Download PDF The Backyard Goat: An Introductory Guide to Keeping Productive Pet Goats

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The key is to let the goats explore the new environment, person, animal, or object in their own time, with no pressure. Goats need to perceive that they have the option to withdraw to safety if they are overwhelmed.

Goats As Pets - Everything you need to know to get a goat

Associate the new scenario with a positive experience, like a food treat. Let them get to enjoy the situation before adding any restraint or trying any treatment. Training certain voluntary actions is empowering for you and your goat, as you are both in control of the situation.

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All animals, including humans, learn certain behaviors depending on what they have found is rewarding for them and what they have found is frightening or damaging. Aim to make each handling experience pleasant.

Goat training methods are based on the following principles:. Many people use mildly aversive techniques when dealing with animals. They quickly understand this rebuke as they are sensitive to our body language and vocal expression. Gentle pressure on a leash also falls into this category as the goat walks forward to release the pressure. It is important not to drag the goat, but let the leash go slack as soon as she moves in the right direction. Positive reinforcement is a more effective technique, but requires a little more time and planning.

It is important to understand that your goat is not actually naughty. She is just doing whatever gives her the most immediate reward. She will continue to behave this way as long as it works for her. I believe that positive reinforcement is worth the extra effort, especially in the case of goats.

This species sets up a hierarchy on the basis of authority. By chastising your goats, you claim top rank. However, you also expose yourself to challenges. As goats grow, they reassess their strength and challenge their superiors.

Show Notes

And your goats may become bigger and stronger than you. With goats it is more effective to assume the role of provider of all good things, so that they see you as an ally, rather than an authority.

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As a provider, you can build your relationship on trust rather than fear. It is harder to control a frightened animal. Firstly, ensure that the environment makes it easy for your goat to perform the desired behavior. Make sure that passages and enclosures are well lit, as goats are fearful of dark spaces. Check that there are no distractions from external events or other herd members. Equally allow companions to be close by and visible if your goat is prone to separation anxiety. Make sure that platforms are sturdy, solid, and safe.


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The goat should feel comfortable in the new position or apparatus. Thoroughly habituate goats to the environment before using it for any kind of goat training or manipulation. Build up trust in your relationship by cementing your role as provider, initially by feeding, then through grooming and play. When your goat is totally relaxed in your presence, she will quickly forgive the occasional unpleasant treatment.

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You can quickly re-establish your good reputation by rewarding with treats. Both sow-mouth and parrot-mouth conditions are hereditary and should be avoided, especially in young goats, as both of them worsen with age. Kids bond with the humans who raise them and the type of animals they find in their environment. However, take extra care with kids. Dairy doelings are fun to raise but not so much fun to train to the milk stand. Also, first-fresheners does who have recently given birth to their first kids give less milk than older does and have teeny, hard-to-milk teats.

In Angora-type goats Angoras, Pygoras, and Nigoras , the younger the better, as fiber coarsens with age. How old is old? It depends.

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Most does and wethers live 12 to 14 years; some live much longer. If you milk, obviously you need does. Some packers take low-production dairy does in milk out on the trail to provide fresh milk for meals. If you plan to do this, choose a doe with a small, well-attached udder, not one with an easily injured, floppy udder and dangly teats.

Unless you plan to milk or breed, think wethers. Choose goats that can do the job you have in mind. But be objective when choosing.