25 Best Goat Toys to Keep Goats Happy and Entertained

Exercise Balls can Stimulate Your Goats' Curiosity

 

Today’s domesticated goats are related to animals that once roamed the Iranian Plateau and Zagros mountains, which explains why they have such an aptitude and enthusiasm for climbing.

Goats are at home in rugged areas where balancing and climbing are their main activities. Toys that encourage them to utilize these skills will provide mental stimulation and help keep your goats fit and healthy.

What are the best toys to entertain your goats? Anything your goats can climb or balance on will keep them entertained. Wheelbarrows, slides, surfboards, tractor tires, see-saws, and trampolines can be repurposed and used as goat toys. Food enrichment toys and scratching posts will also stimulate your goats.

Goat toys are important to your goat’s happiness and can help reduce stress. The ability to play increases your goat’s physical health. And, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on goat toys. This article will cover DIY toys as well as cheap options toys you can purchase for your goats.

Choosing The Best Toys For Your Goats And Their Environment 

The best toys to buy or build are those that will encourage your goat to perform natural behaviors. For example, food enrichment toys will stimulate your goat’s natural browsing and exploratory behavior. If you want your goats to improve their climbing and balancing skills, creating a dynamic space with climbing frames and see-saws is a better approach. 

One of our bucks was so intent on escaping his enclosure that we started introducing new toys every few days to focus his curiosity on different objects rather than trying to figure out how to escape. By swapping various toys in and out of the enclosure every few days, we managed to create a dynamic enough environment that he forgot about scaling the fences.

With a group of young males like these, we aim to reduce aggressive behavior and provide a safe outlet for any pent-up frustration. 

Toys Can Prevent Aggressive Behavior in Male Goats

Regardless of what you want to achieve with your goat toys, they must be durable, practical, safe, mobile, and cost-effective. 

Goat Toys Need to be Durable

Goats are rough with their toys, so whatever you choose needs to withstand a good deal of goat rough-housing, as well as the elements.

Be Realistic About Your Goat Toy Ideas

Be practical about what toys you can provide. I have zero DIY skills, so building a climbing frame or see-saw from scratch is unrealistic. Instead, I rummaged around in various garden sheds and outhouses and dragged out an old broom, a broken buoy, and a dusty exercise ball. 

Make Sure your Goat Toys are Safe

Goats have a propensity for trouble, so your toys need to be safe. Check your toys thoroughly before introducing them to your goat enclosure. Ensure no nails or screws are sticking out, and remove any sharp corners that could injure your goats. Stay away from any item that is already starting to rot or rust. Similarly, avoid anything that your goat could get its horns, hooves, or heads stuck inside. 

Goat Toys Need to Move With the Herd

Many of us rotate our goats into different pastures over the year. If this is the case, you need mobile goat toys that you can move along with your goats. For instance, our goats love wheelbarrows, which are easy to move along with your goat friends.

Where To Find Cheap Toys For Goats 

You don’t have to spend a fortune on an intricate goat playground to keep your goats entertained. They won’t care if you bought a swing and slide set for over $100 or made it yourself for less than $10.

Garage sales are great places to look for inexpensive goat toys, as is the free section of Craigslist. I found pecan wood stumps, old office furniture, and even an old reclining armchair, all available for free.  

You can also ask friends if they don’t have any old children’s toys that you might be able to repurpose. An old plastic slide can provide hours of entertainment, as can a disused exercise ball.

10 Easy and Cost-Effective DIY Goat Toy Ideas 

#1 Build a Playground Out of Old Tires 

Young goats will while away hours jumping on and running through half-buried tires. Tractor tires are better for standard-sized goats, like the Saanen and Boer, while car tires will work just fine for smaller breeds like the Dwarf Nigerians. 

Many dumps separate tires for recycling or repurposing. Check with your local transfer or waste station and you maybe able to get tires for free.

#2 Tree Branches Provide Food and Mental Stimulation

Every morning, we cut a few branches from the acacia trees that grow abundantly on one side of our property. We pop these into the enclosure where our young males hang out, and they spend the first few hours of the day nibbling off the leaves and stripping the bark. Not only does this give them a bit of extra nutrition, but it also encourages them to use their natural browsing skills to access that nutrition.

