Goat Behavior Question
Let me just preface this by saying...I know very little about goats! :D
DH bought two goats from a neighbor last summer to help with weed control in the pasture. They are cute as buttons and are so funny to watch.
However, the whether (is that the right term for a gelded goat?) has this habit of rearing up and tilting his head to head butt you. So far he's done this from at least 5 ft away so has never made contact.
He's a pushy but friendly guy so I'm thinking its not aggression but just a form of rough play. He's pushy in the sense that he always has to be in your face, so to speak, because he likes his head scratched and brushed. A lot. :-)
I'd like to break him of this habit but am not sure how. Right now I've been locking him and his sister (who doesn't do any of this) in their pen when I'm out grooming and stall cleaning. And that works fine.
But I don't think this is acceptable behavior.
Any ideas from our resident goat experts? :D
It's a goat thing... our male goat does it all the time to our female and she will sometime respond with the same but they never make contact with each other. It's like a goat dance which I would assume is some part of their mating behavior as it's usually followed by him busily humping the female (he's obviously forgotten about the day when his lil buddies went bye bye....).
Mine's never done this to people that we've noticed, just the other goat.
LOL Delfina. It does do it to his sister and she gives it right back to him! Luckily he doesn't follow it up with humping. She wouldn't put up with that.
I think DH encouraged it at the beginning by play-fighting back. Of course I told him to knock that off! But Buck, the goat, still does it on occasion.
It is behavior that shouldn't be encouraged. Some of it could be in play, but it could also be a way for him to try and establish himself. While he is a only wether (yes, you got it right) all goats establish a "herd' hierarchy even if the herd only consists of 1 ot 2.
He is displaying a typical goat behavior, however it is towards humans.... and if he ever followed through with a hit, it would hurt as well as could do damage, horns or not.
And, if he thinks it's ok to do this towards humans, he will think it's ok to do this to all humans no matter their age, size or frailty. The more he gets away with it, the more it could encourage him to do it/get worse.
A couple of things you could do to teach him that it's not ok, it to carry a little squirt gun with you and squirt him on the face when he displays this behavior. Most goats hate getting wet and this is a good "No" without having to make any physical contact, which he could interpret as return "play."
A few of my does have done this once or twice and I'll usually loudly clap my hands in their face and say No. While this usually works on the girls, boys can sometimes be more persistent, so maybe try that first and if it doesn't work get a squirt gun.
A shaker can also works. Like you might make for a dog..... fill an empty soda can with 10 pennies, handful of small pebbles, some bb's or whatever and tape it shut.
When he rears up at you, give it a good hard shake and say No.
Like the squirt gun, it's the shock value that you are going for... to startle him.
He will soon learn it is not desirable to test the humans.
As mentioned, it could be play, or trying to establish his place above you.
I don't have this issue, thankfully. However, I HATE being crowded when I feed. The horses know not to do it, and I taught the goats the same. Riding crop! Even if I bring out a dish of grain, if I hold that crop up in the air, they move off. I find it's easier to carry around than a squirt bottle, rattle jar, etc.
I had a wether who I got because he needed a home. He was big & so were his horns. He was also mean, always. I have a scar on my thigh where he stabbed me as I walked by. When I owned him all my jeans had holes from him. A water bottle worked but if he could catch you off guard he would.
He got nicer after a while but he was always like a friend who for no reason would slug you. He was predictable in his unpredictability.
I named him OY- short for "Oh why did you get him?"
He lived to be very old & I still miss him & his cranky ways.
Be glad your goat is only playing.
Hold a big mirror in front of the goat. He will think its a new goat and want to do battle with it. He'll have a big surprise when he rams that glass. Can't guarantee it will scare him enough to make him stop, but it'll probly make him think about it next time
Just kidding. Don't do this, you or your goat could get cut. What made me think of this idea was one time I was doing bobcat work in the back yard of a new house. While construction was going on, the family's billy goat was being kept on he back porch. I noticed the billy goat staring down his reflection in the sliding glass door of the house. His body language suggested he was challenging the reflection to a duel. Then he rammed it. Glass broke and goat was embarrassed
HAHAHAHAHA AC...that would've been sooo funny to see.
No worries, I know enough not to try the mirror trick. Though part of me would like to see how he'd react to seeing himself. :wink:
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