How Many Goats Per Acre Can You Raise On Your Homestead?

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If you’re a homesteader or farmer with an extra acre of land, just sitting there doing nothing, why not raise some goats? Goats are nifty, friendly, and valuable animals. And they don’t require a lot from their human caretakers. Using an extra acre of land to raise some goats can also create a new source of income.

But how many goats per acre should you raise? How much space does a goat need to exercise, browse, graze, and be otherwise goatly as nature intended it to be?

And that’s what we’re here to find out today: how many goats you can raise on a single acre of land.

So, before we get going, we must define precisely how large an acre of land is. That way, we’re all on the same page.

I know, it’s exciting!

How Big Is an Acre of Land?

Lovely white goat herd grazing and foraging on a healthy green pasture.

Generally speaking – an acre of land is equivalent to an American football field. But the football field is somewhat larger. An acre of land measures 43,560 square feet. Comparatively, an American football field measures 57,600 square feet, slightly less than an acre plus another third of an acre.

Now we all know!

OK. Now, let’s look at how many goats can get comfortably raised on a single acre of land.

You can typically raise around 6 – 8 goats on one acre of land. That’s the quick answer.

But not all land offers goats the same things – and goats do have some basic requirements they need to remain healthy and happy, just like us!

So, to determine precisely how many goats you should raise on your property, we need to address the possible variables that affect the best number of goats for you.

OK – Let’s Goat!

How Many Goats to Raise Per Acre of Land

Art of three goats in a lush paddock with a beautiful homestead and mountains

There are considerations you’ll have to address to determine the ideal number of goats per acre on your specific homestead or farm, including:

  • The breed and size of the goats
  • Your purpose for raising the goats
  • Your local annual weather conditions
  • How much forage is available on the land

Now, let’s look at each of these factors more closely.

Breed, Size, and Eating Habits

Smaller breeds of goats tend to eat less and require less living space than larger breeds of goats. Some smaller goat breeds, like Nigerian dwarf goats, are adorably teeny even when full-grown adults. Most Nigerian dwarf goats only get to be about two feet tall. In total! The mini LaMancha is another small goat – read its full profile here!

And, of course, in most cases, male goats weigh more than female goats. So, raising eight goats per acre can make more sense if six of them are female, relative to raising a herd of eight with more bucks.

On the other end of the scale, large goat breeds with high body weight, like Boer goats, are almost as significant as small cattle. If you’re raising a large goat breed like the Boer, you should limit your herd to six goats or less per acre.

However, if you’re raising tiny goats, like Nigerians or Pygmy goats, you could feasibly raise more than eight on one acre, regardless of the current pasture conditions on your piece of land. Suitable forage is also important, though.

What your goats eat also matters a lot. Most goats prefer browsing and enjoy forage found growing on the land. You’ll find that your goats tend to eat natural food sources that they find at about the levels of their chins. That means that they will strip off leaves from trees, branches from shrubs, and even bark, in some cases, before deciding to graze on the fresh grass.

In comparison, sheep are grazers, and they enjoy eating grass and other plant life off the ground’s surface, not at chin height like goats. This grazing preference means that goats can thrive on a more diverse set of food sources relative to sheep. Typically, you can raise more goats per acre than sheep

Plus, goats will graze grass and other ground plants when they have no choice. All of this together means that you can generally raise more goats on an acre of land than you can sheep or other species that graze exclusively. A greater variety of vegetation!

Interested in how many cows per acre you can raise? Read all about it in our article!

Goats can grow well and stay happy in overgrown pastures, thickets, and woods with low-branched trees. If your property lacks natural plant sources like these, and you still want to raise goats, consider planting fodder supplements to develop them.

Also, be aware that goats are elite escape artists, so keep your outbuildings and perimeters tight! Hint: electric fencing helps.

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06/13/2024 11:17 am GMT

Susceptibility to Internal Parasites

Some parasitic worms, flukes, and other organisms, like coccidia, multiply in areas where goats live, possibly exposing the goats to infections. Some infect snails with stagnant water sources, while others lay eggs on nearby wet vegetation.

Goats are less likely to encounter and ingest these parasites in larger areas. More land mass = less probability of meeting the parasites, and also from other adverse happenings – like foot rot.

Your Reasons for Raising Goats

You’ll also have to think about why you want to raise goats in the first place. For instance, if you wish for some goats to clear down some overgrown pastures, you can host more adult goats per acre than would make sense if you were raising them for meat or milk purposes.

Overall, a dairy goat breed like the Toggenburg breed of goats, and breeds of meat goats like Kiko goats, require more room per goat than brush management goats. And don’t forget that goats like to do more than browse and graze for food.

They’re playful animals, especially kid goats, and it’s always an excellent idea to leave some extra space to give them a goat playground. A playground will help keep them mentally active and emotionally stimulated. In our experience – mentally active and satisfied goats demonstrate superior goat herd behaviors.

Read more in 17 Goat Toys Ideas to DIY, Upcycle, and Buy [With Super Cute Videos!]

Your Property’s Weather Patterns

Of course, the climate where you live matters when it comes to your land producing the natural foods necessary to keep your goats vital and happy. Weather impacts your land’s forage production. A lack of adequate forage production means you may have to purchase supplemental feed, which can be expensive if you raise several goats on more than one acre of property.

The Best Goats for Milk on the Homestead (Top 5 Dairy Goat Breeds)

How Much Space Does a Single Goat Need to Stay Happy and Healthy?

Ask any goat: adequate space matters! The general space requirement recommendation from goat farms is that each goat on your homestead or small farm is allotted 10 square feet of indoor space for hanging out and sleeping, 

Plus, every goat should get at least 200 square feet outside. This recommendation accounts for a safe distance for each goat to obtain ample exercise, exploration, browse for lunch, and rest.

Concerning their sleeping areas, make sure that each goat has a well-vented, dry, safe, and secure spot to lie down in. And, also be sure that there are ample feeding and watering stations for the environment at hand. Goat farming is fun!

Additionally, know that bucks require more space than does and baby goats, on average, simply because they’re larger. Don’t overcrowd your goats’ living and browsing spaces, or you will significantly increase their probability of developing intestinal parasitic infections.

Read More!

Summary of How Many Goats to Raise on One Acre of Land

So, generally, in most conditions and on the average tract of land, you can raise between six to eight goatsSix to eight goats per acre ensure they have all the space needed to thrive.

However, not all land is equal!

Some land provides more natural food sources that goats need. And some locations have climates more suitable for happy, healthy goat living. And, of course, larger goats require more food and other resources than tinier goats do. Finally, consider whether you want to raise goats for milk, meat, or pasture clearing. These variables matter.

Weigh all variables to determine the ideal number of goats per acre for your unique situation.

I hope that you have found this goat acreage information practical and fun! We hope it helps you decide how many goats you should raise on an acre of your property.

Thank you for reading – and stay goatly!

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