Tree Branches Provide Food and Mental Stimulation

#3 Wheelbarrows Create Mobile Entertainment

We try to keep our goats stimulated by giving them access to different enclosures. You can move an old wheelbarrow with the goats, making it a handy goat toy for situations such as these. As you can see, our boys enjoy climbing into the wheelbarrow and looking down on their siblings from an elevated position.

Wheelbarrows Provide Mobile Entertainment

#4 Use Repurposed Marine Pilings to Build a Goat Playground

Goats love playgrounds just as much as children do, so why not put your DIY skills to use and build a goat playground out of repurposed marine pilings. 

You can adapt your structures to suit the needs and challenge the abilities of different herd members. Young goats and kids will enjoy jumping on and climbing between lower wooden piles. You can also plant the pilings into the ground to create taller structures that will test your adult goat’s strength and climbing abilities. 

#5 Goat Houses Double Up As Climbing Frames

Our goats spend as much time on top of their enclosures as they do inside them. Our babies learn to jump by performing death-defying leaps off the top of their pens – much to their mothers’ dismay! 

Enclosures Double-Up As Climbing Frames

#6 Stimulate your Goats’ Curiosity with an Exercise Ball

You can buy inflatable balls specially made for goats (on Amazon) made to be stronger against bursting. But, a standard exercise ball (on Amazon) is a lot cheaper and works just as effectively. The oldest buck ran away when I threw the ball pictured above into my goat enclosure this morning.

Only when the younger, more curious boys approached it did he build up the courage to investigate further. Hopefully, they’ll be more willing to engage with it once they get a bit more accustomed to its presence.

#7 Stumps, Rocks, and Logs make Great Climbing Toys for Goats 

We have many trees on our property, and our goats love utilizing them. They regularly climb our acacia trees, dragging the branches down so they can nibble on the leaves. They also clamber on old trees that have fallen down, balance on logs and stumps, and use rocks as look-out posts. 

Add tree stumps, old posts, or large rocks into your goat enclosures to provide hours of entertainment.

Logs make Great Climbing Toys for Goats#8 Straw Bales Provide Climbing Entertainment

Set up a few straw bales for climbing and nibbling entertainment. Stack them to create a mini-mountain they can jump on and off of while also munching on the straw. Check your area for old straw bales. Just make sure they aren’t moldy as that could cause respiratory illness in your goats.

#9 Repurpose old Brushes and Brooms

Goats love a good scratch, especially when they’re molting, so why not help them relieve those itches and remove their loose hair by nailing an old brush to a post. Or, you can do like I did, and wind an old broom into the fence.

A Repurposed Broom Provides a Scratching Post

Toys like these have a practical purpose and stimulate your goat mentally and physically. They’re also a lot cheaper than custom-made livestock brushes.

If you’re worried your goats are scratching too much, find out what could be causing your goats to itch excessively.

#10 Let Your Goats Balance on Wooden Spools 

Power and phone companies use large wooden spools to store cable. Often, you can pick these up for nothing on Craigslist. Stand them on one end and fasten a board from the top to the ground, and you’ve created the perfect goat climbing apparatus and slide.

#11 Goat Slide with no Carpentry

Use a wooden spool to create a goat slide by balancing a longboard over the spool. Your goats will climb on the board and can use it as a teeter-totter.

#12 Give your Goats a Pile of Sand or Dirt to Play In

Goats enjoy different textures under their hooves and will spend many a happy hour pawing at a pile of sand. The babies will climb to the top and jump off while the older goats will roll around, using the sand to dislodge any parasites, before stretching out for an afternoon’s siesta. 

#13 Goat Feeder Balls Provide Stimulation and Exercise 

Hanging a goat feeder ball (on Amazon) in your enclosure is a great way to stop your goats from getting bored. It’s ideal for those rainy days when outdoor activities aren’t an option. Not only will your goat get some food rewards from this ingenious goat toy, but he can headbutt it to his heart’s content, getting rid of any pent-up anger or frustration. It’s also a great way to relieve stress.

