Building A Free DIY Goat Playground – Step by Step

If you are looking for a DIY goat playground that is relatively easy to make using mostly supplies you may have on hand, then this guide is just what you need. A great way for how to raise dairy goats that are active and healthy is to discourage boredom and give them room to jump and play. Add a playground to your pasture and watch your goats have fun. 

How to build a free DIY goat playground using recycled wood, tires, logs, and spools. A great way to encourage socialization in young goat kids. Keep your goats healthy with fun exercise and keep hooves short with play on rough surfaces. #homestead #dairygoats #goatkids #DIY

If you have goats, you know one thing. Goats just love to climb! A wood pile, a hill, a tractor, heck even a concrete block will do the trick. 

I have this old plastic exercise step in my barn that I put in for the goats a few years ago. My gals still fight over who will get to stand on that thing. Being higher than anyone else, even a few inches seems to be a goal of just about any goat. One day I realized what my goats needed was a bigger area to climb around on. A DIY goat playground where they could all climb even the younger goat kids. Just like human kids, goat kids are full of energy. Giving them an outlet like a playground will help to keep them active without having to resort to the rest of the herd for entertainment. 

I turned to the internet looking for options and found many wonderful ideas. Unfortunately most looked pretty elaborate and expensive, but I am cheap (to a fault) and needed something that would work without a hefty price tag. 

 

Learning how to make something with what you have on hand is the motto of every homesteader. Learn how to make a playground for your goats for free.

We have a small mound in our pasture from dirt that was dumped years ago but never got around to moving it. It has since been covered with grass and weeds. Every single one of my goats will climb up on their “mini-mountain” to survey all that there is below them. Which isn’t much let me tell you. 🙂

It is quite comical to see my herd clustered on that hill looking around as if they are hundreds of feet up!

goats on a small hill in a green pasture

I told my Hubby that I wanted to make something for them to climb and play on. Something cheap and easy to make. The perfect combination for any homesteading DIY goat playground. It had to withstand the play of a small goat kid all the way put to a full-grown Nubian goat that can weigh over 100 pounds. That was when we thought about electric spools. 

I contacted a friend who worked for our local power company and he was able to get me four spools that were left over from a previous project. Electrical pools are wooden cylinders and are used for holding wiring. They are very sturdy and come in two sizes (that I know of).

In our area, they are quite easy to get and are free just for that asking. Your area may have different rules so you will need to check first. The hardest part is getting them to your home as they are a bit awkward to move around. 

To find out simply call a local contractor and ask or you can call the local extension of your electric company. More often than not they are thrilled to get rid of the spools and may even deliver them to you. 

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When we got the spools I was quite surprised to see just how durable they were. The construction seemed quite solid and over the years they have been able to withstand the constant abuse from our rowdy goats. They also hold up rather well in our unrelenting winters. On our little farm, we have them sprinkled throughout our barn and pasture and our goats like to use them to stand on and sleep on especially if the ground is cold. 

They are not only sturdy and heavy-duty but surprisingly easy to move…even for me. Just tip it onto its side and you can roll it to wherever you need it to be. 

a herd of goats resting in a barn with a wooden wire spool in the middle with a goat kid lying on it

How To Make A Free DIY Goat Playground

We have used spools throughout our homestead for years but this was the first time I was going to use them in a project. My idea was to set up 2-3 spools as a platform with a bridge connecting them all together. My goal was to spend little to no money by using what supplies we had on hand from other projects. 

Step #1  Gather your supplies

You will need 2-4 spools, a few planks of wood, and hardware such as screws or nails.

Before you construct your playground you will need to enforce and close up any openings on your spools. Please be aware that most spools do have holes on either end that are just large enough for a goat’s hoof to get caught in. This is easily fixed, however, by simply screwing on a scrap piece of wood just large enough to cover the holes.

The top view of an electrical wire spool


We are not looking for pretty here, just keeping the goats and their kids safe. While you are at it look for any hardware that may be sticking out of the spools that can cause injury to you or your goats. Screws, nails, or staples can either be pounded in or removed altogether. Finally, check the rest of the spool and fix any loose boards or rotted areas. 

 

Step #2  Pick the perfect spot

Once you have the holes covered and any nails or screws removed you are ready to move them. You will want to position the spools a short distance apart in a nice flat area. I like to keep ours in a shaded area during the hot summer months and in a sunny area during the cold winter months.

By using screws to build your playground you can more easily disassemble things so it is much easier to move. 

a brown and white goat with two feet on a wooden platform

Step #3  Arrange your setup

For our setup, we placed the larger spools in sort of a half circle, and the smaller spool I put in the middle of the playground. This not only helped make the playground easy to access for my young kids but the adults as well.

The smaller spool is perfect for the younger goats to use as a step stool so they can more easily jump up onto the bigger platform. Goat kids are super curious but timid as well. Our kids would play on the lower level until they felt confident enough to jump up to the top. Once there they would run and head-butt each other trying to knock everyone off. Because the height is minimal the kids can jump down without much risk of injury. 

Step #4  Connect them all together

This is not something you have to do. You can just arrange the spools and your goats will still find it a fun place to play on. However, the more “fun” you put into your DIY goat playground the more your goats will use it. For our playground, we added a step ladder making it easy for any of our goats to get to the top level. We also made a few bridges tying all the spools together. This allowed the goats to more easily travel from one section to the other.  

Hubby dug out a piece of leftover hemlock and cut it into two 6-foot pieces. I positioned them so there was about a foot on each spool and screwed it securely in place. This seemed to be enough to keep the entire setup secure and solid. 

