Goats are known for their lively and curious nature, and our African Pygmy and Anglo Nubian goats here at the Sanctuary are no exception!

Providing them with a stimulating environment is important for their physical and mental well-being. We set out to achieve this by creating a goat habitat that would cater to their unique physiological needs and playful personalities.

We were able to start this project thanks to a £400 Enrichment Grant from ABWAK – the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers. The challenge we faced was to turn our existing goat paddock, which often became waterlogged in the winter, into an engaging outside environment that our goats could use all year round to improve their welfare.

Meet the herd

Here at the Sanctuary, we have four African Pygmy goats – Angus, Bella, Henry and Muffin. Pygmy goats are small compared to other goat breeds, but they are hardy and agile with a great sense of balance. This allows them to navigate through challenging terrains with ease. 

JP and Vinnie are our two Anglo Nubian goats. Nubians are larger and more robust than pygmy goats, possessing a strong build and long legs. They are renowned for their inquisitive and social personalities, making them highly active and playful animals.

The new playground in detail

Many hours of work went into building the new goat playground, most of them from our talented Animal Team led by Animal Manager, Marc Fox. Early on in the project, we also held team building days to get much of the heavy work done. The key elements of the goat playground are:

  • Wooden platforms of varying heights provide our goats with a place to rest, observe their surroundings, and engage in climbing activities.
  • A wobbly bridge offers an excellent opportunity for our pygmy goats to refine their balance skills, adding an element of adventure and physical challenge. Did you know? Our tigers Natasha and Zoppa have a wobbly bridge in their habitat too!
  • Old tyres partially buried into the ground provide a static element within the playground. Our smaller pygmy goats can walk underneath them and use them as a place of shelter.
  • A raised platform with turf serves as a comfortable resting area for our goats, with the grass being a soft natural surface for them to lie down on. Both the Pygmies and the Nubians enjoy lying in the bark-chip bedding underneath the platform as well!
  • Ramps are a crucial addition to the playground. They ensure that goats of all ages, sizes and physical capabilities can access and enjoy every feature.

We’re really proud of what our team has achieved to improve the welfare of the Wildheart goat herd. You can come and see the new playground in action on your next visit to the Sanctuary! Thanks to our Animal Carer, Fiona, for the excellent report on this project.