#14 Dog Treat Puzzles for Your Goats

Dog treat puzzles (on Amazon) offer your goats just as much entertainment as they do your dogs. Fill them with some goat treats (on Amazon), pellets, or some chopped-up pieces of their favorite vegetables, and your goats will spend hours pushing them around the enclosure and gobbling up the goodies as they drop out.   

Goats also respond well to auditory stimulation, so if you can find a giggle ball (on Amazon) that makes noises when it’s rolled or shaken, you’ll engage your goat’s natural curiosity at the same time as providing some physical and mental stimulation. 

You can make a DIY goat treat by taking a gallon milk jug and poking or drilling holes around it. Fill it with goat treats and watch your goats have fun!

#15 Add a Kiddie Pool for Summer Fun

My chickens aren’t the only animal that loves a kiddie pool. On a warm summer day, goats adore the small pool of water. They splash and play. Water brings out an especially playful behavior.

insert image or take a video

#16 Give your Goats a Horse Ball to Play With

You don’t have to be a horse to get a thrill out of tossing a horse ball (on Amazon) around. These durable balls are bite-resistance and should withstand the most boisterous goat rough-housing. Your goats will soon get the hang of it and will be chasing it around the enclosure and playing tug-of-war with it in no time. 

#17 Repurpose Old Pallets

Grab a few pallets and stack or nail them together. You can build cheap goat houses out of pallets. Or, connect them for climbing structures. Depending on how great of skill you have, pallets structures can be simple or very complicated.

#18 Provide a Mineral Lick to Boost Nutrition and Alleviate Boredom

Hang a mineral lick (Amazon) in your goat’s enclosure and give the benefits of free-choice minerals and a way to stimulate their appetite and interest at the same time.  

#19 Provide Auditory Enrichment with Recordable Sound Buttons

Goats respond well to auditory stimulation. It appears to alleviate stress and boredom, especially if bad weather stops them from venturing outside. These buttons (Amazon) were designed for training dogs but could easily be adapted to give your goats something to do. 

Record a different message, noise, or tune onto each button, and then install them in your goat enclosure. As your goats learn to associate each button with a different sound, they’ll start to develop preferences and pick their favorites. 

#20 Tetherball can Provide Hours of Goat Fun

Set up a tetherball (on Amazon) for your goats to play with and be entertained yourself! Tetherballs are perfect because the ball will respond differently to your goats and return to the pole.

#21 Repurpose Old Playground Equipment

Don’t throw away old playhouses or plastic play huts. They may be too old or dirty for kids to use, but your goats will adore them.

#22 Plastic IBC Totes

Square plastic totes are used for many things. They are used to store foam insulation, paint, gasoline, and many other things. You can often find plastic totes for little cost. They can be repurposed into goat shelters or stacked for climbing structures.  insert image of goat house out of IBC from the Thacker’s goats

#23 Trampolines

Goats love trampolines. If you have an old trampoline and are considering getting rid of it, give it to your goats. They won’t mind that it’s not in great condition and will have hours of fun on it. Exercise trampolines can provide similar fun.

#24 Irrigation Pipe

If you live in a farming community, repurpose old irrigation pipe into goat slides and hide-outs. Large PVC or black pipe comes big enough for a goat to go inside. Set it up on a hill or lay it in your goat structure. Your goats will climb on and inside of it.

#25 Sprinklers

On a hot day, turn on a sprinkler and provide a cool way for your goats to refresh themselves. Plus you’ll water the pasture as well.

Conclusion

You’d don’t have to spend a fortune entertaining your goats. Old tires, repurposed wooden spools, and marine pilings provide as much stimulation as an intricately designed and custom-made goat playground. My goats utilize anything that comes their way, be it an old wheelbarrow or a fallen tree.  

You can repurpose almost anything to make a goat toy if you have the imagination and skill to transform it. The best goat toys aren’t those that cost the most, but the ones stimulate your goat mentally as well as physically. Anything that encourages your goats to use their inherent skills and perform their natural behaviors makes for a happier, healthier herd.

Nicky Hoseck

I’ve been around horses since the age of six and, 15 years ago, leapt at the chance to leave behind my London-based career in journalism and start life on a small-holding in South Africa. Sharing my experiences with horses, goats, and other farm animals allows me to flex my writing skills and help others find their way to a happy, healthy herd.

Recent Posts