They are easy (unless you are breeding them, that is when the vet bills started racking up, what with pre-breeding tests and delivery issues)
Your basic wether (castrated male) gets good quality timothy or timothy/alfalfa mix hay, and water. Too much grain gives them urinary tract problems, so most people give them a small handful as a treat now and then, but that's it. They get one vaccine a year - CD/T, that cost me $17 at the vet, and they can get rabies also, can't remember how much, but probably about the same. You can also get the vaccine at Tractor Supply and give it yourself, it cost me about $8 for a bottle, and that was plenty for all my goats. They need shelter out of the wind, that is dry, b/c damp conditions lead to pneumonia, but people have used many different things to provide that (I saw one person using a little tykes playhouse) The nigerian dwarf are about the size of my Irish Setter. You can train them to walk on a leash. I have an outdoor yard that they have grazed down to nothing, but I also have a moveable pen made out of two 4 foot high stock panels clipped together so they have fresh grazing every day that i bring them out. They also get grass clipping, garden scraps, maple leaves, raspberry leaves, etc. Some people fence large areas, or use electric fence but with so few goats that seems expensive for me. One thing, you have to have at least two goats, they are herd animals and do not like to be alone. They are easy to keep clean, i prefer shavings for bedding, and they have little pellet poop like rabbits or deer. I spot clean during the week, and thoroughly clean out all the bedding every couple weeks (right now, i am doing cleanings more often, and I have them on straw b/c of the babies, and I do not recommend straw bedding at all, it draws flies) They don't have to be bathed (they hate water and rain, and avoid it like the plague) a little brushing now and then keeps them clean (angoras probably need more, but i wouldn't get them) You can also shave them down in the warmer months to keep them cooler, but you don't have to.
Initial cost varies, depending on whether they are registered or not (and their pedigree), sex, age, etc. I have seen many many does with good pedigrees go for $600 and up (in the nigerian dwarf, good pedigree means strong milking lines, b/c they are a minature dairy goat, while the pygmies are minature meat goats) If you look on craiglist, you can find year-old or two year old bucks or wethers, mixed breed, usually they still have their horns, and people can't even give them away. (I prefer dehorned goats, the horns can injure each other, or children, and get snagged on fencing). Registered wethers, sold around 3 months old, are usually $75 - $125. Young does are usually around $300. You can find them for less (I did) if people are getting out of the goat business and have older does. But it takes alot of looking, and usually a long drive (the two people that sell registered nigerians around here must have great lines, b/c their babies are really expensive.) I'm not saying they aren't worth it, and they get what they are asking, but it is out of my price range.
They are wonderful pets, many people used the full-size goats (usually wethers) to pull carts, as pack animals on trails (less damaging than horses), any of them are great for weed control, esp in areas that are difficult to mow, like on hills. They browse a little bit here and there, so they won't eat all the good grass that horses prefer, they would rather eat scrubby trees, and weeds.
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