 chambered stomach) and operate very different than horses in terms of nutrition, worming, and health issues and need to be treated differently. What won’t affect your horse can indeed affect a goat, and vice versa.

They can bond well with a horse, are fairly easy to house and care for… hooves, proper feed, good health care and a knowledgeable worming schedule is really all it takes for a companion goat. Fences, however are a different story. Goats need a different fencing system than most horses are in, but will respect electric as a general rule so long as they can’t crawl through it

That said, I have goats and they have never gotten out. Never. Ever.

If you get a goat you will wanted a gelded male, called a wether, or a doe and you want one without horns.
Nothing wrong with a goat who still has horns, just that beginner goat owners should avoid them until they know more about goat behavior.

Even though I have already had goats, llamas and alpacas, I chose to adopt (rescue actually) two donkeys for a companion for my horse. I only wanted one, but they needed to stay together and I am a sucker…
Anyway, goats can be good companions so long as thought is put into their needs as well.
For ease though, a donkey is a better choice.

I have a micro goat dairy, if you would like to PM me, I can give you some links on goats that will help answer any questions you may have about them.
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    03-16-2012, 09:22 AM
Our horse had a hornless doe and they were great pals. He was very protective of her. Someones dog entered the pasture, eyeballing her up and the horse immediately was after the dog, hell bent to kill it. Dog never returned. I didn't have any problems with her, she got her grain when he did. I found the hornless goats more amenable that the horned, no butting. Our feed store carried feed for goats so she got about a cup of that twice daily to round out her diet. She was a great pet and loved to have company. Her special treat was a few fresh cut poplar brances with new leaves. She was locked in her stall at night as it was safest for her from night hunters.
    03-16-2012, 09:28 AM
My sister raised goats. We never had to worry about them going anywhere if they got out except maybe on top of the car. They love to be the tallest thing around. Her wether Nibbles had horns and loved to play and he followed us around like a puppy.

The stable I am at now has two goats, Merlin and Wilbur that are with the horses 24/7. Wilbur isn't as friendly is a bit stand offish but Merlin is a love. He is the friendliest little guy ever.

I agree with getting a baby goat as it will bond easier with the horse, but if you can adopt/rescue a mini anything...go for that instead.
    03-16-2012, 12:21 PM
I've found that the key to keeping my goats in is to have the largest fence charger possible or use mesh fence. My goats are in no climb horse fence right now and have never gotten out. I know several folks who only have electric fence and they are successful keeping the goats in if they have a very large charger. Ex: Two hundred mile 15,400v output for seven acres works very well.

My goats do not chew on my horse manes, tails, or much of anything else ever. I keep good hay out for them at all times as well as a goat specific protein/mineral block with added copper and they don't seem inclined to chew on anything else.

Depending on your land type you may need to trim their feet anywhere from a couple times a year to every month. Trimming is super easy, just get a pair of hoof scissors (they cost like 20 bucks, some use garden shears) and trim off the flappy excess.

Mine live in old dog houses and that works well. Once hay falls on the ground it is invisible to them so I feed mine in a slow feed net just like the horses. What little does fall out the horses are happy to clean up.
    03-16-2012, 01:18 PM
Thanks all for the replies! I am still unsure of whether to choose a mini donkey or a goat, but I do feel like I can be an effective goat owner now :)
    03-22-2012, 05:52 PM
One more reply, we had a stituation where I needed a pasture buddy, NOW. We were given a mini donkey stallion. This is what my observations have been over the past year. I would have rather had another horse, but he's cool.

Diego is so attached to my horse that he breys the entire time I am gone riding, he even starts when I start to lead my horse out of the pasture! Diego has escaped twice. The first time it was because I guess my trail ride was too long for him and the second time was because he wanted to see what was going on up in the barnyard. We have since fixed all the fencing, I hope.

I think the horse is ok with Diego, although the little thing bites where it can reach, in play, but how would you like that little thing bitting your belly all the time? As far as that goes, Diego really likes to play especially with a red ball.

Diego also breys if he is unhappy with something. This usually means I got out there too late to feed, he didn't like the hay, or there was/is a stranger in his pasture. They are incredibly good guard animals and have a natural defense with coyotes, which may also translate to dogs although Diego has so far liked all the dogs he has been introduced to.

