What can I say, we absolutely love our goats.
But I’m not going to lie, I was super hesitant at first to get goats. Perhaps you can relate to the way I felt. Was this the right decision? Could we take care of them successfully? Can we afford to raise them? Are we really ready for this?
You know, the million plus questions that race through the mind.
But at some point, if you want to have goats, you just have to take a leap of faith. It turns out, raising goats was one of the best decision we’ve ever made for our family and homestead. No question about it, goats are just awesome natural wonders to have around. Pet or livestock, they make for great companion animals.
In short, the number of benefits when it comes to having goats is truly endless, but I’ve managed to capture the top 40 or so I’ve encountered first hand. Beyond the cuteness factor of one trillion, goats actually have a lot of fantastic benefits associated with them. This extends beyond the mental joy of having goats prance around. In reality, they can make a lot of financial sense.
With that said, let’s get to it. Go ahead and explore everything we’ve come to love about having goats at the Ridge Haven Ranch.
1. Hours of parkour entertainment
Whenever I think of the word parkour, I immediately go to the scene from The Office where Andy, Michael, and Dwight are jumping on everything from the reception desk to the cars in the parking lot. It’s one of my favorite moments from the office, aside from the Jello scene.
TV aside, I could watch our goats spend hours and hours jumping around in the pasture. They love to hop, climb and leap on and over everything. If it’s higher up than they are, tree branches, ramps, and tires will attempt the challenge. Even after crazy wipe outs and embarrassing losses of hoof traction, our goats get back up with a relentless spirit and go-to attitude.
Our goats are a free source of incredibly entertaining parkour activity. They keep us, our family members, and our neighbors amused with their wild, playful nature. It’s a beautiful tie-back to nature that’s enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age or interests. Even after being around our goats for a long time, we still stop watching their crazy free-spirited fun every time we enter the gate.
2. Land clearing ability for wildfire mitigation
Here in Colorado, the wildfire risk is severe, as in there have been multiple wildfires in our backyard over the past few years. Luckily, we have avoided them all. However, they say it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.
We’ve been using our goats for wildfire mitigation to do our part. Our goats devour tall, overgrown bushes and grasses, which in turn, eliminates ground fuel for wildfires. We also limb our trees with chainsaws to remove low-growth branches from becoming ladder fuels. We feed these branches to our goats, who consume all of the pine needles and a wee bit of bark. After running it through the chipper, the leftover pine slash becomes pure wood chips. Everyone wins here.
It would be impossible and insanely time-consuming for us to take a weed whacker across our entire mountain ranch lot. On the other hand, our goats love to climb rocks and seem to have an endless amount of energy for eating.
With goats, mowing the grass isn’t a thing.
3. Goats will eat noxious weeds that you don’t want to touch
Have you ever been camping in the woods and discovered a wonderful gift from nature that follows you home? I’m talking about poison ivy. Ugh, talk about no fun!
While you might think that poison ivy is a camping thing only, it and an entire assortment of other nasty weeds can easily be found nearby most rural homes. You can spend hours removing these weeds by hand, fearing the dreaded oil soaking into your skin, or skip all of that and put your goats to work for you.
Unlike humans, goats love, and I mean love, things like poison ivy, oak, and sumac. They’ll devour these leafy and thick plants like it’s no one’s business. Of course, they’ll eat other things, like Pampas grass, blooming yellow star thistle, mustard species, blackberry bushes, and more.
4. Goats keep invasive weeds in check without harmful pesticides.
We have a terrible Myrtle Spurge problem up here. It’s an invasive flowering plant with a very acidic root/stem that can quickly burn the skin. One of our neighbors was outside pulling these weeds from the ground and accidentally brushed her cheek with her glove. Within a few hours, she had developed a burning, stinging, and vibrant red check area. Curse you, Myrtle Spurge!
If we don’t pull these invasive species out by hand, they will eventually take over our mountain landscape. Luckily, our goats will gladly eat them in moderation. Allowing our goats to consume these invasive weeds from time to time can effectively reduce the growth and make a significant impact.
However, it’s not just Myrtle Spurge; in reality, many invasive plants are just a nightmare to deal with. Goats are an outstanding natural solution. Ditch the weed killer and go the natural route.
5. Goat hooves aerate and till the soil.
Your soil quality gradually improves as they move, play, and forage.
