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What You Need BEFORE Bringing Home Your First Goat

Almost 11 years ago, my husband brought home my first goat. The cutest little black pigmy goat I’d ever seen. So small and sweet! When I saw this cute goat wandering around by himself, a little lost, I knew he needed a companion. So we went back the next day and got another one. A white little ornery bugger. So we had a black goat and a white goat we named Felix and Festus.

Goat . Goat

We didn’t have fencing for them, so they wandered around looking for us and followed us everywhere. They soon became a part of the pack of dogs (we had three at the time) and would follow us…literally…everywhere! Down the lane, up the lane…across the field…and they would have traveled in the back of the pickup with the dogs if they could have figured out how to jump up. (They just couldn’t manage that jump with their extra short legs.) I’ve never seen a goat more indignant than those two when they realized they had been left behind.

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If you would like to watch this video you can watch it on this page OR read the information below or BOTH!

If you like this information, my YouTube channel is full of even more goat information. Please click this link: Delci | A Life of Heritage and subscribe! You can also click this link to watch this video on YouTube: First Goat Checklist

I had all the love for my first two goats…but that doesn’t mean I was prepared for them. We didn’t have fencing, I had no idea what kind of care they required and I didn’t track all the important information in a goat management binder like I should have. But the good news is that now you can be prepared!

Before bringing home your first goat and before your goats get settled in, you can compile this list (and more) to keep your goats happy and healthy! 


What you need in place for your first goat.


I’m so excited that you are looking into getting goats! If you aren’t convinced yet that you DO need goats, you need to read this:  your life needs a goat (← Check out these 13 reasons you need a goat!)

And don’t forget that a goat is a HERD animal…which means you get two! (Remember our second drive to get another goat?) I mean, once you’ve done your impressive convincing to get a goat, you automatically get TWO. Now, how cool is that??

Congratulations! It’s a great choice! And although there’s a learning curve with any new endeavor and adventure, you won’t regret it.

I’m going to be honest, there is A LOT of information in this post. But it is crucial for you to get to the bottom of all this. I’m going to leave you important next steps to take and then I’ll mention them again when you get to the bottom of this post as well. 

  1. Get your goat management binder on its way to your doorstep and into a binder, ready to be used. You can start familiarizing yourself with the important medications you will need to have on hand, and what you will need to look for on a daily basis to watch for sickness, and even how to trim goat hooves! (That’s an important part about raising goats–a must to know how to do!)
  2. Gain access and download the helpful Before Bringing Your First Goat Home Checklist in this link: FREE RESOURCE PAGE WITH CHECKLIST

Let’s get started. Before bringing home your first goat, these are the items and the list of what you should have in place. One of the best things you can do for your goats is to keep track of all the important health-related information in a management binder like the one below. This binder will also help you understand your goat’s health and what to do when they get sick. Oh, how I needed this binder 11 years ago when I first brought my cute little friends home!

Goat Essential ↓

Curious goat looking up

Goat Essentials and Info



  1. Goat Management Binder This bundle will be your brain and will help you raise healthy goats. it's full of to-do lists, checklists, record keeping sheets, and resource pages that will get your new (or old) goat herd off to a terrific start!
  2. Emergency Plan for Goats. This is so important! If you don't have this planned out, and an emergency pops up, you will feel shocked and fearful. But if you have a plan already mapped out, you can act in confidence!
  3. Basic Goat Health Information. This will give you an idea of the general goat health information that is important to know.
  4. Goat Resource Page. This page will give you a whole host of information about owning and raising goats. Check it out!
  5. You can begin your journey and begin to prepare for goats with this 5-Day Mini-Course which includes videos, PDF's, video transcripts, and access to my email if you have any questions: Prepare for Goats
  6. If you are interested in a goat course that will teach you everything you need to know to keep your goats healthy and how to help them when they aren't, please check this out: Raising Goats for Beginners  

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This is where you screw the pallet fence together



Pallet fence keeps goats safe inside


  1. Pallet Fence 
  2. Sheep/Cattle Panels
  3. Woven Wire
  4. Electric Fence


  1. Follow this Pinterest Board for more great ideas.


  1. For a more in-depth look at fencing options: Fencing For Goats
  2. You can also read more about fencing for goats: How to keep your goats from breaking out


** Always investigate the health of the goats in the original herd.

** If you are also bringing home a buck, the fencing you have between the does and bucks should be put together well and secure enough to keep them apart. If possible, have a space between the does and bucks so they aren't directly over the fence from each other. It seems to me that when a goat is in heat...and the tip of their nose can fit through a small space, they will be on the other side of the fence. Guaranteed.

