But Goodwife, can't I just buy hay?? Sure you can, but having enough stuff to feed those critters isn't the issue. It's like if you had an unlimited supply of carrots to eat but nothing else. You aren't going to starve, and you aren't even necessarily going to be hungry but I can bet you when the neighbor starts grilling pork chops, you are gonna be tempted to go say hi, and you are going to develop some diet related health issues.
But Goodwife, can't I scoop poop every single day?? Sure, but you won't get rid of the parasites and other creepy crawlies that thrive in the ground in over-crowded barnyards.
Keeping goats in and healthy isn't hard as long as you don't over-crowd.
Goats are browsers.....
They like to eat like a deer does and even if they have all the hay they can eat, if they can't browse, they will go awandering until they find some. Goats don't want to stand in a dirt lot in front of a rack of alfalfa hay. Do they like alfalfa? Of course, but they'd rather be eating tender shoots and dead leaves, buds from trees, and tender bark, poison ivy, and multiflora rose.
Now I'm not tellin' you ya can't have as many goats as you want. I don't care if you have 75 goats on an acre and a half, it's none of my business. I'm just telling you that your life as well as the lives of your goats/animals/land will be lots easier if you don't overload your land.
That said, I wouldn't want to raise goats without hot wire. Hot wire is your friend, wether (hehe) you are hemming in horses, pigs, dogs, or goats. When our goatlets are very little we get on the opposite side of the hot wire fence and coax them over. They get popped on the end of their little noses and that's that, they are broke to it for life. I'm sure if they were hungry, they might challenge it, but here they have plenty of room so they don't. Three strands of hot wire are the only thing between my goats and my garden and it's never been an issue. In the picture below, the far side is the garden, orchard area, and the front side is where the goats can be. That hotwire fence keeps them out of my garden. They will graze right up next to it, but won't touch it.
It did take a bit to get Tommy broke as he was an adult when he came here, but he's broke to it now and doesn't go anywhere. He also has really long hair, so when he would touch it it wouldn't get him very good. He got popped on the horns once and the nose once and that was all it took.
You also need to be good friends with your goats. If they see you as herd boss, even if they do get out they will likely come to the house looking for you. Tommy has been out about 3 times since he came here and all three times he came to the house or the shop. I saw him out the window, went outside and he followed me back to where he belonged. That said, I would NEVER expect any type of fence to keep a buck away from a doe in heat.
Now where does my goat need to live? Goats aren't too picky about their house. As a matter of fact, at our old place the goat house was old wooden stock racks, set on the ground, covered with tin on the sides and top. They don't care as long as they don't have to get wet. Goats HATE to get wet! They don't want to get rained on and they don't want to get their feet wet! I'm very blessed to now have a nice barn (thanks Dads) to house my goats in, but it isn't necessary.
Because my goats live in around 4 acres of pasture with lots of varied terrain, I don't have to trim hooves too often. This depends on the goat though. Like people, some goats' hooves grow super fast and some don't. Trimming isn't hard. I use pruning shears and put them on the milk stand and lock their head in with a bait of grain in front of them. That usually keeps mine happy while I do their feet. This is also something I start at a young age, handling their feet.
What about deworming? This is something else I take a bit of a different approach to. I don't deworm all that often because I don't need to. With my goats having such a large living area, parasites aren't that big of an issue. When I need to, I give ivomec orally, usually only a couple times a year. This is very contrary to what lot's of goat folk do, so remember it's just the way I do things, not for sure the way you should!
Now back to feeding.........I feed "grain" on an as needed basis as well. When my girls are in milk, they get fed a custom grain mix that the elevator mixes up for me. It looks like this....