Are you aware of the top busting myths about goats?
I’m sure you’ve heard of some of these. Some of them are obvious. But others you just may not know to be true until you raise goats for a number of years.
After a decade of raising goats, I’m prepared to share the Top 10 myths and why they are myths.
In this post, I’m going to tell you:
The 10 Top Busting Myths About Goats
How keeping goats with horns
Honestly give you my answer to your question: “Are Goats Good Pets to Have?”
Myth #1: They eat anything and everything
When I first got goats, I believed that they would eat every weed. I thought my pastures would be clean as a whistle.
But I learned different.
Some of these “goats will eat anything” myths include:
~ They eat anything of value (True if you value rose bushes and lilac bushes).
~ They’ll eat tin cans and trash. (Not True)
~ They Only Eat Weeds. Not true. They do eat poison ivy and certain weeds. But they go for small tree leaves first and then grass.
~Feed them like sheep or cattle. You can feed them with sheep or cattle for a short time but it’s not sustainable. Goat’s really truly need trace minerals in their diet different than sheep. They need copper and B-Vitamins. They need a 2:1 Calcium to Phosphorus ratio and 16% protein.
And they need a feed that they are going to eat ALL of to get all the good nutrients. If I fed a mixed feed with pellets in it, some goats wouldn’t eat the protein pellets. So, they weren’t getting their protein!
I learned that keeping the feed the same consistency (all pelleted) is the best way to be sure the goats are getting the most out of their diet. It’s simple, but they really aren’t that simple. And that’s Myth #2.
Myth #2: Goats are simple creatures.
The truth is that most goats are selfish creatures. Very selfish.
Here are some common thoughts that support this myth:
~ Put them out to pasture and forget about them (They won’t let you forget about them).
~ They are cheap to care for (For the most part).
~ You can only have one goat (Lonely goats are unhappy goats)
You see, I get questions all the time about how to manage goats easier and cheaper. Yes, you can put them out to pasture but you still have to provide minerals. You need to make sure the grass and forage is proper nutrient levels. Then, you won’t see them until they aren’t getting what they need.
When they aren’t getting what they need on pasture, then they get a little bit more expensive. They could get sick, which requires vet care. They might require better nutrition, which requires feed.
Just listen to them. And watch them and their body condition. You do need to manage your goats and they will tell you what they need in their own way.
Myth #3: Goats are stupid creatures
You might think they are stupid but they have one thing on their mind most times. Themselves.
When it comes to living for themselves, they are smart. But you have to be smarter.
For example, when I take my goats off their winter feed and put them out to pasture, they will stand at the fence amidst green grass and cry to me. No. I know there is great nutrition and they would, too, if they would just quit thinking about themselves. Once they figure out that they do have green grass and green brush to eat, they have an amazing transformation.
And you truly won’t see or hear from them for months. And they will stay in their pen.
False! Most goats have horns naturally. Usually if you see a goat without horns, they have been disbudded as a baby.
And as for the beards, I have lots of does with beards. I have a theory that does with beards make amazing mothers. There’s no scientific truth to that, but if you look at my herd, you will find lots of does with beards. I’ve kept them in the herd because they’re great mothers.
Myth #6: Keep Control of Worms by Deworming on a Schedule
This is a myth I believed when I first started raising goats. But, now I believe that deworming on a schedule will only make things worse.
The best way and most efficient way to control worms in your herd is to just watch and be proactive. Do famacha regularly. Then, fecal sample does that look thin.
If they look healthy, leave them alone. Oh yeah – And rotating pastures with cows is the best way I have found to control worms. Goats do amazing out on pastures stocked appropriately and with plenty of browse. If you have this environment for your goats, you’ll have healthy goats that you won’t hardly ever have to deworm.
Myth #7: Goat milk and meat tastes gamey and tough
This is a “myth” based upon opinion and experience. You’ll always just have an opinion if you’ll just believe this myth and never try it. I have never tasted milk or meat from a goat that was tough or game-like.