6. You can raise goats for meat.
Did you know that goats account for nearly 6% of the total red meat consumption across the globe? That’s quite a lot in the grand scheme of things. Lean, with fewer calories and sodium than most other livestock, and with higher iron and potassium levels, goat meat makes for an excellent meal. Not to mention, a simple 3-ounce steak has 23 grams of protein.
Yes, goat meat has a minimal gamy flavor, but most folks find it remarkable. In my opinion, you only get a robust gamy flavor when butchering older, castrated male goats. Your typical goat can produce somewhere around 40 lbs. of meat. Save the not-so-edible or enjoyable parts for the pups; they’ll love goat meat too.
7. You can raise goats for milk.
Ditch regular cow’s milk and go for goat. Goat milk is far more nutritious than coconut, almond, rice, and soy varieties. Not to mention, goat milk packs more protein per serving.
Easy to digest, less of an allergen issue thanks to Alpha S2 casein, and rich in vitamin A, there are many things to love about goat milk.
8. Goats are great for cheese.
With a higher fat content than cow’s milk cheese, goat cheese is a unique experience for the taste buds. Some find it tangier with a beautiful aroma. The slightly yellow to white colored natural treat can be crafted into all sorts of wonders, including brie, camembert, cheddar, Gouda, and blue cheese.
9. Goats can generate agro-tourism opportunities.
Show off your goats and get paid handsomely by curious kids and adults alike. Use your farm or ranch as an experience to give tours, teach and share stories with others. Best of all, you can use goats as a way to detract the younger generation from their phones and devices.
10. You can breed goats for a profit.
Some folks raise prized breeding bucks and charge “per use”; others raise baby goats and sell them to others seeking to start their farm or ranch. If genetics are something you want to focus on, then you can grow your ranch as large as you wish to develop the goats with the perfect characteristics, such as fiber, bill of health, and so on.
11. You can show your goats in competitions.
Fun for all ages and an age-old activity, goats give you the ability to enjoy friendly livestock competitions. Having goats will provide you with the experience of learning how to manage everything from grooming to breeding, health, training, and much more.
12. Goat poop is garden gold.
You’ll find small oval balls/pellets by the dozen when raising goats, scattered virtually everywhere. But not to worry, it’s rich in things like nitrogen and phosphate and makes for the ultimate garden additive. These little balls are easy to collect and save for future gardening purposes, and best of all, it doesn’t smell. Not to mention, goat poop also doesn’t attract unwanted insects.
Interestingly, I’ve read stories about companies using goat poop to source argan oil for cosmetic products. They would extract the argan oil from the poop of tree-climbing goats in Morocco. These goats would consume Argania tree fruit, and when the oil-rich kernel passed, well, you get the idea.
13. You can raise goats for 4-H projects.
It can be tough to get kids outdoors these days and even tougher to teach them good values and habits. Luckily, with goats, you give your kids tasks and chores around caring for these animals. Soon it becomes rewarding, and they understand the meaning of responsibility and compassion. If you’re inclined, you can teach them how the cycle of nature works, from birth to death. Goats can be excellent learning experiences, not to mention pets, that engage kids; many times far better than technology.
14. You can raise goats for luxurious fiber.
While everyone thinks of alpacas when it comes to soft, luscious fibers, our go-to for sourcing fiber is goats. Cashmere goats produce cashmere, while Angora goats produce Mohair. Harvest their fleece, and you can spin yarn, product thread, knit, crochet, etc. Blankets, towels, socks, the world is your oyster with goat fiber.
Aside from fiber, you can also tan their hide and utilize the leather.
15. Goats can be your best friends.
I love our three dogs, but our goats have become some of our best animal friends. Goats are such gentle and friendly creatures that it’s hard not to enjoy their company as pets. Even if you’re gloomy or feeling down, goats are always there with a playful, spunky attitude to lift your spirits. Watch their moves and funky grooves in the pasture, and you’re sure to crack a smile.
Our goats will climb into our laps, chew our shirt sleeves, and follow us around the pasture. They are sweet, love being petted, and fun to run around with. So when people ask me if goats are good pets or livestock animals, I say yes times a million.
16. You can make goat milk soap.
Goat milk soap is a tremendous benefit of raising goats that features a wealth of rich fatty acids. These fatty acids can nourish and moisturize the skin and help you develop a strong barrier. Alpha-hydroxy acids and PH levels similar to humans can also soften the skin.
