Can you keep horses, goats, and cows together?

 

Hello and thank you in advance for your expertise.
I need to know if I can house my 3 goats, several beef cows, and 1 horse together. Space is not a problem. Do they need to be separated all day? Can they roam together? Is my main concern that the horse will have access to the feed or are there other issues? My neighbor is raising the cattle. The goats and horse are my daughter's pets. The horse will be a new experience for us.
Can you offer any advice?
Thank you
Connie

Hi Connie,

That's a good question. I have had horses together with goats, sheep, geese, and other animals without a problem. The other animals will, however, try to eat the horse's food (especially if you give grain!). It would be best to feed the horse separate in the morning & night, and the rest of the time he can be turned out with the other animals.

One other thing to look out for is the horse's attitude toward the other animals. Be sure that you give him time to adjust to them -- some horses are afraid of cattle or other animals and if you turn him out suddenly he could be afraid and get hurt.
You should, if you can, allow him to be penned next to them so he can see/smell them and get used to them. You might try a test turnout, take him near the pen and if he acts afraid at all don't turn him loose. If he's OK with it, you can turn him out and keep an eye on him for awhile to make sure he adjusts OK.

I know we had one horse that, when we first brought him home, was terrified of the sheep and goats. He thought they were going to eat him! We kept him away from them for awhile, but he gradually got used to them, and now he doesn't even mind if they run around in his paddock.

You may also want to watch to make sure he isn't aggressive. We have one horse that will chase and bite other animals -- he's in a very large paddock so he's fine, but you need to make sure that the horse won't hurt the other animals (and that they won't hurt him).
Goats are often used as companions for horses, and cattle and horses often run together on big ranches. You shouldn't have a problem, just be careful to watch them and make sure they'll get along nicely.

I hope you have a great time with your first horse, and teach your daughter to be safe! Horses are wonderful companions, but are also very dangerous.

After note:

Someone mentioned to me that Seabiscuit was given a goat as a companion (and this is in the movie too). He apparently didn't like the goat, because he grabbed the goat in his jaws and shook it, then threw it out of the stall.

 

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