Hi from Australia - New to pack goating
Hi All,
I'm new to goat packing and I am interested in setting up a string of goats. Goat packing in Australia is not overly common. I am looking at adopting very friendly goats that have been peoples pets to use at pack goats. Has anyone done this and so they have any advice? I'd like to do a very very long distance trip in April on the National Trail and have dreams of getting a string together for it. Are these realistic expectations?

How many goats would I need to carry 2 people's worth of hiking and camping gear to allow me to be sufficient for two weeks at a time. I pack light, but I get back pain if I carry loads for too long hence wanting to use goats.

Can you recommend what gear to buy? There are quite a few different brands and it's a bit overwhelming and the AUD to USD exchange rate is terrible at the moment so the gear is very expensive.

I'd appreciate your insight and would love to touch base with any other Aussies - especially if you're in Victoria.

Welcome Stella!

I know of one guy who was on here a few years ago who put his string together from pet goats that weren't working out for their owners. Seems like he got a pretty good string together. Not all pet goats make great packgoats, but some do. The thing that may be hard is getting them in condition. If they're pasture potatoes that are used to laying around, they may not be very motivated to work. Make sure to find goats that aren't overweight. The extra pounds make it extra hard for them to work, which significantly reduces their enthusiasm for going out with you. In order to get then in shape for such a long trail, you'd really have to get them working as soon as possible. You'll need goats with very good feet and legs, and excellent overall conformation for such a long trip. You'll want goats tall, thin goats with long legs for such a long trip. You want goats that can go a distance more than pack a huge amount of weight. The big, sturdy cargo hauler goats are better suited for packing out elk after a hunt because they can carry a lot of weight for a short distance, but they usually don't have good endurance, particularly when you're talking about going on day after day. So look for tall, lean, long-legged goats with tight, strong hooves and strong, correct leg conformation. They should appear to move very easily, not slogging along, and make sure their legs don't twist in odd directions when they walk. The front legs should not wing out to the sides at a walk or trot, and pay careful attention to the hind legs at a walk. They should not twist in or out as the goat's feet strike the ground. Twisting reduces their load-carrying capacity and will cause soreness in the hips and possibly hocks. The hocks should have a good angle to them. Too-straight hocks reduces efficiency and creates soreness.

But before you get started with goats, definitely look into the regulations in Australia. From what I understand, your government is very strict about moving livestock around. They may not allow you transport goats easily from point A to point B, let alone hike with them off your property. Hopefully it's allowed.

The question about how many goats is kind of up to you. A big goat can carry about 50 lbs. but for a trip as long as you have in mind it should probably be less. I generally think one goat per person is sufficient if you're a light packer, but for a very long trip you might want to have a spare goat or two as well, just in case something should happen to one of them along the way, and to rotate the loads so that each goat gets to walk without weight every couple days.

My favorite brand is the Sopris saddle. Sopris saddles are lighter weight than wooden saddles and they fit all shapes of goats so you don't have to worry about saddle sores. They're pricier than wooden saddles, and somewhat more complicated to use, but I think they have enough good points to make up for that.

I know one other person in Australia who has had packgoats. Her name is Kate and I can try to get you in touch with her. I think she is even in Victoria, if I remember correctly.

Good luck!
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
^ LOVE this! You made this a few years ago for Kate, didn't you? I'd forgotten all about it! Goat head on a kangaroo body is classic! Tongue

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