Raising goats can be profitable, fun, a means of dairy and meat, a source of goat milk for soap, property maintenance, and much more.
However, one of the first questions that always arise at the beginning of the decision process is: How many goats can you have per acre? After all, how many goats per acre you can have affects your budget, breed choice, and several other nuances about taking on the responsibility of goats.
Below we’ll discuss how many goats per acre of land is best, the many factors that influence the answer, and where to find additional, more personalized assistance.
How Many Goats Per Acre of Land Is Best?
How many goats per acre of land you can have is quite variable. The general rule of thumb is to provide one to three acres of land per goat to accommodate their grazing habits. Goats need less space than sheep or cattle but are browsers that love room to explore and munch on a wide variety of plants.
Factors Affecting How Many Goats You Can Have Per Acre
How many goats per acre is best is highly dependent on a number of factors, which is why it is never ideal to rely on a general rule.
Land conditions play a huge role in how many goats per acre you can properly accommodate. The quality of the pasture, the type of vegetation available, and the time of year all influence how much land your goats will need.
For example, during the winter months when there is less vegetation available, more land will be needed to support a given number of goats. If the land is overgrown with good vegetation, it’s possible it could support more goats.
The breed of goat that you are planning for your land can change how many goats per acre you can handle. Smaller goat breeds like the Nigerian Dwarf need far less land than a large Boer goat.
Depending on your goals, if you have less land, you may consider opting for a smaller breed or simply a fewer number of goats in your herd. Various ages for each breed require a different amount of land as well.
Animal Management Strategies
It's important to note that the number of goats per acre can also be influenced by the management system used, such as rotational grazing or intensive grazing management.
A newer strategy includes offering your goats as a solution for overgrown properties in your area. In this case, the goats are transported to various overgrown pastures in the area to graze. The goats get proper nutrition and the property owner doesn’t have to figure out how to deal with mowing down the property.
In addition, the amount of supplementary feed provided changes how many goats per acre you can have. The more supplementary feed you provide, the less you have to rely on your land and vice versa, but of course, supplementary feed is expensive and can have its own challenges.
It's also important to consider the local laws and regulations and the zoning laws in your area. In some areas, how many goats per acre of land you can have is strictly regulated. In others, you can’t have goats on residential property.
Get Help Figuring Out How Many Goats Per Acre You Should Have
How many goats per acre you should have is so variable that help is often necessary. It's always best to consult with a local extension agent or a goat expert to determine the ideal stocking rate for your specific situation. Local extension agents are also typically knowledgeable about the local laws and regulations, so you can get two questions answered at once.