** If you are bringing home goats to an established herd, always have a quarantine pen to keep the new goat(s) in for the first several weeks.

** Also think long-term, will you be having kids in the future? You will need a separate area to wean them, so think ahead and plan for it now as you build fences.

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✅ This is an ultra-useful tool for any goat owner:  Goat Management Binder –It’s full of checklists, record keeping paperwork, checklists, and health monitoring and tracking sheets.
Pallet goat house is so easy to make!



Pallet goat house fortified with more boards to keep out the wind


  1. By far these are the cheapest and easiest Pallet Goat Shelters to build for your goats. They are a perfect size and can be made very inexpensively and don't require a lot of room.
  2. Double Sized Pallet Goat Shelter
  3. Barns or Lean-To's
  4. Tarp covering cattle panels hooked to pallets
  5. A-Frame plywood house


  1. Follow this Pinterest Board for more great ideas and to see pictures of the ideas listed above.


  1. Goat Care in Winter (Video). This video will walk you through how to care for goats in the bitter cold of winter. (And it was recorded when it was well below 0!)
  2. You can also read more about shelters ideas here: The Goat House


  1. Your goats will need shelter from the rain, snow, wind, and elements. Goats, out of all the ruminants, struggle the most regulating their body temperature.
  2. Pneumonia Treatment and Signs (Video). Careful thought about shelters will help keep your goats warm and dry, which decreases their risk of pneumonia (Post), which is the leading killer in goats.

Pine Shaving for Bedding



Pine Shaving for Bedding


  1. Pine shavings
  2. Straw
  3. Hay


  1. If you want more detailed information about bedding: Bedding Ideas


  1. I use straw because my husband is able to bale straw after he gets our hay cut and baled. You can purchase shavings at your local feed store but also think outside the box. We purchased shavings in bulk from the Amish sawmill. Ask around and figure out what works for you and is the most cost-effective.
  2. Hay as a bedding source will most likely be more expensive. But in our barn where we stack the hay during the winter, all the loose leaves and stems fall and when kidding begins, I've used that for bedding. So, in this case I didn't buy hay specifically for bedding but have used the fallen hay for bedding.
Goat drinking water out of a hose



Water trough for animals.


  1. City water
  2. Well water
  3. Rain/snow runoff (using a rain water catchment system)
  4. Pond or stream


  1. Water trough or buckets


  1. Your water source could be seriously affecting your goats health. Read more about this here: Your Water Source is Affecting Your Goat Herd's Health


  1. Of course, water is essential. Milking goats will require fresh water available at all times. Lack of water isn't good for any goat or animal and will affect the amount of milk produced in your milking goats.
  2. Ruminant animals need water to help digest their food. Without it, they can get sick very quickly.
  3. If you have multiple pens, plan out how two pens can share one water trough.

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Goat feeder made out of pallets and old wood



Goat feeder made out of pallets and old wood


  1. Pallet goat feeder
  2. Garbage can feeder
  3. Goat round bale feeders
  4. Old futon hay feeder


  1. Follow this Pinterest Board for more great ideas. There are so many ideas and the ideas listed above can be seen on this Pinterest board.


  1. You can see how easy it is to build a pallet goat feeder here: pallet goat feeder


  1. Throughout the last 7 years since bringing home our first goats, I went through a lot of ideas and ways to feed them. It seems inevitable that there will be hay waste, but I settled on this Pallet Goat Feeder that I am happiest with.
  2. From my observations, any hay or grain that hits the ground has become "contaminated" in the goat's eyes and they most likely won't touch it.
  3. Feeding off the ground in a hay feeder may help prevent more digestion of worms that are on the ground.

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Goats in winter need a lot of hay to help keep them warm!



