10 Must-Have Items for Goatkeepers

This list of equipment for new goat owners will start your journey off right.

There are certain basic pieces of equipment you'll need to keep dairy goats. I started with buckets and a hay rack, and accumulated additional things as time went by. When our barn burned down, most of my equipment was gone and I had to gather things all over again. These are my top ten must-have basic equipment items in no particular order. It's a good place to start.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Buckets for water and feed. This is probably the first thing you thought of, right? When we brought home our first two weanling goats, this is what I started with. I use margarine tubs to scoop feed out of the bags, and the coffee can to carry feed. (By the way, we eat butter, not margarine. It's easy to get margarine tubs from other family members and friends though.)

Buckets and feed scoops

2. Collars and leashes are also obvious items, right? For safety reasons I don't keep collars on my goats all the time, but I have several handy to grab when I need them.

Dog collars work fine if you can find the kind with a metal buckle - I've found that the plastic clips such as the one in the image below can break more easily - when you don't want them to! - or you can buy plastic chain collars that will break on purpose if the goat gets caught on a fence or a branch.

If you use nylon collars be sure to have it snug enough on the goat's neck that they can't get caught on something.

(I just realized how badly that collar needs to go in the washing machine! I throw them in with a load of towels and they come out miraculously clean.)

Must have items: collars and leashes

3. Spring clips, which are also known as snap hooks. These are handy for so very many things. They hold my buckets to the fence, and I use them to hold my hay rack against the fence as well.

A friend had one on the end of each of her leashes so she could loop the handle end around a tree or a post and snap it back to the leash without having to unsnap it from the goat's collar.

They also work to attach fencing panels to other fencing panels to make non-permanent pens. I used them in my barn to hold wire baskets to a fence panel. I never have enough of these things.

Must have items: spring clips or snap hooks

4. Double-snap ties - a local man makes these for me, but I've also made something similar from a dog chain cut into pieces with a spring clip on each end. These are handy in all kinds of ways: you can clip a goat to a fence while she eats or to have her hooves trimmed, or use one to hold a gate closed. I used to snap each goat to the fence at milking time with these so that they wouldn't rush the milk room gate.

If you want to make some of your own, that piece of hardware in the middle is called a "rope clamp." Amazon carries an assortment of rope clamps - although not all of the clamps they picture are this type. If you Google the term you'll find even more sources.

Must have items: double-snap ties

5. Hoof trimmers - I use these pruners from Ace Hardware. A friend told me about these years ago and I love them. (When I tried to replace mine with a sharper pair I found out that this model isn't available at Ace any more. I bought a pair of hoof trimmers by Zenport from Amazon instead.)

Must-have items: hoof trimmers

6. Weight tape for goats or a dressmaker's tape with a chart to convert inches to approximate weight. You need to know how much your goat weighs so you can figure dosage amounts of medications, wormer, etc.

Must-have item: weight tape or dressmakers tape with weight chart

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

It comes apart for easy cleaning, but eventually the rubber ring inside gets grippy instead of easy-to-push. To fix this, I take it apart and run a tiny amount of olive oil around the rubber ring with my finger. It slides easily again when I put it back together.

Must-have item: drench syringe

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

8. Thermometer - You'll need to know your goat's temperature someday, trust me on this. It's best to have one on hand when you need it - and you won't want to use the one in your family first aid kit.

Must-have item: thermometer

9. Mineral feeder - goats need mineral free-choice, so get a feeder to hold it. This one hangs from a fence; others attach to the wall with screws.

If possible, position your mineral feeder under a roof to keep the minerals dry, and hang it slightly above their reach so they can't deposit "goat berries" in it. You can put a concrete block underneath it for them to stand their front feet on and reach the mineral.

Some mineral feeders are divided with two cavities, one for mineral, the other for baking soda.

Must-have item: mineral feeder

10. A leaf or fan rake - this is the only thing that works for me when cleaning goat berries on a dirt floor, just rake the berries and straw into a pile and shovel them up.

Must-have item: fan rake

11. If I were writing a list of the Eleven Must-Have Items for Goat Keepers, #11 would be a hay rack to keep hay off the ground.

Goats love to strew hay around, sleep in it, poop on it... in other words, they'll waste it. Once it hits the ground, they're not going to touch it. I have a steel hay rack that clips to the fence with spring clips and holds two flakes of hay.

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.

If you're planning to milk your goat, you'll need these six must have items. These supplies will help you keep the milk clean, safe to drink and delicious.

Every goat owner will have their favorite tools, so you might have a slightly different list. What would you add?

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

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

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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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  1. Love reading about homesteading. Hope to do it one day. (gonna tweet and pin this) Have a lovely day!

  2. Thank you so much for passing this along! I hope you can grasp your dream one day.

  3. I hope to have goats too someday. Until then, it's fun just reading and dreaming about them. Thanks for the great post!

