Raising Goats in Your Backyard: Is It Right for You?

Considering raising goats within city limits? Ask yourself these questions to find out if backyard goats are right for your lifestyle.

| May 2013

  • Jennie Grant modified her yard to accommodate goats. Raising backyard goats is one example of the rise of urban farming.
    Photo By Harley Soltes
  • "City Goats" is the essential go-to guide for raising goats in the city limits.
    Cover Courtesy Mountaineers Books
  • Backyard goats provide you with companionship and delicious goat milk.
    Photo By Harley Soltes
  • If you love animals, a backyard goat is a good choice with many rewards.
    Photo By Harley Soltes
  • This goat enjoys the Seattle city life from the backyard of the author.
    Photo By Harley Soltes

Including information on legalizing goats in your city, preparing your yard, selecting a milk-goat breed, training techniques for milking, and even some delicious goat cheese recipes, City Goats (Mountaineers Books, 2012) by Jennie P. Grant is the comprehensive, down-to-earth guide on backyard goats. The following excerpt from “Do Goats Belong in Your Backyard” walks you through the choice of whether goat farming in your backyard is right for you.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living storeCity Goats.

Do Goats Belong in Your Backyard?

While it is true that no sensible person would move from the country to the city to keep goats, should a city person who wants to keep goats have to move to the country? I say no, and that is where city goats come in. A conscientious owner can keep a pair of goats healthy and happy within a 400-square-foot area (though more is better) if he or she is willing to put in the time, effort, and money. He or she will need to construct a very cleverly designed goat shed that makes careful use of space. In addition, to keep a goat healthy, city dwellers will need to go out foraging to bring home fresh greens for their goats. A goat can live on good-quality hay and alfalfa pellets but cannot thrive without plenty of fresh greens.

But who would want to keep goats in the first place? Given that you are reading this book, I’m guessing that you are considering the idea and are wondering, “Should I go through with this?” This is a good question, because some people are interested in goats for the wrong reasons. To find out if you may be trotting down the wrong goat path, here are some questions to ask yourself:

6/18/2013 11:09:27 AM

I just wanted to comment that although the milk may be more expensive than Safeway, my household has always had surplus from our DAILY 3/4 gallon to 1 gallon single producer...enough for selling for $7-$9 a gallon and for making cheese - which is so costly per pound! The return on sales and the savings toward cheese (a family staple) helped lower our costs significantly.

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