If you love horses, chances are you also have a soft spot for goats. Known for their silly, impulsive behavior, these cloven hooved cuties do more than just bring personality to your paddock – they are also extremely beneficial to horses and their owners!
Here are 4 great reasons every horse property should have a goat – or two…or three!
1. Goats eat weeds and leave the grass for the horses
Unlike horses, goats are not picky when it comes to what they eat! They love to explore and will happily nibble on branches, bushes and weeds that horses would never dream of touching. They may poke at the grass, but for the most part, goats and horses do not compete for food.
Grazing goats clear away the “trash” plants, allowing horse-friendly grasses and legumes to flourish. Goats also eat poison ivy so you don’t have to worry about itchy rashes! In some areas of the country, farmers and golf course proprietors can even “rent” a herd of goats to clear their land of weeds and unwanted plants.
2. Goats don’t need additional grains or supplements
Dietary supplements and certain select grains can be quite costly for a thousand pound animal, but unlike horses, goats only require added nutrition while pregnant, nursing, or growing. Most goat owners supplement their goats’ weedy diet with hay in the winter, but other than that, they are pretty low maintenance in the supplement department.
3. Goats and horses do not share the same communicable diseases
With so many communicable diseases to worry about, horse owners are smart to be wary of another species sharing their pasture. Luckily, goats and horses do not share any major diseases and even have different primary pathological gastrointestinal parasites.
4. Goats make excellent companions for horses
While introducing goats into your horses’ lives should be done gradually, the two species tend to get along quite well. Many racetracks keep goats as living and traveling companions for the horses, and since they are both herd animals, they are primed to become best buddies!