We thought with a smaller animal, he wouldn't eat as much, WRONG! He eats just as mush as a horse and poops just as much too! In fact, let's talk about that. This silly animal likes to poop in the barn. On top of that, I think he uses it to mark his territory and goes on top of my horse's pile! In fact, I have to admit that cleaning up after the donkey isn't so bad since it's all in one pile!

Hooves are a bit of a problem. They are trimmed by a farrier, but the farrier has to know a donkeys' angles. They are more straight up and down. We have trimmed him ourselves and it was quite the show! Front was fine, but back was all kick, kick, kick!

I don't know his training past but he I guess he knows how to pull a cart. I have no idea how that works since he doesn't lead worth a darn. So maybe that's a donkey thing, but I guess they can pull quite a lot for their size, if you need help with that poop cart LOL!

Last thing, he is totally bombproof. Not sure if they all are, but my kids can run up to him from any direction screaming their fool heads off and he just freezes, puts his head down and waits. They can sit on him all day long and he just stands there. He is also the one who tries to run up to meet us, altough the horse with his longer legs wins every time.

Hope this helps :) Good luck with your decision!
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    06-16-2012, 11:00 PM
On this subject of horses and goats.... I don't know what to do. I got a baby goat to keep my horse company and the horse is scared to death of the goat! She went to snorting at the goat and was so nervous and loud that she sounded like a someone reving up their motor in a car!!! How long should I leave the goat in the horse stall before I let him out in the pasture with the horse.

I'm not sure this has been a good decision. I am afraid the horse is going to hurt or kill the goat. She DOES NOT seem to like him at all. Not sure what to do. The horse has never been around a goat or dogs for that matter. I have a little yappy Maltese that chases and runs the fence with her and if the horse could get to him he would be a dead dog.

I had both the horse and goat locked up in their stalls next to one another for a few hours today and the horse seemed to be doing somewhat better...but not really accepting her new buddie at all. She wouldn't even go to her stall last night. We put feed and hay in her stall thinking she would eventually go to her stall last night but the hay and feed were still in the stall this morning when we woke up! The horse stayed in the pasture all night and apparently never came near the stalls. Now when a horse won't come in to eat feed...that tells me she DOES NOT want to get anywhere near that goat. Will 3 or 4 days be long enough to determine whether this is going to work or not? Has anyone else experienced this?
    06-16-2012, 11:26 PM
Super Moderator
Ah yes, it's the "New little monster goat is going to eat me" syndrome.

It depends. Some horses will come around to a new type of animal within a few days and some will not. If your horses has never seen/smelled/heard a goat before, her reaction is not surprising.

I raise alpacas also, and even though both my horse and rescue donkeys had previously been exposed to just about every type of "farm" animal before arriving here, you can believe they all thought the alpacas were going to eat them. The donkeys were the worst.... lucky for them though they are not kept together. But it took weeks before any alpaca could even approach the fencline without setting off a flight reaction.

It may very well be that your horse may try to hurt the goat, especially a young goat. Young goats present themselves differently to other animals that adult goats. One of my mature goats won't hesitate to give a warning head tilt (which says I will ram you if you don't back off) to the llama if it reaches through the fence trying to steal food. But a young goat would have no idea how to behave or defend itself.

Plus, goats are strong herd animals and rely on each other for safety in numbers. On her own the goat may panic and not know how to flee an approaching horse.

As for how long to leave them seperate... well for ever how long it takes for them to get used to each other, for the horse to be completely accepting of the goat, and for the goat to be safe.

EDIT: After re-reading your post, this goat does not seem to be the right companion for your horse, especially if you think your horse will kill your dog.
    06-17-2012, 11:58 AM
It all depends on how well you know your horse. My 2 yr old mare was balls to the walls going after my 2 does, so I tied her near them, where she could wacth them being calm. Then after 15 or so min I would untie her lead her, over to them, and if she started getting agressive I would atop back her and retie her. Half a day of this and she was totally fine wih them. To the point that the goats ate outta the horses feed pans. I just showed her they weren't going to hurt her and that they were mine.... Like I do with my children. Good luck!
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