Goat Care – Understanding Goat Behaviour

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Goats are generally social animals, being naturally calm and peaceful. Understanding the goat’s social and physiological dynamics is an aspect in goat care and goat management that becomes more challenging as the goat raiser encounters goat behaviour problems. Goat behaviour problems will arise no matter how good-natured goats are. Methodical approaches on the part of the goat care giver will be helpful in managing behavioural problems of goats. Approaches in goat care must be appropriate to the problem.

Normal goat behaviour problems are manageable. However, there will arise goat problems which can be difficult. If this happens, patience is best exercised and pacifying the goat can be helpful. Goat care can become complex in these instances. However, the complexity of goat care can be reduced if the goat raiser is well informed on goat behaviour problems and dealing with these.

Goat Behaviour Problems

Milking:

Some does have a dislike for milking. Their natural reaction is kicking or butting. This goat behaviour problem is manageable with a little doe milking training. A helpful prop would be a milk stand where the doe can be placed for training. Frequent handling of the doe udders while the doe is young will condition the doe for her future milking. Handle the doe frequently from a young age. By grooming her and touching her all over, the doe will eventually accept to stand still.

Fighting:

Does, especially those with kids or pregnant have this maternal instinct of securing its turf. The doe is disposed to fight if she feels threatened with her space being invaded by other goats. This is due to hormonal changes and will wear off in time. The doe can be temporarily confined but keep at least a company for the doe until the gestation period is over.

Nursing:

Sometimes, does will reject one of their own kids and tend to play favouritism. This leaves a kid un-nursed. Bottle feeding can be an alternative but this goat behaviour can be managed with a little trick. Put the doe on restrain and let the rejected kid nurse while the mother is restrained. You will need to do this several times a day to provide the kid with sufficient milk. The doe will eventually get used to her kid. Acceptance will naturally occur.

Buck behaviour:

Bucks tend to be more playful and aggressive than does. It is important not to play with them when they are young as they will keep this playful behaviour as adults and head- butt people and other goats. Dehorning the buck at when they are 2 weeks-old is recommended to minimise their aggression. De-scenting can be done at the same time to help reduce this behaviour. It is possible to lessen the butting by squirting some water between a young buck’s eyes when he hits you. This technique is also used with horses who continually put their head up. When the water falls down from the top of the head, the animal has the feeling he has just split-open his head and blood is pouring down. Apparently, the animal does not repeat the gesture.

Goat raising and goat care will be a lot easier if goat raisers have ample knowledge on every aspect of the goat. There are training techniques and tricks to help address goat behaviour problems. Goat care is a task that has to be taken seriously but on an enjoyable level. Observation is a good skill that any goat care giver must have. Observing the goats on a daily basis helps in identifying some issues and concerns on goats. A daily journal may be helpful in the process. Having a veterinarian close by also helps.

There are a lot of resources available on line for the goat care giver to increase awareness on goat’s social behaviour. What you have observed on a day to day basis can be used to gain a deeper insight on the goat’s characteristics and other aspects. Goat care will simply become a routine that can make you a skilled goat care giver and goat raiser, thus, able to provide proper goat care and sustain goats’ health.

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