Keeping Miniature Goats as Pets - The Ultimate Guide

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 04 April 2018

Miniature goats are gentle, friendly and funny animals that make great pets for families. The rise of the miniature goat breed has allowed more Australians to discover the joys of keeping a couple of cute and curious cloven hoof friends in their backyard. Goats are low maintenance, easy to love and endlessly entertaining. Thinking of keeping some pet goats? Read on…

miniature goat pet

Will my council allow me to keep pet goats?

Most councils in Australia allow you to have pet goats provided you register your property with the state government and have sufficient space to keep them happy and healthy. Check with your local council to be certain of your area’s rules before you go ahead with your pet goat plans.

How many pet goats should I keep?

Goats are herd animals and need the company of at least one other goat to be happy and healthy. How many goats you keep will depend on your property size, goat breed of choice and of course how much time you can devote to your cloven hoofed buddies.

What goat breeds are available?

The most popular goat breeds to keep as pets are Australian Miniature Goats, Pygmy Goats and Nigerian Dwarf Goats. All of these goat breeds are small in stature and easy to maintain for hobby keepers.  

  • The Australian Miniature Goat Breed
    • Size: About 60cm tall
    • Temperament: Gentle, friendly and playful
    • Lifespan: 10-15 years
    • Varieties: Elf, Pixie, Munchkin and Nuwby
  • The Pygmy Goat Breed
    • Size: About 60cm tall
    • Temperament: Friendly and active
    • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • The Nigerian Dwarf Goat Breed
    • Size: About 60cm tall
    • Temperament: Gentle and lovable
    • Lifespan: 10-15 years

miniature goats in backyard

What is the difference between bucks, does and wethers?

  • Bucks are intact (not desexed) male goats and are not suitable for keeping as pets. They urinate on themselves and become unpredictable in breeding season.
  • Does are female goats and make the perfect backyard pet as they are very docile and can be kept with other does and wethers.
  • Wethers are desexed male goats. Desexing makes a male goat more docile and way less smelly. They will grow bigger than does, so keep that in mind if you choose a wether goat to keep as a pet.

What do goats eat?

Miniature goat breeds will eat grass, weeds, low branches, hay, grain, pellet feed and other vegetation. Your goat breeder will be able to provide dietary information to make sure your goat maintains the diet they have become accustomed to. Goats need a supply of essential minerals from a mineral lick (also known as a salt lick), these can be purchased from your local produce or stock store.

Goats LOVE to eat just about everything so keep them out of your veggie patch and flower gardens with some trusty electric fencing.

child with pet goat

How much care does a pet goat require?

Goat grooming depends on their coat type. Miniature goats can come in varieties such as Sheltie, Short and Full Cashmere, Angora or Short coat types. Goats with short coats require little to no grooming, but those with long coats require weekly brushing. All goats require regular hoof trimming just like you would trim a dog or cat claws.

What health issues can pet goats have?

Goats are incredibly hardy animals and disease is rare in pet goat breeds, however you should check that your breeder regularly tests for instances of Johne’s Disease (a bacterial infection) and Caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) in their herds. All pet goats need to be vaccinated and wormed as kids.


How much space do pet goats need?

A quarter acre property (1000m2) is very sufficient for a couple of lovely mini goat friends to live on. If you are feeding your goats purchased feed such as hay or pellets then less land is needed. If you are going to rely on grass and weeds to feed your goats then you need plenty of space for them to forage.  

What shelter do pet goats need?

Although goats are hardy animals they do require clean and dry shelter with animal bedding to protect them from wind, rain and extremes in heat and cold. Give them plenty of access to shade in summer and sun in winter to keep them happy and healthy. Smaller goats can use extra large dog kennels or modified chicken runs or coops.   

miniature goat in electric fencing

What fencing is best for my pet goats?

Portable electric fencing or netting is  the best choice for keeping your pet goats contained. Your miniature goats will learn quickly that the fence delivers an unpleasant shock and stick to their containment area - away from your veggie patch or flower garden!

What else does a goat need to be happy and healthy?

Goats are smarty pants pets! Your pet goats will be happiest and healthiest with toys and activities to keep them occupied when you aren’t home. There’s plenty of fun DIY goat toys that you can create using things like:

  • Stacked pallets
  • Old water tanks
  • Second hand play equipment or jungle gyms
  • Old tyres
  • Stumps at different heights
  • Industrial products and materials like cable spools and planks

Miniature goats love to climb, jump and investigate EVERYTHING so make yourself a cuppa and sit back to watch the goat show - you’ll be so entertained by their antics!