SETTING UP YOUR PROPERTY FOR GOATS
Natasha Groeneveld from Springhill Farm
There are three key elements to setting up your property for miniature goats, and preparation in advance of introducing your animals will mean few headaches once they arrive. You will need goat-proof fencing, appropriate shelter and easy access to water.
Fencing is one of the most important things you need in place before bringing your new goats home. Miniature goats are naturally curious, intelligent, and agile so secure fencing is vital.
All fences should be around 1-1.2m in height and be tensioned so there is no sag.
Miniature goats are actually more likely to go under a fence than over, so you'll need to check around each boundary to ensure no gaps at the bottom of the fence for them to slip through.
Fences needs to keep the goats in, and also keep predators out, it will depend on what predators you have in your area how you will need to manage this.
Ringlock mesh fencing is my preferred type to use and electric fencing is also an effective choice, but it should be used in combination with other types of fencing.
Its best to build good fences from the outset, or your goats will learn that they can get out and keep testing the fence.
A goat shelter is an important structure for keeping goats safe and healthy. The shelter should protect the goats from harsh weather conditions, such as cold, rain, and wind, as well as from predators. It should also provide enough space for the goats to move around and lie down comfortably.
If you live in an area with high rainfall you will need to provide everything they need inside the shelter to live comfortably for a few days as its unlikely they will venture out in the rain to eat and drink. Feed stations inside the shelter will stop your hay getting wet and allow them to eat while staying safe and dry.
A good goat shelter should be well-ventilated, with openings to allow fresh air to circulate, but also should not be drafty. Proper flooring and bedding should be provided to keep the shelter clean and dry. I like to used a gravel base around 150mm think to keep the floor elevated and free from mud and water. I attach a shade sail mesh over the top so its easy to clean out while still allowing for drainage of urine.
Goats need at least a 3 sided shelter. Generally a 2m x 2m space will work for between 2-4 miniature goats. Overall, a well-designed goat shelter helps to ensure the health and wellbeing of the goats.
Goats can consume a lot of water. Setting up water access to each paddock as part of your set up is a great idea. Its super easy to set up an automatic horse trough and costing less than $200. With a connector, you can simply plug in a normal hose fitting and your goats will have 24/7 access to water.
Natasha Groeneveld runs Springhill Farm one of our leading show studs based in the beautiful Illawarra region of NSW.