Hay in a windrow not baled yet


  1. Alfalfa
  2. Grass
  3. Peanut
  4. Clover


  1. Goat Hay Cost Calculator: You need to know how much hay to have for the entire year to get you through the winter months. Use this calculator to find out how many ton you need for how many goats you own.
  2. What Do Goats Eat? (Post): If you would like to learn or need a refresher on what goats eat. You can also watch the video here: What Do Goats Eat? (Video)


  1. Goats will immediately start consuming hay, so for peace of mind, have your source of hay found and acquired. There is nothing more frustrating than hunting hay when you are completely out and need it immediately.
  2. Alfalfa hay is a good choice for goats in milk but isn't as necessary for wethers and without proper nutrition and water, can cause urinary calculi in bucks.
  3. Depending on your location and weather patterns, you will most likely buy your hay during the summer months and will need a very good way to keep it out of the weather (barn) so it doesn't mold before it's fed.
Barley Grain for growing fodder sprouts



Barley Grain for growing fodder sprouts


  1. Whole
  2. Pelleted
  3. Rolled
  4. Texturized


  1. Grain dish
  2. Measuring cup or scoop
  3. Milking stands are useful


  1. Hay and Grain Toxicity: It's important to know what this looks like and what to do when it happens.
  2. Milking Stand. You can take a look at the milking stand I have.


  1. If you are bringing home does in milk or the goats are being fed grain, find out what grain they are being fed and either locate the same feed or ask to buy some of the grain from the owner. When your goats arrive at home you can slowly incorporate the new grain into the old grain to get them accustomed to the change. Kira and Ruthie, the does in milk I brought home, were quite picky about their grain and it took them a while to adjust to the rolled barley I give them now.
  2. **Changing a goat's diet quickly can cause them to bloat and have very serious consequences.

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Goat minerals are essential for a goat's health. There must be loose minerals out at all times.



Goat Mineral Feeder. A goat mineral feeder that is easy to make and won't waste any expensive minerals. ✓ Inexpensive! ✓ Easy to assemble! ✓ Durable! ✓ Easy to check and fill.


  1. Goats will stand on the mineral/salt blocks and soil them and quite possibly won't touch them after that.
  2. Do not buy the mineral specified for goats and sheep. Sheep can not have copper and goats need copper. Find mineral with the proper ratio of about 2 parts Calcium to 1 part Phosphorus.
  3. Your Complete Goat Mineral Guide. Please, please, please read this guide. I believe strongly that mineral is the most important part of owning goats!
  4. DIY Easy Goat Mineral Dispensers. These are so easy to make and very inexpensive!


  1. The baking soda helps to regulate their rumen, aids in digestions and helps prevent bloating.


  1. If your mineral doesn't have salt added, supplement with loose salt


  1. Copper Boluses for Goats (Video). Copper is essential for goat health. Watch this video or read this post to find out more: Copper Bolus Post

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How to milk a goat and the supplies you need for milking


  1. Milking Stand
  2. Stainless Steel Milking Bucket
  3. Funnel and strainer (to strain the milk into glass containers for consumption)
  4. Milk Filters
  5. Glass Jars/Containers for storage
  6. Mastitis Tests


  1. Training New Goats to Milk (Video). What this video to watch a funny (and accurate!) video about training goats!
  2. How to Milk a Goat (Video). If you don't know how to milk a goat yet, this video will walk you through just how to do it! And if you prefer to read about it go here: How to Milk a goat (Post).
  3. Do Goats Like to Be Milked? (Video). What this video on my theory about goats and milking.
  4. Goat Heat Signs (Video). Before you can milk a goat they need to go into heat, get bred, have kids and come into milk. You can find out heat signs in the video or the post here: Goat Heat Signs Post.
  5. Goat Labor Signs (Video). And again before there is milk, there must be kids, which means labor and it is very helpful to know labor signs so you know when to stick around to be able to help if need be. You can also read the post here: Goat Labor Signs
  6. Astounding Benefits of Goats Milk. Do You know the benefits of goat milk? I hope so! But if not this is a good read 🙂 And here you can read about the Benefits of Raw Milk that You Need.


  1. This binder bundle will help keep tract of milk production, each goat's specific condition and kidding outcomes and important dates: My Goat Binder

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What do goats eat? Goat love eating grass and forage in a pasture



Happy family is relaxing in green meadow with goat


  1. Wormer. Do your research and decide for yourself if you will use an herbal wormer or something like Ivermec.
  2. Oral syringe for drenching  This is a great way to administer herbal wormers and any other medication you give your goat.
  3. Collars and Leashes. These come in handy when the critters find the weak point in the fence or your little boy forgets to latch the gate.
  4. Brushes. Goats love the attention and the brushes help keep lice away.
  5. Clippers. Use on goats who have longer hair that mats or if they need to be trimmed in the hot summer months.
  6. Rectal Thermometer . A goat's temperature will tell you if they are sick.


