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10 Must-Have Items for Goatkeepers



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.

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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 - or you can buy plastic chain collars that will break 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



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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.

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. (Evidently this model isn't available at Ace any more. This link is to Amazon's hoof trimmers by Zenport.

Must-have items: hoof trimmers


6. Weight tape for goats or a dressmaker's tape and 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 a 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 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 it under a roof to keep the mineral 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 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


Number eleven (if I were writing a list of the Eleven Must-Have Items for Goatkeepers) 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. They'll 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?


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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


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