Amazing Expanding Goat Bellies

Goats were never designed to be sleek animals, and my goats, being Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats, are especially… ahem…. composed of rounded contours. Pip and Caper are wethers – neutered males – which makes them even more prone to looking like beach balls on sticks.

Goats are designed to eat forage constantly throughout the day. Well, that is, when they’re not resting to chew their cuds and digest what they’ve consumed. They have four stomachs to contain and process all of that roughage. The largest is the rumen which can hold several gallons of feed. It’s rather obvious where the rumen is when you look at the boys top-down.

two goats


The rumen is not centered inside of the goat, it’s actually more to the left. New goat owners often panic when they see something the size of a volleyball protruding on one side of the goat. It’s actually a good thing to see a full rumen. And, it should be noisy! Inside of the the rumen are millions (billions?) of bacteria doing the work of breaking down the feed into usable components. Put your ear to the side of your goat and you’ll hear rumblings and grumblings. Silence is an indication of a sick goat.

often sets things right, although dosing is not tidy. I had to do this once for Pip. See his pink beard in this post.)

Given their druthers, goats prefer prickly browse and a wide selection of weeds. My goat boys have eaten all of that “good” stuff out of their pasture, but luckily for them, this year I’m giving the pumpkin patch a rest. I could have tilled it, or mowed it, but I knew that if it went to weeds that the goaties would be in munching heaven.

eating goats


I try to get them out there for a half-hour a day. They’re on leashes, because as much as they love the weeds, they know that my rose bushes are not far away, and things with thorns are far tastier to them than this tall grass.

grazing goats


The other day I got out the tape measure to see how big around the goats were before their outing. Pip was 43 inches at the widest, Caper 45. They ate and ate. A half-hour later, Caper was 47 inches around, and Pip was 45 1/2 inches.

wide goat


There was a lot of cud-chewing to do back in their paddock!

goat belly


  1. Not sure that last picture is Caper’s best side….but the second one is definitely Pip’s. Fabulous face. Great post and pictures. Thanks.

  2. Our neighbors employed four “rent-a-goats” to clear poison ivy and other weeds way down at the bottom of the back pasture. I noticed the movable fence kept them from the hardwoods. They got a new section to work over every day and did a super job. I bet your neighbors would like to borrow Pip and Caper for some yard work. We sure would!

    There is a carpet of baby holly trees that they ignored. Wrong kind of prickly, I suppose.

    How much water do the goats drink? The four goats had access to several five gallon buckets of water, but never seemed to drink much.

    • Drinking depends on the water content of the forage and how hot the day is. The red bucket in my goats’ stall is drunk down at least once a day.

  3. adorable, so wish I could have a pair of goats, but no room

  4. Your comment about Pepto made me smile. I had to give some to a baby a couple of times and we both ended up kind of pink! I had one with bloat once and had to give her baking soda mixed with vegetable oil. We both also enjoyed that experience immensely.
    I put dog collars on mine, too, so I can lead them to the milk stand easily. Your goats are beautiful.

  5. Carol – Did you mean a baby goat? I was ok (ish) with ‘baby’ until you got to the baking soda & vegetable oil.

    Well if there is a good side Terry – that last photo isn’t it! Wonderful though your photos always are.
    Brilliant post – thank you.

  6. Oh my gosh, how funny!! Yes, I meant baby goat. I had to reread my comment and realized I didn’t say that. No, I never tried that one on my (human) kids. :)

  7. Your boys are SO cute! And they look very happy about the yummy grass. Makes me want a couple of my own.

  8. I think they are adorable and their faces certainly are full of expression. Love these pictures.

  9. wonder what their BMI is with a waist that size ? at least their waist line recedes unlike ours …:)