Can You Have Goats in Your Backyard? Tips & Legalities Explained

can you have goats in your backyard

Have you ever thought about keeping goats in your backyard? Maybe you’ve been considering it for some time but are unsure about where to start. In this article, we will explore the legalities of raising goats in your backyard and provide some useful tips to help you get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the legal considerations involved with backyard goat ownership is crucial.
  • Choosing the right breed and number of goats for your backyard depends on several factors, including space and temperament.
  • Creating a goat-friendly environment is essential for the health and well-being of your animals.
  • Proper feeding and care are crucial to keeping your backyard goats healthy and happy.

Legalities of Keeping Goats in Your Backyard

Before bringing goats into your backyard, it’s crucial to understand the legal considerations involved. Regulations and laws surrounding goat ownership can vary depending on where you live and the zoning laws in your area.

If you live in a rural area, you may have fewer restrictions on keeping goats in your backyard as opposed to urban or suburban areas. Zoning laws may restrict the number of goats you can keep or even prohibit backyard goat ownership altogether.

Most areas require permits or licenses for backyard goat keeping. The process of getting a permit usually includes an inspection of the living area for the goats to ensure it meets specific requirements. Some cities may also require a specific amount of land per goat to avoid overcrowding.

Depending on where you live, there may be additional specific requirements such as shelter, fencing, or distance from neighboring properties. It’s essential to do your research and contact your local authorities to understand the regulations in your area before bringing goats into your backyard.

Legalities of Keeping Goats in Your Backyard

If you’re unsure about the legalities involved in backyard goat keeping, it’s best to contact your local zoning office. They can provide you with information on the regulations and laws surrounding goat ownership in your area.

Before you start building your goat pen, make sure you have all the necessary permits and have followed all the requirements set out by your local government. By doing so, you’ll avoid any legal issues and keep yourself and your goats safe.

Selecting the Right Breed and Number of Goats for Your Backyard

When it comes to selecting the right breed of goat for your backyard, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Not all breeds are suitable for small spaces, and some may require more specialized care than others. Additionally, the number of goats you can keep will depend on the amount of available space you have.

First, consider the size of the breed. Miniature breeds, such as Nigerian Dwarf goats, are well-suited to backyard environments as they generally stand less than 2 feet tall and weigh under 100 pounds. Standard-sized breeds, such as Saanens or Alpines, may be too large for a small backyard. In general, goats need at least 200 square feet per animal to thrive.

Second, consider the temperament of the breed. Some breeds are more docile and friendly than others, making them easier to handle and less likely to cause damage or disturbances. For example, Nubians are known for their vocalization and can be quite loud, while Boers are more laid-back and easy-going.

Third, consider the purpose of owning goats. If you are interested in milk or fiber production, certain breeds will be better suited than others. For example, LaManchas are known for their production of rich milk, while Angoras produce luxurious mohair.

Finally, consider the number of goats you can keep. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need at least 200 square feet per goat. In addition to space, you’ll need to consider feed costs and other expenses associated with goat ownership. A single goat may require around 2-4 pounds of hay per day, so keep that in mind when deciding how many goats to keep.

Setting Up Your Backyard for Goats

Creating a comfortable and safe living space for your backyard goats is essential for their well-being. Here are some key considerations to ensure your goats have the ideal living conditions:

Goat Housing

Your goats need a secure and comfortable shelter that protects them from extreme weather conditions and predators. The size of the housing area will depend on the number of goats you have. As a general rule, allocate at least 15-20 square feet per goat. The shelter should also be well-ventilated and provide ample bedding for your goats to rest and sleep on.

Backyard Goat Fencing

Proper fencing is crucial to keep your goats secure and prevent them from wandering off your property. Consider sturdy fencing materials such as woven wire or welded livestock panels with smaller openings at the bottom to prevent escape. You should also ensure there’s enough space for your goats to graze and forage and that there’s protection from any nearby hazards such as ponds or pools.

Creating a Goat-Friendly Backyard

Goats need plenty of space to move around and explore their environment. They enjoy climbing, playing, and foraging for food. Consider planting some low maintenance trees and shrubs that your goats can nibble on, provide them with various toys, and create climbing opportunities for them. Shade is also crucial for their well-being, so ensure there are shaded areas in their grazing and resting areas.

What Are the Legalities and Tips for Having Goats in Your Backyard?

Goat in backyard requirements can vary depending on your location and local laws. Before getting goats, check if there are any zoning or permit restrictions. Ensure enough space for them to roam safely and provide adequate shelter. Regular veterinary care, proper fencing, and a balanced diet are crucial. Additionally, goats are herd animals, so consider having more than one for companionship. Researching breed suitability and understanding their behavior will help ensure a successful and rewarding experience.

Feeding and Care for Backyard Goats

Feeding and caring for your backyard goats is essential to their overall health and well-being. As herbivores, goats require a diet rich in fiber and nutrients. A healthy diet can prevent health issues, such as digestive problems and parasitic infections.

Here are some tips for feeding your backyard goats:

  • Provide access to clean, fresh water at all times.
  • Offer free-choice hay, which should make up the majority of their diet. Alfalfa and grass hay are the most common options.
  • Supplement their diet with grains and minerals, such as corn, oats, and barley.
  • Avoid feeding your goats foods that are toxic to them, such as avocado, chocolate, and rhubarb.

When it comes to caring for your backyard goats, it’s important to establish a routine to maintain their health and prevent illness. Here are some care tips:

  • Provide a clean and dry living environment, with proper bedding and ventilation.
  • Trim their hooves regularly to prevent overgrowth and disease.
  • Administer vaccinations and deworming medications as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Regularly groom your goats, especially during shedding season, to prevent matting and skin infections.

Remember to always consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice regarding the feeding and care of your backyard goats.


Congratulations! You’re now equipped with the knowledge and skills to raise goats in your backyard. Remember, before bringing goats into your backyard, make sure to check the goat ownership regulations and laws in your area.

When selecting the right breed of goats, consider their size, temperament, and the amount of milk or fiber they produce.

For a comfortable living environment, provide adequate shelter, bedding, and fencing in your backyard. And when it comes to feeding and care, ensure your goats have access to a balanced diet, regular grooming, hoof trimming, and vaccination.

By following these tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of raising happy and healthy goats in your backyard.


Q: Can I legally keep goats in my backyard?

A: The legality of keeping goats in your backyard varies depending on your location. It is essential to research and understand the regulations and laws surrounding goat ownership in your area, including zoning restrictions, permits, and any specific requirements.

Q: What breed of goats are suitable for backyard environments?

A: Not all goat breeds are suitable for backyard environments. When selecting a breed, consider factors such as size, temperament, and desired output (milk or fiber production). Researching and choosing a breed that fits your backyard setup is crucial.

Q: How many goats can I keep in my backyard?

A: The number of goats you can keep effectively in your backyard will depend on the available space and resources. Consider factors such as the size of your backyard and the amount of food, water, and shelter you can provide.

Q: How should I set up my backyard for goats?

A: Creating a suitable living environment for your backyard goats is important. This includes providing appropriate housing, such as a shelter and bedding, and ensuring secure fencing to keep your goats safe. Consider the space requirements and the need for grazing areas.

Q: What do backyard goats eat, and how should I care for them?

A: Goats have specific dietary needs, including forage, hay, and supplementation. Research and provide a balanced diet for your goats. Additionally, practice general care such as grooming, hoof trimming, vaccination, and parasite control to keep your goats healthy and happy.

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