Is It Better to Keep Goats in Pairs?

If you have a solo goat as livestock or a pet, you may think to yourself, “Do they need a buddy?” And if they do, why?

Goats are social animals and need to be kept in pairs. They are happiest when they have another goat or two with them to form bonds. Goats that are solitary will not die of sadness, but they will not be their happiest or healthiest when alone.

You can find more facts about goat social habits and needs in this article below.

Why Goats Need A Friend

The better question is, why wouldn’t goats need a friend?

Goats are instinctually herd animals, so they rely on other goats to play with and socialize.

Did you know that goat herds even have their own accents? While we can’t understand what they’re saying to each other, we can at least know that it’s vital for goats to be able to talk with others, whether it’s in a little pair or in a larger herd.

Because of their social habits, goats live their best lives when they have another to share it with. No matter if it is two wethers, two does, a wether and a doe, or a buck and a doe (if you want to let them start a little herd), they are likely to get along with each other and establish a relationship dynamic.

Even if you are close to your goat(s), human companionship doesn’t equate to goat companionship. Although goats are intelligent, friendly, and loving toward their humans, they still need others of their species to thrive.

You may find that once your goat has a buddy, they will be less loud and, well, annoying. Now they have someone to direct all their energy onto, and their contentedness levels will rise. This means you can sleep easier knowing that your goat isn’t trying to escape their pen out of boredom or loneliness—or trying to climb over everything and anything once they do.

But don’t expect this jailbreak habit to go away entirely when your goat has a friend. Goats are goats, after all, and they don’t totally obey anyone or any fence.

Introducing A New Goat

When you introduce one goat to another, you won’t have to worry much about all the complexities of a larger herd that a new goat has to navigate when they first join. That being said, you should take the same proper precautions as you would if you were dealing with a larger herd to be on the safe side.


To help prevent spread illness, create a space where you can quarantine your new goat from the other before they interact.

Giving your new goat an isolated space may not be ideal for you or either of the goats, but this helps ensure that any transmissible diseases die off. It also gives them a place to stay while you wait for test results for parasites or viruses.

At this stage, you can monitor the new goat for any other health conditions that may not have been covered by the breeder or veterinarian.

The quarantine period typically takes 30 days to complete, but it can sometimes last longer if health concerns arise. Though you may agonize over forcing your goats to wait an entire month before you can let them be together, quarantine is the best route to keep both goats healthy on a long-term and short-term level.

Food Change

Another benefit of quarantine is that you can transition your new goat into a different diet. While they recover from the stress of being moved into a new environment, the last thing they want is an upset stomach due to unfamiliar foods.

At your own pace, introduce your new goat to the hay, grain, supplements, and treats that they will be eating on a regular basis. You will want to ask the breeder that you purchased the goat from to provide you with some of the food they had been eating to make this change smoother.

Goats that have an abrupt diet change may suffer from digestive issues that can prolong their quarantine period due to being treated and monitored.

Personality-wise, the goat may just not like what you have to feed them, so they need some of their prior food mixed in with their current food to appease their sensibilities.


Once you’re able to free your new goat from quarantine, it’s finally time to let them get to know the other goat(s). Before you get too excited, however, you should keep in mind that since goats are social, they always have a hierarchal structure.

Medium to large herds have a ruthless mentality when it comes to deciding where the new goat sits on the social ladder. If your new goat is meeker, the established herd can be brutal toward them.

Thankfully, it won’t take long for your two or three goats to figure out where they’re placed in the small hierarchy pool. But don’t be surprised to see them being aggressive during this period while the old goat establishes dominance or the new goat tries to assert itself.

Once the dust settles and the roles are solidified, your goats are on their way to being friends.

Old Versus New

Be careful about how much you let your old goat see you dote on the new one. Goats are smart animals—and jealous. Depending on their personality, they may take their jealousy out on the new goat, as well as on you, through aggression or aloofness.

To help this, love on your old goat to reassure them that they’re still Number One in your eyes. You can give the goats treats at the same time to help their relationship form, and when you do, give the old goat the treats first, then the new goat.

Horned Or Dehorned

Whether your new goat has horns or was dehorned as a kid depends on your current goat. Are they dehorned as well? Or do they have horns?

Matching your goats up in this regard keeps them protected should fight or play break out. Dehorned goats won’t be able to hurt each other, and horned goats can fend off a headbutt without injury.

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