Healthy Living with Back Yard Goats in Ft. Collins, CO

For a downloadable brochure on" Healthy Living with Backyard Goats" is available in PDF format click here.

The city of Fort Collins allows city dwellers to acquire a license to keep 2 pygmy or dwarf goats in their backyard under Ordinance No. 097, 2013. The regulation can be found online at Fort Collins.gov. There are important stipulations about goat management in the ruling. Read the ordinance carefully before purchasing your goats to assure that you can comply. In order to get a license the regulations require you to take a quiz on goat husbandry and health issues based on information in this pamphlet and the Goat Resource Handbook (The Ohio State University, 2008). Your facility must be inspected by an officer from the Larimer County Humane Society and you must provide proof of rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian.
In Fort Collins you must keep goats in pairs. Goats are herd animals and are more content if maintained with their own kind. The regulation allows wethers (castrated male goats), female goats, and kids (baby goats). According to city law, the kids may be kept until they are 12 weeks of age then you must reduce your herd back to 2 goats. This will require finding a home for the kids or your adult goats.  Intact male goats (bucks) are not allowed in the City because they can be aggressive and dangerous. 
The City goat license allows goats to be kept for milk and fiber production or as companions. According to city ordinance, goats may not be raised for meat.
The purpose of this page and or pamphlet is to provide an overview of important goat health issues. Like all animal owners, goat owners have an obligation to manage their goats for optimal health. Owners also need to be aware that close contact between people and goats increases the risk of diseases that spread from animals to people and people to animals (zoonotic diseases). To date most of the urban community has not been exposed to these health challenges. Understanding healthy goat management and steps that decrease disease exposure will minimize the potential for negative impacts. Education about proper husbandry and biosecurity practices will help ensure the health and welfare of the animals, their owners and neighbors.
Although this page and or pamphlet focuses on health issues, it is not a substitute for the services of a veterinarian. Learn to know and care for your goat, recognize when your goat is sick, and obtain professional veterinary help when needed. If anyone who has handled your goats becomes ill, it is important to mention goat exposure to the attending physician. Because goats have not traditionally been kept in cities, the physician will not usually consider goat borne organisms in the list of causes of a human health problem.
Despite the age or use of your goats it is important that you recognize their individual behavior and physical characteristics. Observe your animals to learn their normal behavior. This will enable you to recognize when they do not feel well.
Normal measurements (TPR) for a healthy goat:
Temperature 101.5 - 104.5˚C (39.1 - 40˚C)
Pulse rate 60 - 90 beats per minute (faster in kids)
Respiration rate 15 - 60 breaths per minute

Health issues vary with the age ( lifespan of 8 - 15 years), gender and use of your goat(s) so they will be discussed for three categories of goats: Adult goats (wethers and spayed or non pregnant does.), producing does, and kids.

For a downloadable brochure on" Healthy Living with Backyard Goats" is available in PDF format click here.

Purchasing Goats: It is very important to buy your goats from a reputable farmer. You may wish to buy them as kids or pregnant does. Whichever you prefer, be a well informed consumer. Advice on buying a pygmy goat can be found at:http://www.npga-pygmy.com

Produced by Colorado State University, College of Biomedical Sciences and the Veterinary Extention

  • Ragan Adams, MA, DVM, Veterinary Extension, CVMBS, CSU
    David Van Metre, DVM, DACVIM, Veterinary Extension, CVMBS, CSU

Licensed Veterinarians may be found at:

  • Colorado Veterinary Teaching Hospital (970-297-5000)

  • Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (303-318-0447)

CSU Extension has Fact sheets avalible on Goats

Other Goat Related Resources