People who have believed the above myths and have treated their goats as such have probably tasted milk and meat that tastes bad. But if a goat has been raised well and fed well, it’s going to taste great. Goat meat taste and texture also depends on how it is cooked. I want to invite and challenge you to try goat meat or milk again from a goat that has been raised properly and loved.
I‘m not sure where this one came from. But, it’s one that I keep hearing.
For the record, a polled goats definition is one that is naturally born without horns. So, it means polled goats are hornless goats. Getting a polled goat through breeding requires some knowledge of genetics. And that definitely does not have to be using genetics that are inbred.
And there’s no scientific proof that genetic problems are the essence of breeding polled goats. In the 1940’s there was an article published by USDA that linked polled goats with increased chances for producing hermaphrodism, which is an sterile animal with both male and female reproductive organs. However, this paper and theory was never proven. Which makes it still a myth.
In college genetics class, I learned there are dominant and recessive genes for physical properties. For horns, the polled gene is dominant(P) and the horned gene is recessive (p).
So, knowing that information, if the two parents possess that P gene, there’s a better chance for the offspring to be naturally polled.
Thinking about it another way (P=polled gene, p=horned gene):
pp = Homozygous horned – cannot produce polled offspring unless bred to polled mate.
Pp = Heterozygous polled – can produce polled and horned offspring, unless bred to homozygous polled mate.
PP = Homozygous polled – cannot produce horned offspring, regardless of mate.
So, if you truly want to raise polled goats, you can! Go for it. It’ll take science and planning to achieve it but it’s totally safe and doable.
Myth #9: They are aggressive and headbutt people
Here’s the deal. Goats can be this way if they were raised to be this way. And this is very much depended on how they were treated when they were young.
But this is not the way for MOST goats. Most goats are very friendly and sweet.
The truth is, you need to give goats (especially bucks) space when they are young. Yes, you should love on them. But don’t allow them to develop bad habits that will carry on with them to adult hood.
Animals are known to be more aggressive during their natural breeding seasons. How long does goat rut last? Typical breeding season for goats is from the end of July to the end of January.
If you do have a goat that is bad about aggressive behavior, for your own safety it’s best to just get rid of it. They can get this way. But it’s not the look of goats as a whole.
Myth #10: Girls are called Nannies and Boys are called Billies
Please call girls “does” and boys “bucks” from here on out. These are the proper names for goat genders.
Also appropriate: Wethers for castrated males. Doelings for young baby doe kids under one year of age. And bucklings for young intact males under one year of age.
The nanny and billy term is old fashioned and should be kept in the past. It’s a term you’ll hear grandpa saying. So, now you know the updated terms: Doe and Buck.
Knowing and overcoming these top 10 myths can help you to answer the question whether or not are goats good pets to have.
Are Goats Good Pets to Have?
So, should you get goats? Do goats make good pets? Are they good animals to have and incorporate into your family?
Well, after raising goats for 10 years, I think goats are great. And I’ve been able to bust some of the myths I’d heard about goats in order to produce truth for you to make the right decision.
Thus the answers to the 10 Top Busting Myths about Goats. I hope this post has helped you to find some answers and to make some decisions.
~ Much Love ~
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I look forward to reading your articles on goat raising. I am a newbie of 1 year and at times feel overwhelmed as none of this comes naturally, except loving on them. From 2 does last year to adding a buck and now 3 youngsters I have bit off a little more than I can chew...lol. The breed is nigerian dwarfs. Open to new adventures and lots of reading.
Saturday 2nd of June 2018
Glad to have you here, Patricia! Nigerian dwarfs are adorable goats. I'm curious as to what you think is the most overwhelming part of raising goats. Or the most frustrating? Why do you think you've bit off more than you can chew? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
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I am so glad you are here. My name is Mindy! I am a millennial farmer, Mom to two little girls, teacher and listener. I believe you can live and work the way you want to without the worry, fear and overwhelm. I am here to encourage and inspire you to figure out what you want and live your best life!