It’s a really good idea to keep your goats busy.
The internet will provide you with any number of DIY or commercially made toys for your chickens, to keep them stimulated if they are kept in a coop. Some countries even have legislation on “Environment Enrichment” for pigs. South African smallholders are likely to roll their eyes at all this. But the one topic that they will concede is that it is important to keep your goats entertained and busy.
That is because goats are clever, curious and energetic, so when they are bored they are bound to get up to mischief. They love to wander around, lounge or find stuff to head butt. They are also infamous escape artists, but the theory is that if the goats’ pasture has enough entertainment, they won’t try to escape.
Jungle Gyms for Goats
They like to jump and climb. The easiest things to add to your pasture for their amusement are large tree stumps, preferably of different heights and logs of different lengths. Providing stumps at increasing heights will keep them going up and up and then leaping off the tallest one with great gusto.
If the stumps have rough bark so much the better, as goats love to scratch. They scratch their sides, they scratch their heads, they scratch their rumps and they will scratch their belly if they can find something to rub them on. Having a nice, rough log lying around in their pen will give them something to rub their sides and bellies on. You can also make a scratch post by screwing hard scrubbing brushes or a broom head to posts or trees.
Remember too that goats are browsers. If your goats do not have access to trees, the next time you are trimming branches throw some into the goat pen. It is a wonderful treat for your goats and will keep them busy for a while.
If you or someone you know has a trampoline, the goats will love bouncing on it, even a small one.
Pallets can provide the start to a jungle gym for goats. Leave the pallets intact and stack them at various heights. Put the stacks next to each other so that the goats can climb from stack to stack. You can also add “bridges” by putting wooden boards between stacks so that they can walk from stack to stack.
Another cheap goat toy idea is to take any scrap wood you have around from other building projects and build tables, benches or other platforms for your goats.
Ride my See-saw
You can create a see-saw by attaching a sturdy plank to an upturned bucket or rock. You can sink half a tyre into the ground and attach your plank to that.
Some goats enjoy kicking around hard plastic balls, while others love climbing or jumping onto large exercise balls. Some people hang a ball from a fence which the goats enjoy butting.
Wooden cable spools will also be useful as platforms for them to jump onto and cascading different size spools make great goat toy obstacle courses.
Different sized tyres can be stacked for them to jump on or set into the ground to form tunnels. An old water tank with both ends taken off will also make a tunnel.
They thoroughly enjoy ramps, so you can carve steps into a tree log which can be attached to the side of one of your stacks. Keep a lookout for second hand jungle gyms that you can adapt. They even enjoy slides.