Biosec Agriculture

12 Tips for Keeping Goats in the City

Move over chickens, and make way for the goats. Just as it has become increasingly popular to keep chickens in America’s backyards, more people are raising goats on city and suburban lots.
Jennie Grant, a Seattle goat keeper who Time magazine dubbed “the godmother of goat lovers,” has had a hand in making that happen. Grant founded the Goat Justice League in 2007 to advocate for legalizing dairy goats in Seattle. That effort led to successful campaigns to legalize goats in Long Beach, California, and the Twin Cities. While Grant said the league is not as active as it once was, she continues to maintain the group’s website as a way to offer advice about backyard goat keeping and to provide information about how to change local ordinances that ban goats. Grant has also written a book, “City Goats, the Goat Justice League’s Guide to Backyard Goat Keeping,” that provides how-to advice for keeping goats in residential communities. It also includes a chapter about how to legalize goats where ordinances prohibit them.
“Goats are a really fun experience and serve as a reminder of how out of touch we are with farm animals and how little people know about them,” said Grant, who keeps two does, Snowflake and her daughter, Eloise, in a 20-by-20-foot area in her backyard. Here are 12 tips she shared for raising goats in your yard and keeping them, yourself and your neighbors happy.

Check On Codes
The first thing to do is to find out if your county, municipality or homeowners association allows goats where you live. Ordinances and regulations can include terms such as agriculture, livestock or nuisance animals, language that can be confusing even to seasoned government officials. Be sure to check noise ordinances in your research as some breeds of goats and males that have not been neutered can be loud at times. “Un-neutered males also can be very smelly and should not be kept in a densely populated area due to their poor hygiene habits,” Grant emphasized.


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