Goats are popular farm animals and are becoming increasingly popular as pets. Whether you plan to keep goats as livestock or pets, knowing how long goats live can help you prepare for raising a herd.
So, what is the average goat life expectancy? On average, most goat breeds live from 10 to 12 years. Many factors affect the lifespan of a goat, including breed, genetics, diet, living conditions, and weather conditions. The advances in veterinary care and the fact that more goats are kept as pets means that they live much longer than before.
Breed and habitat will affect the life expectancy of your goats the most. Wild goats are exposed to various threats and predators and have much shorter average lifespans than domestic goats.
Keep reading to discover how long different breeds of goats live and the factors that affect a goat’s lifespan.
Factors that Affect a Goat’s Lifespan
Many different factors affect how long goats live. Out of all factors that affect the goat’s life expectancy, the habitat and the breed matter the most.
These are the most common factors that affect the lifespan of different goat breeds:
Some goat breeds are genetically predisposed to live longer than others, and there’s not much you can do to change that.
Nubian goats can live from 15 to 18 years or more when kept in the right conditions and are one of the longest-lived goat breeds. On the other hand, Spanish goats live only six to seven years and are one of the shortest-lived breeds of domestic goats.
Like people, goats are affected by their surroundings. It’s easy to forget that goats are actually prey animals. So, carefully pick a habitat for your goats to help them feel safe and protected.
The presence of predators can cause goats to feel stressed at all times, even if they are in a fenced area where predators can’t get to them.
The inability to escape from the predator can make your goats distressed. So, creating a safe environment in which your herd won’t feel threatened is important.
Goats thrive in an environment with a shelter that can keep them comfortable and safe in extreme weather conditions, such as sweltering heat and freezing cold.
Stress is another factor that can affect the lifespan of a domestic goat. As mentioned previously, goats are prey animals, meaning they can easily become stressed.
For example, keeping goats near a dog can make the goats stressed, even if a fence separates them from the dog. Because goats are naturally herded animals, they can also feel stressed if they live alone or are under-stimulated.
The most common symptoms of stress in goats include lack of appetite, not drinking water, tail down, and droopy eyes. Another sign that your goats are stressed is if they don’t want to sleep.
Diet is one of the most important factors that determine an animal’s life expectancy. Despite popular beliefs, goats can’t survive eating anything and need a carefully balanced diet of grass, high-quality hay, and supplements.
Goats have very sensitive stomachs and easily develop digestive problems if not fed properly. Feed your goats with long, fibrous food that supports good digestion, supplementary nutrition, and concentrates that support the nutritional needs of growing and milking goats.
Goats are one of the hardiest animals, capable of living in tropical climates, but their health and lifespan can be affected by extreme heat. A study has found that when goats are exposed to temperatures above 100°F, their body’s way of regulating temperature reduces production.
In extreme heat, the body’s survival mechanism kicks in, redirecting the energy necessary for normal bodily functions to thermoregulation.
Spending an entire day outside in the sweltering heat is uncomfortable for goats, so it’s your job to provide shaded and sheltered areas. If possible, consider installing fans if you live in an area known for intense heat.
Obesity is a surprising factor that affects the goat’s lifespan these days. Nowadays, more goats are kept as pets rather than livestock animals, and owners like to indulge their pets.
Most people pamper their pets with treats, which unfortunately leads to obesity. Being obese leads to many health problems that shorten the animal’s life expectancy.
Stick to species-specific foods and feed a balanced diet if you want to care for your goats properly and keep them healthy.
What Breed of Goat Lives the Longest?
Nubian goats are known for their long lifespan and can live for 15 to 18 years in the right conditions. They are excellent dairy goats, mostly kept for their milk which is used to make rich cheese.
Another interesting fact about Nubian goats is that they tend to be louder than other goat breeds. Keeping these goats can be problematic if you have neighbors close by.
How Long Does a Pygmy Goat Live?
Pygmy goats have an average lifespan of 12 years. These goats are much shorter than other domestic goats and grow up to 20 inches tall as adults.
The small stature of pygmy goats is caused by achondroplasia, a gene mutation that causes dwarfism. Pygmy goats are susceptible to various diseases and require much care to stay healthy. When kept in the right environment and vaccinated regularly, pygmy goats can live even longer than expected.
The average life expectancy of goats is 10 to 12 years, depending on the breed and other factors. Habitat, diet, lack of mental stimulation, heat stress, and breed are some of the most important factors that affect a goat’s life expectancy.
Thanks to advances in veterinary care, more and more goats are living longer than ever. And the fact that these cute animals are being kept as pets rather than farm animals improves the quality of their lives and increases their life expectancy.