  1. Gloves Take my word on this: you won't regret wearing gloves. Goats wiggle, and a quick jerk of their leg will put a nice hole in your finger if you aren't careful. Wear protection on your hands.
  2. Hoof Trimmers I recommend purchasing trimmers that are specifically for goats. Before purchasing these, I tried using other trimmers, and it is much easier to use the ones made specifically for trimming goat hooves
  3. Hoof Pick with Brush
  4. Hoof Plane
  5. Hoof'n Heal Heals all types of hoof injury
  6. Read more about Goat Hoof Care here


  1. **Goat hooves need to be trimmed on a regular basis. If not, their hooves will grow under and will trap poop and dirt and can cause their hooves to grow in unnatural ways. It's important to keep them trimmed. Not only is it healthier for the goat, but it is also much, much easier for you to trim regularly! Trim at least quarterly but a goat's hooves may need to be trimmed as much as once a month, so keep an eye on those feet!
  2. If you have a busy life with a lot to remember, you need to write down and keep track of when you last trimmed your goat's hooves. And that is easy with this binder:My Goat Binder
So, right now, while you are reading this, what should your next steps be?
  1. Get your goat management binder headed your way, and then get it into a binder, ready to be used. You can start familiarizing yourself with the important medications you will need to have on hand, and what you will need to look for on a daily basis to watch for sickness, and even how to trim goat hooves! (That’s an important part about raising goats–a must to know how to do!)
  2. Gain access and download the helpful Before Bringing Your First Goat Home Checklist in this link: FREE RESOURCE PAGE WITH CHECKLIST

This list provided above is just a start. This list will grow as the goats get settled. You will continue to learn more and will keep your goats happy and healthy!


Here are even more great resource for goat ownership and what you will need before bringing home your first goat(s!): Goat Starter List, How to Prepare for Goats, 10 Must-Have Items for Goat keepers


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Wednesday 24th of October 2018

It's awesome to have informative publishings such as this relating to be prepared for raising goats! Something pretty profound is missing from the list, however, & it could be the single most important addition to the list.. which is this: It is highly ill advised to ever bring home "your first goat" as in bringing home a singular goat. Goats are VERY social animals and they need goat friends! If you want to raise the healthiest goat possible be attentive to all of the listed needs AND always 'start out' by bringing home TWO goats as apposed to one!

Delci Plouffe

Tuesday 30th of October 2018

You are very correct :) I have that sprinkled throughout all my posts but not specifically this one! I will add it because it is a very, very important part of raising goats!

Heidi Villegas

Thursday 8th of December 2016

Hi, Delci! I stopped by through Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop. I just wanted to say I LOVE reading your articles and learning from you. Thank you---Also, I appreciate this article. We actually had goats for about a year. It was great fun, but we ended up not knowing enough about what we were doing on our small land, so had to let them go. I really want to try again, and your article is a good inspiration for me!


Thursday 8th of December 2016

And YOU are so encouraging! You have no idea how it makes me smile to read your comments. Thank you :)

Alicia Owen (@BoredinArkansas)

Wednesday 14th of September 2016

I'd love to get goats in the future. I'm going to pin and save your goat posts for later! Thanks for sharing on the Homesteader Hop.


Wednesday 14th of September 2016

I hope you do get goats :) They are so much fun and their milk is so yummy!


Wednesday 14th of September 2016

Very informational post! Thanks so much for sharing with us on the Homesteader hop!


Wednesday 14th of September 2016

Goats are great! :) Now you need to get one to milk with your cow lol ;)


Wednesday 14th of September 2016

I came over from the Homesteader Hop. I love this! I adopted a goat who followed my teenager home...still not sure what that means;-) Anyway, I have just really struggled to care for him the way I want to. This is super helpful! Thanks for sharing!


Wednesday 14th of September 2016

That's funny :) Smart goat! I'm sure you have given him a good home. Just a little bit of love and attention goes a long way!

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