What are the costs for urban goats?

nubian goat
Photo credit: warriorwoman531
Q:

I live in Eugene, and am interested in keeping 2 mini-Nubians goats. Do you have any information available on expected expenses of keeping this breed (in town) per year? I'm wondering about both initial expenses (such as fencing, shelter, climbing toys, milk buckets and jars, etc.) and continuing expenses (feed, breeding/disbudding, health care, milk filters, hoof trimming, etc.).

- Lane County, Oregon
A:

The cost to keep a goat in town or out of town are very similar. Unfortunatley, most calculations are based upon keeping 50 to 100 animals. Items like fencing, shelter, are extremely variable and depend upon your individual situation. I would recommend getting a tightly woven fence (small holes) as goats are escape artists. If they escape and cause damage of any kind you will be liable, so it is essential to check your homeowners/renters insurance policy. Climbing items can be anything really - and most times are fairly inexpensive if you use your imagination. Milking supplies can be purchased used if sanitized well. Checking places like craiglist has yielded many potential items.

Goats are very social animals and while you say you are getting two, be aware that they need a lot of human interaction to stay happy. They are also very noisy and many times can be very noisy when people are away, bothering neighbors who may complain to the city.

For health, they will need vaccinations given on a proper schedule and every area is a bit different. You will want to establish a relationship with a vet who sees goats, and can prescribe vaccinations and a worming schedule. Normally, goat owners give these vaccines themselves, but that depends on your comfort level. Hoof trimming needs to occur several times a year - mostly done at the same time as vaccines. Hooves are susceptible to disease and must be treated if they become infected. Keeping them out of the mud helps a great deal.

As for feeding, goats prefer a mostly browse diet and even if provided hay and grain will choose to munch on whatever they can get to - roses, trees, woody shrubs, and other typical landscape items that could be poisonous. Feed costs vary widely depending on the amount of available hay and the quality of hay feeding.

Chrissy Lucas
Education Program Assistant
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