You can milk them, they’re known for their excellent weed control and they make great educational pets. We’re talking goats and how you might go about convincing your school to get one (or two).
Waiting at the bus stop, the noise of the busy day traffic streams past, a car honks it’s horn, a cyclist confidently weaves in and out, and a goat bleats.
Cutting through the hum of the Sydney inner city sounds, is a happy goat bleating it’s good morning to the world from behind a nearby school fence; this is followed closely by a second bleat from her sister.
Welcome to the delightful world of our local public primary school. Where along with native bees and chooks, two miniature goats are kept.
If you think getting goats for your kids school would also be a great addition, here’s a few suggestions on how to go about it.
Kids can learn so much from goats.
They are interactive, and they’re incredibly curious animals. Keeping goats teaches kids about pet responsibility in an age where many city living kids simply don’t have animals.
The opportunities for incorporating goats into your school lessons are endless; this in itself is a draw card in getting them. Maths, science, writing, and art can be completely reworked.
Firstly, get your Principal on board. All you need is one enthusiastic person to get things started (by the way, that’s you. Or in our case, this is the gorgeous Sarah).
And then you get to experience the wonderful trickle down effect.
The Principal however needs to be behind this project from the start, as questions, education (and possible complaints) all could be headed their way. An enthusiastic principal will keep everything rolling smoothly.
Weeds and plant cuttings, that’s how to make your goat happy.
Which is convenient as these are the things that can sometimes be tricky to compost. There’s not much these goats won’t have a look at eating so be mindful where they are going.
The fact that a substantial amount of their diet can be based on eating weeds and cuttings, means they make for they make for excellent gardeners, albeit ruthless ones.
Having diets like this, means that not just within the immediate school zone, but also the surrounding community area, weeds and cuttings can be brought in and given to the goats.
A smaller amount of household scraps will also eaten with goaty gusto.
You’ll need to check with your local council with this one to see what the specific requirements are.
Each area may differ, and if there aren’t any regulations set out? Well then…
Keeping goats in the city is definitely a community enhancing strategy.
It starts conversations, and conversations bring people together that might not have talked to each other before over the curious topic of these small hoofed animals.
It also offers up the idea and possibility of others getting a goat. They are fascinating useful creatures and wholeheartedly deserve talking about.
It’s important to understand goats as the animals they are, and really research their needs and requirements.
As a first point, consider getting at least two as they are herd animals. Also consider the different breeds.
What context will you be bringing them in under? Is noise a factor? Some goats can be particularly noisy.
Miniature goats (like our school’s) are a good option as they only grow to about 55cm in height, which is far smaller than a regular sized goat. In an urban environment this can be ideal.
Along with enthusiasm on keeping the goats, another big factor to consider is time – is there someone that will be dedicated to making sure the goats are always fed, safe and generally being well looked after on a daily basis?
While it can be done with one enthusiastic person in a school setting, a group of people taking on the shared care of the animals is ideal.
Obviously a well-fenced area is also necessary, along with a weatherproof shelter and access to clean drinking water.
So with school lesson ideas being broadened, an enthusiastic principal ready to get started, an abundance of school yard garden foliage, weeds and cuttings available, you’re set.
Council checked in with, animal research done, you know there is a handful of goat carers at the ready and there’s a wonderful, supportive community around you ready to welcome in your new four legged friends.
Congratulations, it looks like you’ve just convinced your school to get some goats!
Does your school have any livestock? Got any stories about making that process happen? We’d love to hear…
Brydie Piaf is a photographer, home baker, maker, writer and wrangler of small people.