The 10 Items You Need Before You Bring Home Your First Goats

Two brown and white goat kids trotting through the pasture.

Are goats in your plans this year? If you're planning to bring home a goat or two, here are the ten must-have items of equipment that every goat owner needs.

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The basic equipment you need for goats

So you've decided you're ready, and you're looking for your first goats! Congratulations!

By the way, if you're in a hurry you can find all of these items in my Amazon storefront to make shopping fast and easy.

Please, don't bring home your goat and then gather what you need. It's much better to buy the items that are necessary for your new animal's health and comfort first, and then introduce your goat to its new home, a home that's ready and waiting.

Your goat will adapt much more quickly, and you'll enjoy the settling-in process more too.

Goat equipment vs. goat supplies

Here are my top ten must-have basic equipment items for goats. You can't go wrong with these items, and you'll be surprised at how much easier your "goat owning" life will be with these. 

I'm not including feed, minerals, dewormers and so on in this article. Those items are termed "supplies" and can be found in another post here

Supplies are consumable and need to be purchased and replaced regularly, while equipment refers to items that are purchased once - and replaced at some point if they wear out, but for the most part, they last a long time. These are the items you'll find below.

You'll find a free printable checklist of these top ten items you must have for your goats further down in this post.

I also have some advice for you about cleaning equipment for your goat shed or barn.

By the way, good fences are a must before you bring home your first goats! Goats are escape artists! You'll find advice on the best type of goat fencing here.

1. Feed buckets 

Buckets hold grain and water, plus they're a great place to store smaller pieces of equipment such as brushes in the feed room or trailer, tools you need when you're fencing your new goat pen, and for mixing molasses and warm water for a goat that's just given birth, or soapy water for goat baths. 

Buckets are truly worth their weight in gold on a homestead, and you'll never have too many of them!

You can buy round buckets in nearly any color of the rainbow, or flat-back buckets that hang flat against a wall or fence. Use spring clips (scroll down to see them) to hold the buckets on your fence.

Stacks of plastic feed buckets
You can never have enough feed buckets. They can hold tools, grooming brushes and combs, miscellaneous parts and pieces, and bottles of fly spray and Nutridrench.

2. Collars and leashes 

Collars and leashes will help you control your goats. 

Dog collars fit goats well. For larger, strong goats use a collar with a metal buckle for extra strength.

Small goat breeds such as Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf can wear a small-sized dog collar, while puppy collars fit baby goats well. Goat kids aren't as strong as big goats or big dogs!

For safety reasons I don't keep collars on my goats all the time. Just like dogs and cats, goats can catch their collars on a tree limb or a nail in a wall and hang themselves. 

But I keep collars handy to grab when I need them, in the barn, the feed shed, in the house and even in the truck.

If you plan to leave collars on your goats all the time, you can buy plastic chain collars that will break easily if the goat gets caught on a fence or a branch. 

Chain collars aren't recommended for use when tying a goat though, because they are designed to break under stress.

A yellow collar and a blue leash. Collars and leashes will help you control your goats.
Dog collars and leashes will help you restrain your goat,
tie her up to be groomed, and move her from place to place.

Use a dog leash to tie your goats to the fence to be brushed or to trim their hooves, or at feeding time so each goat gets the correct amount of feed and doesn't steal another goat's dinner.

I tie each goat to the fence at milking time so that they won't rush the milk room gate or the milkstand. 

To clean nylon collars and leashes, throw them in the washing machine with a load of towels. They'll come out miraculously clean.

3. Mineral feeder

Goats need loose minerals that are available free-choice, so get a mineral feeder to hold them. This is also what I use to feed grain to my milk goats on the milking stand.

This particular feeder hangs over a fence or a wooden 2x4; others attach to the wall with screws. For best results, position your mineral feeder under a roof to keep the minerals dry.

Some mineral feeders are divided into two cavities, one for mineral, the other for baking soda or salt.

Not all goat minerals are made equal. To learn what kind is best for your goats, check out these six supplies you'll need for your goats.

A red plastic mineral feeder hanging on a wooden fence made of pallets.

4. Hay feeder

Goats love to scatter hay all over, sleep in it, poop on it... in other words, they seem to enjoy wasting hay. And once their hay hits the ground, they're not going to eat it.

