New kids on the block? Vets issue ‘must-know’ facts on keeping goats as Chinese Year of the Goat starts
17 February 2015
As Chinese New Year on Thursday (19 February 2015) ushers in
the Year of the Goat, leading veterinary experts have issued some surprising
facts and must-know advice to goat lovers and keepers in the UK.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Goat Veterinary
Society (GVS) have issued six facts that will surprise many but are critical to
ensure that goats are happy and healthy:
dogs are man’s best friends? Think again – goats are friendly, inquisitive and
gregarious animals, and genuinely love the company of humans.
Goats need friends – never keep a single goat on its own. Goats are herd
animals and will be miserable if kept by themselves. Two goats together is the absolute minimum.
are a must! Goats should never be kept
in a barren environment. Enrichment is key as goats love to climb onto and over
obstacles – a straw bale is a plaything for goats!
Great Escape (or The Goat Escape!) – goats are great escapologists. Any
building or paddock must be “goat proof.”
(as well as climbing and bouncing) – goats stand on their hind limbs and can reach
up to 2 metres above the ground.
but chewy – contrary to popular belief, goats won’t just eat anything as part
of their staple diet but they do love to nibble and chew on anything new. Keep
electric cables covered!
John Blackwell BVA
“As goats come into the
spotlight as the Chinese New year celebrations start, we would advise anyone
thinking of keeping these lovely animals to fully understand their needs and
what it takes to keep them happy and healthy. Our colleagues at the Goat
Veterinary Society are dedicated to improving the health and welfare of all
goats in the UK and have a wealth of information to offer. The Animal Welfare
Foundation’s leaflet on keeping goats is a good place to start and your local
vet will be able to advise on the health and welfare needs of your animals.”
David Harwood GVS
“Goats are delightful
animals to keep – inquisitive, intelligent and keen to be in the company of
both other goats and their human keepers, they are a joy to care for. But as
with any animal, they have specific welfare needs and these should never be
forgotten. For example, however well-meaning the owner, keeping a single goat
in a paddock with no enriching features to satisfy the goat’s curiosity and
energy and with no playmates will result in a lonely, stressed animal. Talk to
us and to the British Goat Society about whether or not a goat is the best
choice of animal for you and if you are going to keep goats, what sort of goats
would be best suited to you and your lifestyle.”
more information, please visit the Goat Veterinary Society website
The Animal Welfare Foundation’s “Introduction
to Goat Keeping” leaflet has more information and advice on keeping goats