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I asked around (including on this site: Hiking with a mule or two?) about hiking with a mule or a horse.

Some people on other sites actually suggested hiking with pack goats. (for weights on the order of 5-10-20kg/10-20-50lbs, depending on hike)

Is this something people actually do? Does it work out?

  • I think they suggested llamas, not goats. – Weather Vane Sep 20 at 8:13
  • @WeatherVane two goats can carry the same weight as one llama, the infrastructure to support and the start up costs are much less with goats then with llamas. I would not consider a llama an entry level pack animal – James Jenkins Sep 20 at 15:08
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A few decades ago, I raised Saanens goats as part of a small farm. I also liked to hike. I did some research and found that 'pack goats' where in use in some places. The have a number of positive attributes that make them a good choice.

I have actually had them on the trail a few times

  • They eat brush so can browse for food along the trail (this may be prohibited in some areas)
  • Pound of animal to pound of weight bearing they do well, being able to carry about 25% of their body weight.
  • You can carry a herd of them in the back of a covered pickup
  • They are herd animals, and if they identify you as pack leader, they will follow you along the trail.
  • You can buy goat packs online.
  • For smaller loads you can use a dog pack on a goat, they are less expensive and at the time were easier to get.

Disadvantages; they are goats, if you have raised goats, you have probably come out one morning to find one on the roof of your car, with goat prints all over, and the goat got very grumpy when you explained this was not appropriate.

In summary; if you now or previously had goats, they can be a good choice for pack animals. If you don't have goat raising history, you will want to do some goat research and visit a goat farm.

Reference:

  • 3
    The credibility of your answer is already so high that those references do nothing to increase it (though of course they have other merits). I had a very good laugh at picturing a stubborn goat in denial while you're scolding it :D – imsodin Sep 20 at 14:23
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    Hi James, I agree that this is an awesome answer, but I always feel that including sources improves posts. I learned a lot from yours! I didn't even know "pack goats" existed! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Sep 22 at 18:24

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