Plus your goats are more likely to suffer from internal parasites if they eat hay off the ground. Providing their hay in a feeder is more hygenic and will also help to cut waste.

This iron hay rack can be screwed into a wooden wall or attached to a fence. 

Hay feeder for goats

You can compare Amazon's currently available hay racks here. The one I have, which is pictured in my photo below, goes in and out of stock. 

Be sure to check right below the current price for any available coupon savings. Check the box and the coupon will be applied at checkout.

Choose a hay feeder that is sturdy and heavy enough to withstand a goat's shenanigans. If you plan to hang it on a fence, use the sturdiest part of your fencing, such as where the fence is attached to a t-post.

Hay feeder for goats attached to a wire fence.
Use a sturdy hay rack, and attach it to the strongest part of your fence,
such as where the fence is attached to the post.

 I don't recommend using a hay net with goats. Their horns are easily entangled in hay nets, and because goats are "browsers" and like to rear up to reach food, their front hooves can also be tangled up in a net.

5. Water bucket or trough

A feed bucket only holds 8 quarts (2 gallons), so it really isn't big enough to use as a water bucket unless you just have a small goat or two, or you're starting with baby goat kids.

This larger 5-gallon bucket would be a better choice, but if you have more than one or two goats, the larger water tanks below would be better yet.

You'd need to constantly fill up the bucket many times a day to make sure it's never empty. Goats need water available at all times. Plus beware of buckets and troughs that are low to the ground, because it's easy for a goat to accidently poop in their drinking water. 

On the other hand, you'll need to be sure that the trough you choose isn't too tall for your goats to reach, especially if you have miniature goats and goat kids.

A black rubber 40-gallon water trough for goats

A trough will make your life easier.

This 15-gallon Little Giant tub holds more water than a bucket, but it's only 9.75" tall. 

This 100-gallon Rubbermaid tank is 25" tall, and this Tuff Stuff water trough holds 40 gallons and is 13" tall. The Tuff Stuff water tank is what I have for my full-size Nubian goats. Click the button below to see if it's in stock today.

For more goat info and homestead tips, click here to subscribe to The Acorn,
Oak Hill Homestead's weekly newsletter.

6. Goat hoof trimmers

It isn't hard to trim your goats' hooves - the secret is to use sharp hoof trimmers. This pair of hoof trimmers by Zenport is my favorite.

Sharpen your hoof trimmers or replace them as needed to keep this chore easy to do.

7. Weight tape

You'll need to know how much your goat weighs so you can figure out dosage amounts of medications, wormer, and so on. Keeping records of your goat kids' weight will help you know that your baby goats are growing well. 

This weight tape for goats will give you that information easily - or you can use a dressmaker's tape and a chart that will convert inches to weight.

A goat weigh tape and a dressmaker's tape on a wooden board
Goat weight tape

I was always losing my goat weight tape; there just wasn't a good place to keep it. If I put it in a bucket for storage, I'd need the bucket and then forget where I put the tape. A small item like this is so easy to lose!

Mine has been buried in the hay and bedding on the barn floor, torn and dirty from the cats dragging it around, and once I lost it and had to replace it.

Here's the solution! I bought a pencil pouch with a zipper. It's 3-hole punched to keep in a 3-ring binder. Inside this pouch is the perfect place to keep the weight tape!

Mine is kept in the 3-ring binder that holds my goat records, but you can also hang the pencil pouch on a nail in your barn - just slip one of the holes over a nail, or screw a cup hook into one of the wooden studs. High enough up so your goats can't reach it, of course!

8. Drench syringe 

Drench syringe is the easiest way to give a goat any liquid medicine, vitamins, NutriDrench, electrolytes, and so on. 

The metal nozzle makes it easy to get medication into the back of the goat's throat, but won't break if the goat bites down on it with her back teeth. (I was deworming a goat one day and she bit down on one of my fingers, and popped my finger open like a grape! Those back teeth mean business.)

Drench syringes come apart for easy cleaning and are simple to reassemble.

