What are the rules for owning a goat in France?

Goats are sociable and energetic animals that can help keep your grass tidy

A goat in a green field peering at the camera from close
Goats can be owned for breeding, eco-grazing or just for company
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Reader question: My husband and I are interested in getting a goat for our large garden. Are there any rules that we should be aware of?

As a domesticated animal you can freely and legally own a goat, either for breeding, eco-grazing or for company.

Eco-grazing is the natural maintenance of a green space through the grazing of a low density of animals. Goats are ideal for this as they can thrive eating a variety of vegetation.

However there are ownership requirements, primarily in terms of declaring and identifying them.

It is highly recommended to have more than one goat as they need companions or they will be lonely.

A recent scheme that has saved over 1,000 goats from the abattoir is looking for more people to adopt kids.

Read more: Adopt a goat scheme in France looks for landowners to save animals

It is necessary to register a goat in France

When you get your goat, you must declare it to the Établissement départemental de l’élevage (EDE), the departmental establishment for breeding.

Once declared you will receive a numéro de cheptel, a livestock number, which must be displayed on an ear tag on the goat.

Every January 1 an imprimé de recensement or a census form must be completed and sent to the relevant EDE.


Any goat that is sold or moved must have a ‘movement document’ detailing the transaction. Both buyer and seller must keep a copy.

The EDE must also be notified of the movement or sale within seven days. When buying a goat you must ensure that they are correctly identified.

Legal documents

You need to keep the following documents for five years, where relevant:

  • ‘Movement document’
  • Annual census document
  • Record of kidding
  • Administrative documents linked to breeding
  • Any veterinary prescriptions and records of treatments
  • A record of the placement of the ear tags

If you are adopting a goat to keep your garden clean or as company, most of these documents will not apply to you.

Sanitary requirements

You need to also designate a veterinarian for your goat.

If you are getting more than five goats or you have other bovine animals or you send any animals to an abattoir you will need a ‘qualification officiellement indemne de brucellose’. This is certification from a vet that your goat does not have brucellosis, a disease that can be passed from goats to humans.

However if these conditions do not apply to you you will not need this official proof.

If your goat dies you must contact an abattoir so it is disposed of properly.

There are no legal requirements in terms of the area needed for keeping a goat however they are energetic animals.

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