Approved by Dr. Luqman Javed

Goats are incredibly entertaining creatures that have a lot of dog-like qualities. They are intelligent, curious, friendly, and can be excellent companions. While it’s not a secret that goats are traditional livestock animals, people often wonder if you can take a goat out of the barnyard and opt to raise them indoors.

As much as you may like to turn a goat into a tried-and-true house pet, you shouldn’t. Even the smallest goat breeds should not be raised indoors. Of course, there are certain exceptions to bringing them inside temporarily, but overall, these animals just aren’t meant for life on the inside, unless it’s a barn.

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The 5 Reasons You Should Not Raise Goats Indoors

1. It Can Lead to Serious Health Problems the Goat

Goats spend most of their day browsing a variety of vegetation and exploring their environment. If you confine them to the indoors, the chances are likely they’ll start gnawing on something they shouldn’t. Goats that have been let in the house have been known to destroy a variety of household objects, including electrical cables, curtains, and carpets.

If a goat ingests random things around the house it can result in the need for surgical intervention and could also lead to other health issues (including heart issues). Bringing them into the home and allowing them access to all the things we humans keep around the house is not a good idea.

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Image Credit: papaya45, Pixabay

2. They Need Space to Roam and Forage

Goats will naturally roam the pasture or yard feeding on plant life. They thrive outdoors unless it’s extremely cold (or extremely hot). If you confine them indoors you will be taking away their ability to express these natural behaviors, which could lead to a lot of stress and destructive behavior inside the home.

3. They May Not Get Along with Household Pets

Goats are extremely social animals and should never be kept alone, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get along swimmingly with the other household pets. Goats should have other goats or livestock as companions and may not always get along with cats or dogs.

4. Goats Can Be Destructive

Even if your goat has been disbudded and lacks the horns to cause damage through the home, they can still wreak quite a bit of havoc. Goats are active, curious, and always getting into something. They will climb and jump up on furniture and any surfaces that will hold them. Their hooves can easily cause damage to your flooring, too.

They aren’t responsive to commands in a way that a dog is, so you can’t expect them to be obedient, either. If you aren’t dealing with a pygmy or Nigerian dwarf goat, you could be dealing with an animal that can be very large in size. A goat in the house may just be the equivalent of a bull in a china shop.

Image Credit: FitMum, Pixabay

5. It’ll Get Messy

Anecdotally, people have successfully worked with goats for a certain level of potty training, but you’ll never reach the level of potty training that you can for a dog. Potty training isn’t necessarily going to be effective on all goats, either. Some are just more willing than others when it comes to training.

It’s also important to keep in mind that when people attempt to potty train goats, this involves teaching them to urinate in a certain area. But goats don’t have the same type of control over their bowel movements and will go anywhere and everywhere.

Not only would you have to worry about the goats urinating and defecating all over your house, but they will also be knocking stuff over and dragging things out of their normal place.

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Reasons to Bring a Goat Indoors

While we’ve established that goats shouldn’t be raised indoors, there are certain circumstances where it may be necessary to bring them in and care for them.

A Kid That Requires Bottle Feeding

Not all bottle-fed babies are going to require a stay in the house but there may be cases when it’s best for the kid’s health to bring them inside and keep a watchful eye on them. During the first few weeks of a goat’s life, they will be dependent on milk for nutrition. This is a very crucial time that requires a strict and consistent feeding schedule.

Whether the baby has been abandoned by the mom, the mother passed away, or she’s not producing enough milk, sometimes you need to step in and play the parent role. To bring them in the house you’ll want to have a comfy pen that is far from any drafts in the house. You will want supplies to keep messes to a minimum and make sure that you get the kid out and socialize with the herd when you can.

a kid (baby goat) being bottle fed with milk
Image Credit: MrsBrown, Pixabay

They Need Shelter from Extreme Weather

Goats are very sensitive to cold and intense shifts in climate. They will need to remain dry and protected, especially from the intense winds when the temperature drops during the winter. They typically do great with an enclosed shelter and plenty of warm bedding but if you notice any of your goats falling victim to extreme weather, you may want to bring them inside to nurse them back to health in extreme cases.

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Setting Up Your Yard for Goats

Just because you can’t keep goats in the house permanently doesn’t mean you can’t give them a luxurious, goat-friendly setup outdoors. Here’s an overview of the necessities you need to have the goat’s paradise set up in your yard.

The 6 Things Your Goat Yard Needs

1. Adequate Shelter

As we mentioned, goats are more sensitive to weather extremes and will need adequate shelter to protect them from the elements. They need a comfortable place to seek shelter from the wind, rain, and cold. It’s a good idea to have an enclosed shelter that keeps them secure and comfortable. Depending on the size of your goats, you will need to ensure you have enough space for their body size and the size of your herd.

2. Bedding

Wood shavings or straws are the two main go-to’s for goat bedding. They are comfortable and do a great job soaking up urine. Both of these will also provide extra warmth during the winter, which is very important.

3. Heavy Duty Fencing

Goats are escape artists and will try their best to break free from the confines of their fencing. You will need to prepare for this by having a sturdy, heavy-duty fence in place to keep them in. Reinforcing their fencing is always a good idea, and keep up with regular checks to make sure there are no gaps or holes, as they like to sneak through very small spaces.

Brown and white goat by the fence
Image Credit: Karen Dole, Shutterstock

4. Feeder

Goats are browsers that spend a lot of time eating. When you get all set up with your goat supplies, you will want a feeder (and feed, of course.) Goats will probably put a lot of stress on the feeder by climbing on it and pushing up against it, so make sure it’s durable.

5. Water Bucket

Goats and all of your livestock should always have access to fresh, clean water. You can get a bucket large enough to accommodate several animals and put it in a place where it won’t get too much debris in there. This is something you will need to check on and clean regularly.

6. Enrichment

Goats love anything they can climb on. If you want to provide them with some extra enrichment in their environment, consider flattening off a tree stump or give them some other surface they can enjoy like a bench, a wooden spool, ramps, or tables. They will also thoroughly enjoy having a scratcher for when they need to battle an itch.

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Final Thoughts

Even if you are keeping your goat as a pet, they should be kept safely and securely outdoors. Goats are not built for indoor domesticated living and will thrive best in a securely fenced-in pasture with an enclosed shelter and appropriate bedding. There are plenty of things you can do to give your goat a comfortable and luxurious life in the barnyard and it never hurts to get out of the house and spend quality time with them outdoors.

Featured Image Credit: Artur Pawlak, Pixabay