Sometimes, after using a particularly thick medication, the syringe gets kind of sticky inside and isn't as easy to use, but this is simple to fix. Here's what I do:

  • Unscrew the syringe into three pieces: the metal nozzle, the outer syringe and the plunger. 
  • Clean all the pieces well.
  • Run a tiny amount of olive oil around the rubber ring on the plunger with your finger. 
  • Reassemble the syringe. It will slide easily again.

A yellow drench syringe on a wooden surface

What remedies and medications should you keep in your goat first aid kit?
Take a look inside mine and see what I keep on hand at all times.

9. Thermometer 

You'll need to know your goat's temperature someday, trust me on this. It's best to have a thermometer on hand when you need it, so you don't have to use the one in your family's first aid kit!

You'll be buying another one for your family's kit after using it on your goats anyway, right? So buy one now and be prepared!

You'll find a good basic thermometer for your goats here.

Check out this post for the items I recommend you keep in your livestock first aid kit.

A basic digital thermometer for your goats

10. Spring clips

Spring clips are also known as snap hooks or carabiners. These are handy for so very many things. 

They hold buckets on the fence, and I use them to hold my hay rack against the fence as well.

Spring clips (caribiners or snap clips) hold this hay feeder for goats to the wire fencing.

A goat-owning friend put a snap clip on the handle end of each of her leashes so she could loop the end around a tree or a fence and snap it back onto the leash with the spring clip, without unsnapping the leash from her goat to do it.

You can also use snap clips to attach a cattle panel (a wire fencing panel) to another fencing panel to make temporary pens. 

A wire basket from the hardware store attached to the fence with spring clips, holding various buckets and scoops.

I used red snap clips to hold these wire baskets to a fence panel in my feed room. 

I never have enough of these useful clips. You'll find a set of four spring clips here.

A metal spring clip sitting on a wooden board

Cleaning equipment

Goats are very prone to internal parasites, which they pick up from their environment.

Feed buckets and mineral feeders should be washed regularly. Feed pans or buckets should be picked up after the goats finish eating, so they won't step in them. Walking through a feed pan can transfer parasites from the manure on a goat's hooves.

If you find "goat berries" in the water bucket, it too needs to be emptied and washed. Since goats prefer fresh water, you should empty and refill the water bucket often anyway, but of course you will empty and wash a water bucket that has been pooped in.

Keeping the floor of the barn or goat shed as free of manure as possible will also help keep your goats' parasite load under control. 

Obviously a pitchfork isn't going to pick up goat manure, the tines are too far apart to hold those little "berries."

I use a fan rake or leaf rake to clean the dirt floor of the goat shed. You'll find rakes in the garden department of the hardware store. 

Rake the straw and manure into a pile, then shovel it all up into a wheelbarrow. Wheel it over to the compost pile and dump it. It's great fertilizer for your homestead garden.

A green plastic fan rake leaning against a fence.

Free printable checklist

You can download a free printable checklist of these ten items that you need for your first goats.

With this checklist, you'll be prepared for your new goats. You'll add more items over time as you figure out what you need and what you use most often, but this list will get you started out right.

Start with basic goat equipment

When I lost my first goat herd in a barn fire years ago, I knew exactly what supplies and equipment I needed when I was ready to start over. I bought everything on this checklist, and knew I was prepared for my new goats.

Are you planning to milk your dairy goat? You'll need these six must have items for milking goats. These supplies will help you keep goat milk clean, safe to drink and delicious.

As a goat lover and a homestead gardener, I'm excited to also share my gardening tips with you - from planting seeds to enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor! You can find my gardening advice and insights right here, so let's dig in and cultivate some fresh, delicious produce together.

Looking for more goat keeping information? You'll find everything you want to know about dairy goats here. 

For more homesteading and self-sufficient posts like this one, subscribe to The Acorn, Oak Hill Homestead's weekly-ish newsletter, and join me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest. I'd love to see you there!


Here's what you need when you bring home your first goats: the ten must-have basic items goat owners need.

Top ten basic equipment items for new goat owners.

Related Posts:
Five Must-Have Consumable Items for Goatkeepers
6 Must-Have Items to Milk a Goat
Goat Fencing - What Works and Doesn't Work

The images below contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.

Black and white goat. TEXT: Find these items in my Amazon storefront."


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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