On a fun note, I was happy to finally display my mad construction skills. For some reason, Hubby tends to hide all power tools from me.

Just know that once you add those planks (aka bridges) it will make moving your playground impossible without first removing the planks. For that reason, I suggest you screw them in rather than nail them.

And that was it!

The hardest part of the whole project was getting my goats to try the playground out. Heaven forbid I ask them to do anything that requires effort. The divas.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST FENCING FOR YOUR GOATS

 

3 goats walking around a wooden playground in a pasture

 

I finally jumped on the playground myself and lured them up with fresh maple leaves (which they just LOVE). Maybe that was their intention all the time? To get ME up on that contraption walking and parading to my neighbor’s delight.

The young ones explored it the most, but eventually, my older does were up having a grand old time.

3 goats with their front hooves on a wooden wire spool

 

I know quite a few people will purchase play sets at yard sales to use and this is a great idea especially if you have kids or smaller goats such as minis or dwarfs. I, however, was looking for a more rustic look that would withstand a herd of our size. I really wanted my playground to blend in and not stand out so much.

And FREE is always my goal with any goat toys. 

HOW TO MAKE A DIY GOAT SCRATCHER

 

goat playground DIY

Our goats are Alpine, Boer, and Nubian goats which are all a large breed and I know a Little Tikes slide simply would not last long with them playing on it.

One of the best things about being a homesteader is learning to think outside the box. More often than not, what I am looking for can easily be made with what I already have on hand. Just a little imagination can create a playground for your herd that they will use and love!

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR GOATS TO EAT CALMLY

Update on our DIY goat playground! 

Since I have posted this article, many goats have played on these spools. All in all, they have held up pretty well for the last four years. We have since moved them to our gravel pit in the pasture, which is actually where my people kids had their very own playground many years ago. 

Funny how things evolve.

The little goat kids LOVE this DIY goat playground and the mothers are happy to get a break from nursing.

 

goat playing on our free goat playground

Having a playground is not essential but it is amazingly helpful when training young goats to behave better. The playground helps them learn how to socialize with not only the other kids but with the other moms as well.

It also helps them to learn agility, work off some excess energy, and even introduce them to water and feed more quickly. As they play they get thirsty and if mom is not ready to nurse they are forced to find other ways to drink. For that reason, I like to have a bucket of fresh water close by.

 

 

goat playing on our free DIY goat playground made of wire wooden spools

I find the quicker they learn to like water the easier it is to ween them when the time comes.

It just amazes me how kids only a few weeks old have such fearless balance!

We have since added a smaller area for our really young kids. This allows them to have an area all their own without risking injury with the overly rowdy older goats that tend to favor the larger spooled area. It consists of a bench and an old tire that we half buried in the ground to hold it up vertically. 

a wooden bench and a tire in the ground

And of course, I could NOT get a picture of the babies here since the mamas wanted to be in the shot. Funny how goats are a lot like toddlers. 

goats playing on a small log bench in a pasture

Projects like this DIY goat playground are just all a part of being a homesteader so it is only natural that a free obstacle course just for goats will be at the top of our list.

Channel your inner MacGyver skills and you will be amazed at what you can make out of nothing and find how well a few homemade goat toys can entertain your herd. 

goats playing on stacked tires

 

9 Comments

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun for your goats. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some empty spools. Thank you for sharing at the Our Simple Homestead blog hop.

  2. How do you keep your goats fenced? I’ve been hesitant to get goats because of the propensity to escape. I’m older and can’t chase as I could’ve a few years ago!! Thank you for your input and article. Hope to hear from you soon, Star &Billy Graham

    1. Hi Star!
      I have several different ways I keep my goats fenced in. I have cattle panels (5 foot high) for my permanent small areas off the barn. I then have electric netting for my bucks grazing area and high tinsel fencing for my main pasture where my does are. The easiest to move is the electric netting which is great for rotational grazing. I have only had 1 escape and if you have a bucket of feed and your goats are trained they come right to you. 🙂 I am doing a new post on fencing next week, so check back or you can sign up for my email so you don’t miss it.
      Glad you stopped by!
      Tracy Lynn

  3. I am working on a “hobby” farm and I grew up with goats, so I’m interested with whatever I can learn. Thank you

  4. What about toys for horses, chickens, rabbits, or guineas(because they aren’t like chickens).

  5. wanda campbell says:

    Love goats and like to know more about them.

  6. Anxious Animal Admirer says:

    i want to know the sizes of the scrap wood. if the wood is too thin in thickness it could break under the goat weight. if it is too thin in width the goat could fall off of it or be forced to preform a balancing act. please give more information for the wood. another fact, if the wool is splitting or not sanded down well enough your goat might get splinters of all sizes everywhere(including the mouth). there might be different types of wood that is dangerous for goats as well.
    it would be nice if you tell me the measurements of your scrap wood boards, i want my goat to be safe.
    thank you.

    1. The boards we used are 1 inch thick and have held our heavy Nubians for years. Remember, goats can climb trees and will try to stand on branches and limbs, so they are pretty nimble. With that being said, we inspect all of our toys, outbuildings, and other structures thoroughly throughout the year to catch issues before they cause a problem. This will also catch any rot, cracks, or other issues. We have had to replace boards as we see it is needed.
      As far as splinters, goats get injured more often from hay than any other surface so please don’t worry! Splinters in feet are pretty much nonexistent since their hooves are there to protect them. Just like with any buildings you will want to inspect your goats routinely too, again, catch any injuries or other issues asap.
      Finally, use your best judgment. This is a setup that has worked for us for years and that is why I like to share it with others. If the board does not feel safe to you, then do not use it.
      All the best!
      Tracy Lynn

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