goat communication

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Christina R., Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Northern Arizona
    I have a mama pygmy goat (about 4 years old) with her 2 does (22 months old) living with my holstein (3 years old). All has been real harmonious (this was a mama goat who stood by the cow's side one time when she got horribly sick after her first vaccinations, licking the cow's eyes, nuzzling against the cow, etc.). About a month ago there has been a new behavior occurring. When the cow is laying down chewing her cud, the mama will go up to her and start this snorting and chattering noise, she kind of sticks her tongue out and then will bump into her with her head. Not the stand up on hind legs and fall with the head action that you see in playing, but a week charge. The other thing I noticed is her ears will be flat out and her tail stuck up, but she isn't ridgebacked. The cow will tolerate it mostly, every now and then pushing the goat away with her head, but Violet (the mama goat) will go at it for about an hour. The does are usually off doing their own thing. I never see any other sign of friction other than the OCCASSIONAL nudge when Corabelle (the cow) is getting milked in the stanchion and the goats OCCASSIONALLY bug her while everyone is munching down on the hay.

    Any ideas and more specifically what is a goat communicating when they snort and chatter? I thought I read what sound means what, but I can't find where I read it. Thanks.
  2. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Well, my wethers do that when they're flirting with the doe. And they do that to each other as a dominance challenge.

    My guess would be the pygmy is trying to tell the cow that she's in charge. The only problem will be when the cow gets tired of the whole game and decides to whomp on the goat.

  3. Ellie5

    Ellie5 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    One of my goats snorts all the time. She's smaller than the rest but you sure wouldn't know it! I was thinking it was a dominance thing, too.