Both goats and sheep are the mostly raised and common farm animals. Both are smaller sized ruminant animals and provide milk, meat and wool. You can raise them for the purpose of producing milk, meat, wool or cleaning brush and fields of vegetation. But you might ask, is it OK ‘raising goats and sheep together’? Answer is YES in some cases, especially if you raise a few number of goats and sheep together. But a big NO, if you raise them for commercial production purpose.
Although, raising goats and sheep together requires special care and consideration. Goats and sheep can be raised together, as long as the goats are disbudded and the sheep are polled. Both goats and sheep are member of Bovidae family and Caprinae subfamily. So they have lots of physiology in common. Both are docile and suitable for commercial production purpose. However read more about raising goats and sheep together.
Feeding is the most important part of raising any farm animals. In case of raising goats and sheep together, you can allow them to graze in the same pasture. Goats are browsers and they love grass, brush, leaves, trees and shrubs. And sheep are grazers and prefer grass and broad leaved plants. Usually none of them will compete for the same food. But the most important part to consider while raising goats and sheep together is the amount of different minerals they require. Goats and sheep require mineral supplements along with quality hay, forage or grain in order to ensure both of them are getting the necessary nutrients. The main difference in supplemental minerals between this two animals is copper. Goats require a mineral supplement containing copper. But too much copper can be fatal for sheep.
Sheep usually acquire necessary minerals through foraging. So in case of raising goats and sheep together, it’s a good idea to separate their feed and feeding locations. Because different feeding locations limit the risk of sheep ingesting too much copper, and ensure goats are getting sufficient amount of copper.
Shelter & Fencing
For keeping your goats and sheep safe, you have to make suitable shelter and strong fence, like keeping other livestock animals. Goats are very curious animals and usually climb and explore. But sheep are more likely to respect fencing around the farm or pasture. Goats are famous as an expert escape artists. So you have to make a strong fence based on their nature. The fence also have to suitable enough for keeping the goats and sheep inside and all types of predators outside. You can make woven or net wire fencing. But barbed wire fences are not recommended and not suitable for raising goats and sheep together. Usually one acre of pasture is adequate for keeping a small group of goats and sheep. Keep the goats and sheep together inside a pen or lot, if pasture is not available. Also provide adequate shelter for both of your goats and sheep. Although, goats and sheep need shelter for different reasons. Goats love to stay dry and require shelters during rainy and excessive cold seasons. But sheep require shelter in hot days during summer season.
Goats are browsers and are such animals that eat almost everything which they find edible in front of them. But in case of foraging, they are actually picky eaters. They like leaves, vines, twigs, shrubs etc. On the other hand, sheep are grazers and like grass and clover.
Interactions & Horns
Sheep don’t have any horns, but goats have horns. So you have to be careful while keeping polled animals with horned animals. Both goats and sheep are social animal and they can compete with each other for a spot in the flock or herd. You can reduce the risk of serious injury to your sheep by disbudding or removing horns of your goats. You can also keep lambs and kids with their mom in a separate pen for avoiding injury risks from other goats or sheep.
The offspring produced by breeding of goat and sheep or sheep and goats is known as geeps. Goats and sheep are totally different species. Sheep have 54 chromosomes and goats have 60. Mating between this two animal is rare, but possible. Geeps are result of this unnatural mating. Geeps are often die at birth or are infertile. So, it’s a good idea to keep the bucks and rams separated from the herd, especially during breeding season. And keeping the females and males separate is essential for avoiding unplanned mating, whether you are raising goats and sheep together or alone.
What are you thinking now? Raising goats and sheep together is pretty hardy. Right? Why raising them together? Keep either goats or sheep, or keep them separate from each other for specific production purpose. That’s good. 🙂