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Leaving goats unattended for multiple days?

 
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I would like to get some goats to keep at my property for brush clearing, but I don't live on site.  My neighbor insists that they'll be fine being left alone for a few days as long as they have sufficient water (they will; there's a well onsite and I would set up an automatic waterer), good fencing, and plenty of browse (that's the point, isn't it?).  I'm not convinced, being mostly concerned about coyotes, which I know are in the area.
Does anyone here have any experience leaving goats unattended?
 
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I guess it depends if you have coyotes or other predators. ive been interested in getting a couple goats but I'm pretty sure if they are not close to where I am all the time coyotes would destroy them. ive heard some people say if they are penned in with a mule or 2 they will be much safer. I guess mules don't put up with any nonsense from hungry predators.
 
author & gardener
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G B, welcome to Permies!

Before taking anyone's advice, the thing I always ask myself is---how much practical experience does the advice giver have on the topic? Has your neighbor successfully left goats unattended for days at a time? If they can't answer yes and give you some pointers for success, then it's just their opinion. Nothing more.

I've kept goats for more than ten years, and have to say that I would be extremely reluctant to leave them unattended for more than normal workday hours. Some people do, but they keep well-trained livestock guardian dogs to watch the herd. Without a good dog, coyotes can devastate a herd. Guard donkeys, llamas, etc., won't do here, because while they can alert to danger, they are prey animals themselves. Coyotes are pack hunters and can take them down just like they can goats or sheep.

The other concern is good fencing. Goats are notorious at finding their way over, under, and through fencing, so it's got to be as goat-proof as possible. If you have horned goats there are other concerns. I've had horned goats get their heads stuck in fencing (making them easy prey for everything). I once had a horned goat who would hook his horns in the fence and rock it back and forth until he pulled a hole in the fence!

Good question. I think you're spot on to be cautious.
 
pollinator
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I would never leave any livestock unattended for more than a day, they should be checked on at least twice a day. Even if it's just to make sure they are all still there, moving and have water. (automatic or not you need to check on it every day)
 
bruce Fine
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good advice here. predators are a real threat. I know my previous neighbor lost very well attended to goats to coyote and bobcats. when a predator finds prey it aint pretty for your loved animals. my other neighbor was telling me there were three coyotes outside her house just two nights ago wanting to get at her cats and dogs.
 
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I have 2 excellent dogs, Australian Shepherd  and a Border  Collie.   If my wife and I have to be away overnight, I bring all livestock out of their paddocks and into corrals near my house.  There is double fencing with both the corrals fenced and the entire barnyard that the corrals are in fenced.The animals are never unattended by a human more than one night.

If my wife and I have to be gone more than one night, which is rare, I hire a highly reliable person to check on the livestock 2x a day. They in turn have the phone number of someone experienced with livestock to back them up.  

I am concerned about feral dogs and coyotes.  There are a variety of other predators as well.
 
pollinator
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I would leave for a 7day vacation with the following animals:
Honey Bee
Fish Pond (if it is overstocked, I would also setup an automatic feeder)
Chicken with Automatic Feeder & water.
I might leave a cat with automatic feeder if it was already a semi-wild outside cat.
I might do a cow, if the pasture was big enough, but this is really pushing it.

I don't trust goat to not wander into my neighbors property destroy their plants, that I will then have to pay to fix.
I don't trust goats to not find a route to escape a barn and then get eaten.
I trust cats to stay withing their confinement more than goats, and we all know that cats will find a way to leave and explore.

If it is an emergency and you cant find someone to pay $100 to look at them twice a day for a week, then you just do what you have to do, but be prepared for a disaster when you get back. But you might just be lucky enough.
 
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I figure that when humans domesticated plants and animals, it was a two way street. Humans received something (usually food or fiber) and the plants and animals received something (usually food/water and protection). The more feral a plant or animal, the more loose the deal can be - so if I could find feral goats and invite them to hang on my property, leaving for multiple days would be OK. After all - that's sort of what my plethora of deer do! For me to buy fully human-raised goats and leave them for multiple days unattended seems a breach of contract.

@ G B Spencer- you've said you don't live there, but not how often and for how long you are on the property. Would you be able to arrange a "time-share" with a local - they use the goats for brush clearance when you're away, and they come to your property when you're there? There are just too many ways an animal can get himself into trouble - we had a rooster who once managed to get himself hung upside down with his foot caught in the chain that holds the feeder. We've *no* idea how he managed it, but he survived because we found him soon enough and released him. Just compare the average life spans of house vs feral cats and you may come to the same conclusion.
 
G B Spencer
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I'm out there twice a week for a few hours to do work improving the property.
I think the best courses of action are to either wait until I move out there to get the animals, or see if the tenant would be interested in a break on rent to keep an eye on them.  They have chickens now, so have to keep a scheduled watch on them, and could expand that to my goats.  

Thanks for all the input everyone.  My initial instincts seem to have been correct.
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