  4. Thank you, Leslie. I you can get goats some day, and until then you are smart to read as much as you can about them. You'll have a headstart when you do bring them home. :-)

  5. Great list! I only have two goats, but I have most of the items. Only thing I would add is a brush, because mine like a little personal attention during the day :-)

  6. That's a good addition to the list, Joan. That was one of the ways I tamed down my first two weanlings, by brushing them. Hope especially really liked being brushed.

    1. Love your articles! I used to have a goat named Hope, too. It's been years since then, but I'm hoping to get some goats this coming year, just can't decide what breed yet.

    2. Cyn, thank you. I hope the info has been helpful. I can recommend the Nubian breed. :-)

  7. This is good info to know! I've been watching Craigslist, etc to find a couple of pygmy or dwarf Nigerian goats to add to my homestead. If I can ever find some, I'll need to get busy with this list!

  8. What a great list. I will be saving this for later and sharing it now :-) We participated in a goat share for several months and it was a great learning for us! We hope to have our own goats (on more land) some day in the future, so a list like this is perfect! Thanks!

  9. Great list!
    My list would include clippers. The girls have to clip for 4-H, but I like to clip before we start milking in Spring.

  10. For dairy goats I would add udder wash, teat dip and clippers (like Sandra). Visiting from the Home Acre Hop today. :-)

  11. I've had goats for almost 2 years and I still managed to get some good tips here! It's always nice to see how other people do things and get ideas! Thanks!

  12. Great and informative post! I'd love to have goats one day and this will help me get started. Now, will you come over and convince my husband? Hahaha! I've got to get him on track! :)

  13. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I will be featuring you this week, so please feel free to come grab a Featured button!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  14. Thank you so much for featuring my post, Kathy!

  15. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Congrats on the feature!

  16. Kathi, as we prepare for goats come spring, I've been reading and pinning several of your goat posts- thank you for all of this wonderful information! From one blogger to another, I know how much time and love go into these articles that help our fellow homesteaders. It's a beautiful thing- thank you!!


  17. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:12 AM

    Thank you, Erin, I'm glad the posts have been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

  18. chelsey8:09 AM

    Absolutely love my drench syringe, changes everything

  19. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:18 AM

    I agree, Chelsey!

  20. This is great! My husband got me 2 goats for my birthday, they arrive in May and we are starting to get their pen together.

  21. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:34 PM

    Happy birthday, Anna! You are about to begin a great adventure!

  22. I had no idea that goats needed leashes, ha! They are on my wish list, so this was a very educational post! Thanks! (Found this via the Our Simple Homestead blog hop!)

  23. Hello Karissa, I'm glad you stopped by and found this post helpful!

  24. Such simple things that make life so much easier.

  25. What a helpful post for anyone who is looking to raise goats, Kathi! I've pinned it to my Sustainable Living board on Pinterest and will share it on Twitter. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing, April!

  27. Great ideas! Thankfully, I have most of these items of necessity for my trio of Nigerian dwarf goats!

    1. Thank you, LLLadybug. I think they're the basics. :-)

  28. for the thermometer I just use a baby rectal thermometer its cheap and works faster

    1. Yes, that works just as well!

  29. I have 2 goats and 1 lamb my husband and I take for a walk in the evenings around our village. Thet have a buffet of food from varios trees and bushes. We collect some for them so they can have a feed up when they get home too. They have collars on but no leads are necessary they just follow us. Goats and the lamb are better than any dogs they never stray away when we go walking and are as quiet as church mice.

    1. Yours are very well-behaved, Sheila. :-) Mine would go off in someone's garden and start eating the fruit trees if they weren't on leashes, but they ARE fun to take on walks and my husband has compared them to dogs too.

  30. Vaughn11:11 PM

    I'm so sorry about your barn burning . My daughter lost 4 does and three kids . She saved her Billy and one kid.she really took it hard.
    Have a few addition for your list . A hoof pick sure are handy for goats hoof and horse,donkey hoofs .a cheap pocket knife because you will lose them .

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's fire, Vaughn. Fire is so horrible and tragic. A friend of mine lost her goats and barn just this week too. It's a hard "club" to be in.

      A hoof pick and pocket knife are great additions to the list of "must haves." Thank you.

  31. I just read your post on essentials to have for goats. I love the double snap ties for goats when tying them up
    For milking . We usually have a mob scene 😜 I’d love to make some but have never seen that piece of metal that is crimped in the middle to hold the spring snaps together. Can you provide me with a link to purchase these? Thanks and love your blog 🌞

  32. If you google "double rope clamps" you'll find a variety of options. I bought mine from a friend who made them for me. You might enjoy reading my post How Changing My Milking Routine Changed My Life! to see how I use them.

  33. Someday I hope to have goats of my own (the rationale behind my blog name). This looks great and comprehensive, thank you!


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