If you want to ditch the synthetically packed commercial soaps, then goat soap is simply the way. Some say it reduces acne; others claim it’s less allergenic and filled with vitamins. You’ll find plenty of natural emollients and triglycerides in goat soap too. Overall, there are just a lot of things to love.
17. You can raise goats to be pack animals.
While not all too common these days, goats can carry light packs for hiking, travels, and farm work—a small benefit of raising goats, but one that offers some utility.
18. You can use goat poop as fuel for burning.
Can you believe it? Goat poop burns with a somewhat pleasant smell and clean nature compared to other alternatives. If you’re into things like biochar and soil amendments, goat poop is a great option to consider.
19. Raising goats is inexpensive.
Get your loafing shed or barn taken care of, plus your fence, and your highest cost will be hay. You can harvest your own hay if you’ve got the land and equipment. For those who don’t want to go through the hassle, you can find hay bales for sale in virtually any rural farm area. We’re paying up to $10 per bale for super high-quality hay when we need it on short notice. You can find it for much cheaper if you’re willing to look and develop friendships. Regardless of the cost, goats don’t eat too much compared to other livestock. You can expect goats to eat around 3% of their body weight daily in dry matter.
Pellets and minerals aren’t all that expensive, and medical bills can vanish if you are willing to do your herd maintenance. We spent under fifty bucks on hoof trimmers, an automatic water bowl, and other misc—items like collars and leashes.
20. Goats won’t compete with cattle for grass.
Yes, goats will consume grass but generally only to the tune of 30%, with 70% of their diet consisting of non-grass species. Their ability to browse and forage means more grass for your other livestock.
21. Goats are easy to train and handle
Some can be timid, wiggly, and whatnot, but for the most part, goats are super easy to handle and train. You don’t need to be a goat expert to get started, anyone can do it, including first time farmers and ranchers.
23. Raising goats is a gateway to other livestock.
Aside from chickens, bees and other pets like dogs, goats are a great way to get your toes wet. We started with chickens and then later progressed to goats, and once that happened, we felt invigorated to add additional animals to our ranch. Raising goats gives you a sense of confidence.
24. Goats aren’t noisy creatures.
Yes, they can scream as adults sometimes (I’m sure you’ve seen the viral singing comparison videos), but we find the young goats to be super quiet and peaceful. When they sound off the alarm, they sneeze. I wouldn’t recommend them for the suburbs, however.
25. Goats have a long lifespan.
I love that goats can live for 15 to 18 years or longer.
26. Goats are social animals.
They do extraordinary with children of all ages, unknown neighbors/visitors, and even dogs. Our goats were very affectionate and personable without any training.
27. Goats can cohabitate with other animals.
One benefit to raising goats is that they can live alongside other livestock such as chickens with no issues.
28. Goats don’t take up a whole lot of space.
You can get by with a small pasture and bundles of hay when raising goats. You don’t need a full-sized or medium-sized barn; a simple loafing shed will do the trick.
29. You can rent out your goat.
Seriously, rent-a-goat is a thing now. You can find all sorts of people who need brush cleared in exchange for payment. In places like Boise and California, they use goats for wildfire risk reduction.
30. Goats are hardy animals and adapt to most climates
No special treatment is required; beyond feeding and the essentials, goats are relatively self-sufficient. They can handle freezing winter temperatures and tolerate the summer heat.
31. There are numerous goat breeds available to choose from
One benefit of raising goats is that you aren’t stuck with just a handful of breeds. There are many different breeds, each with their own characteristics and quirks. Take, for instance, the fainting goat, angora, Boer, Nigerian dwarf goat, kamori, pygmy, and many others.
32. Goat products are in high demand.
Let’s face it; the natural product market is booming up and up. People nowadays want their goods chemical free and humanely created, and I don’t blame them. From milk to soaps, fibers, and beyond, virtually anything you make from your goats can often command a higher price tag.
33. Goat yoga is a thing.
Need I say more? Imagine doing yoga with your herd of goats or being able to charge for it and let other folks enjoy their company.
34. Goats are brilliant and curious creatures.
In my opinion, this is one of the best benefits when raising goats. Goats deserve way more credit than they get. They understand when they are called by name, bravely investigate things that interest them (including dogs four times their size), and have a strong level of intelligence for training. I find goats to be remarkable, loving creatures, and I wouldn’t want a range or farm without them!