Goats Need a Playground
It’s true, goats need playground. In the wild, goats are highly athletic creatures that rely on their agile navigation of steep mountainous terrain for survival. Wild goats feed, shelter, and avoid depredation by navigating terrain with lots of obstacles. Domestic goats still hold these instincts. Regardless of the breed, size, or purpose for your goats, they still benefit from vertical play space. Meat goats, dairy goats, pet goats, miniature goats, and especially pack goats all benefit from play structures. Not only that but it makes them that much more fun to watch and interact with! For more information on the essentials for raising goats, check out our Raising a Baby Goat Course.
Things to Consider for Building a Goats Playground
Elevated Spaces: Goats instinctively look for elevated places to sleep, play, and interact with herd members. Be safety conscious, avoid falls from dangerous height. Elevated bedding areas are the most crucial spaces.
Safety: Create spaces where goats can play, navigate, and challenge themselves without high risk of injury or death. Be wary of potential foot entrapment or fall from heights. Build a structure suitable for the breed of goat. Have baby goats or dwarf breeds? Keep structures to less than twice the goats’ height. Remember they are likely to push each other off obstacles.
Instincts: Don’t underestimate goats and their agility. Create spaces where goats can jump over, crawl under, cross, and bed. It’s important to offer stimulating spaces while keeping safety in mind.
Creativity: The most fun part is tailoring the play structure to your goats. Castles, pirate ships, houses, recycled materials, themed playgrounds and more! We suggest pack goat play areas be constructed from natural materials like rocks and logs as this best replicates the environments they experience most. Check out our pack goat specific play structure article. Goat playgrounds don’t need to be ‘Insta worthy’ or Pinterest famous. Offering a few elevated platforms for bedding is sufficient. Be resourceful!
Strategy: Incorporate high traffic areas like bedding places and even feeders or occasional treats into play structures. Adult goats that are not used to play structures may avoid them at first. Providing reasons to navigate them will help rekindle the instincts they have to climb and play. Also, avoid potential escapes! Goats can jump further than we expect when they want to. Keep elevated structures away from gates, fences, roofs, and etc.
Extras: Goats seem to love hearing the sound of their hooves. Incorporating ‘hollow’ sounding surfaces seem to attract goats, especially baby goats! Also, interactive ‘toys’ like punching bags, swings, and wobble boards are also fun additions. With more creative and mobile additions, be extra cautious of tangle points or potential entrapment.
The Need for Goat Playground
Creatures like border collies need tasks and stimulation for them to stay healthy both physically and cognitively. Goats are similar in that their strong instincts for climbing and navigating challenging terrain are inherent to their physical and cognitive well being. Just test it out by placing a large spool, tree stump, or other elevated structure they can access in their area. Goats will be on top in no time. Don’t forget your does, they need play structures too!
Pack Goats Specific
Especially for pack goats, playground structures are critical for their performance on trail. Try to incorporate all kinds of simulated obstacles they may encounter on trail. Fallen trees, boulder fields, even water obstacles. More on that in the article linked above! To see Marc’s pasture and goat playground setup LIVE in action, check out PackGoatTV.