How do you tame a skittish goat?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by ahahahni1, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. ahahahni1

    ahahahni1 Mama MacDonald

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    We adopted three goats almost 2 weeks ago. Two have warmed up to us fine and follow us where we want them to go. The third named Annie is very skittish and bullied by the other two. In todays snow they made her stand outside and would not let her in the shed. She won't let us near her and it's impossible to work with her. She is just so wild and once we do catch her to worm her or whatever she is just so freaked out. How do we get through to her. She is so wild that treats just don't even seem to get to her. She just doesn't seem to want no part of us at all. How can we get her to come around. She got loose today when we were taking them from one pasture to another and it was SOOO hard to catch her. A feed bucket didn't even work!

    Marie
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I'd put her in a small pen by herself and visit her for ten minutes or so several times a day.

    Start with just sitting with her quietly. Gradually add movement, small and non threatening.

    One person should do this, not different people each time.

    One person should be responsible for feeding her and sitting with her while she eats.
     

  3. harplade

    harplade loving life on the farm

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    I'd put her in a small pen with another goat who willl be dominant and who is also very tame. The new one will imitate the behavior of the other one after awhile-at least, that has worked for us. I'd make sure to bring treats to both of them and let her learn through the other one that you are ok.

    Good luck. We had one crazy goat that was a Nubian. My daughter would get the blue heeler in the pen to run the goat and as she ran by, my daughter would grab her leg or ear. When she milked her, the goat stood perfectly still. Although that goat is still nervous if any of her routines are interrupted, she is one of our best milkers today.

    Harplade
     
  4. ahahahni1

    ahahahni1 Mama MacDonald

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    So keep her locked in the pen all day? How many days should I do this?
     
  5. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You do it until she sees you are her friend, not the enemy. It won't hurt her to be in a small pen, and it's the only way you can keep her where you can handle her freely.

    I'd spend even more time than Rose said, if you can. Spend as much time in there with heras you possibly can, and handle her, handle her, handle her. Pet her, brush her, scritch her behind the ears, and disperse treats liberally. That's bits of cookie or graham crackers, handfuls of alfalfa pellets, etc. Talk to her, sing to her, get her used to the sound of your voice. The key is to desensitize her to you, and to teach her that you are safe, and a source of goodies. You can't do this if every time she's caught it's because you need to worm her, vaccinate, or trim her hooves. She has to associate you with good things.

    It takes time, but it can be done. Some goats will always be a little skittish and shy, but if she can get to the point where she'll come for treats, that's great, and it's likely that she will eventually be a total PET!

    Is this one of the LaManchas? They have fantastic temperaments (as a breed), and I bet she'll tame quickly if you can spend the time and effort on her. Good luck, and let us know how it goes. :)
     
  6. Idahoe

    Idahoe Menagerie More~on

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    I think some goats, especially does, are just extremely shy. I have an FF doe a year old in Feb who I still have to catch to lead her to the stanchion for grain. She loves her grain but wigs out if I touch her or move quickly. I've been "slowly" chasing her around the pen and barn for two weeks now, and today was the first day she let me grab her collar without a long, LOOONG episode of sweet talk and following. I couldn't get her to eat grain out of my hand, and I've had her for a year (dam raised).

    Her dam is also very shy, and took a long time to gentle and even longer to milk without a rodeo. I think temperament is very inherited.

    If she's LaMancha, you should have no real problem taming her eventually, just take your time with her and the advice above really does work, I had to do many of those things myself.
     
  7. ahahahni1

    ahahahni1 Mama MacDonald

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    Yes, she is Lamancha. Gosh, I really hope its possible. She is just so beautiful and bullied by the other two. I just want to hug her and thats the last thing she'd ever want at this point. I will try the pen thing tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes. THanks! Now I know there's hope.

    Marie
     
  8. DQ

    DQ Well-Known Member

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    catch her on a day you have the time and tie her up with a short lead. approach her scratch her good, whether she likes it or not, (and get all those spots that are hard for them to get, armipits, withers, neck). walk away 10 feet or so, then approach her again and do the same, do not hesitate when she thrashes, or trys to get away, continue approaching calmly but not to slowly, in a matter of fact kind of way. keep doing this as many times as you can stand. try to keep the same pattern, go the same distance away, scratch for the same amount etc. every time. what you are doing is conditioning her to your approach and touch. doing it the same way every time helps them get relaxed because they quickly learn exactly what is going to happen every time you approach, it is one comforting thing in what they think is an uncomfortable situation. you should be working in a sort of rythm, walk up, scratch , walk a way, turn around, walk up , scratch , walk away. when you are not working with her she should be in an area small enough that she cannot get away when you approach her, every time she gets away even for a few steps you will have to appraoch her 5 times without her getting away to recondition her. set her up for a pleasent encounter, not a panic and running encounter, it is very frightening for a prey animal to be chased.
     
  9. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    I think this is another argument for bottle raising babies. Of all the goats that I have ("down" to twenty), you can sure tell the "bottle babies" from the ones left on their mamas. I know there's probably going to be lots of posting from people stating otherwise, but it's been my experience that the "bottle babies" make the best, friendliest adults. If you do leave the babies on their moms, then at least be sure you handle those babies daily and often.

    "Bottle babies" are like dogs. They will follow you anywhere!

    (This probably doesn't help you with your immediate problem but a little information for the future.....)

    Janis
     
  10. HazyDay

    HazyDay Well-Known Member

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    Leave her! No really it works. All you do is get her trim her hoofs and worm. It will take a few weeks my WILD doe warmed up to me after 1 1/2 months. Just go in give all your love and food to the others and she will get the idea you need to come. To get food. It worked for me and this doe no-one could tame is the sweetest thing ever! LOVE DOES ALOT!
     
  11. HazyDay

    HazyDay Well-Known Member

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    Yes I love bottle babies much better they don't get bad things there mothers do. Act like a good respectable goat and will do jumps and stuff you want them to be! Plus they are so friendly and when they are 200+ pound bucks they won't kill you! But the one thing I hate and they can get very bad and you get mad at them when you have to do some thing and they won't leave you alone! :flame:
     
  12. bergy5

    bergy5 Well-Known Member

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    I just turn my children loose with a bet ya can't get that one tame. Works every time.
     
  13. myrandaandkids

    myrandaandkids Well-Known Member

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    i had my skittish saanen for a year before she finnally calmed down, now after she kidded and i stayed with her by her side the whole time, she trusts me and is one of my favorites. dont give up, just keep being gental, and sometimes force her to let you touch her so she gets used to it.provided shes just skittish and not actually mean.
     
  14. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I had a skittish bottle-raised Kinder doe -- she would come to me, and let me handle her but was spooky around other people. When she kidded last year, I left her kids on her because her teats were small and my hands were hurting a lot. I did handle the babies regularly, but because they inherited their mother's skittishness, they never did become tame. I butchered the (wethered) buck kid when he was three or four months old; the doe kid kidded herself about five weeks ago. Because I took her twins away at birth and milked her right away when the hormones were telling her to accept a baby, she accepted me as if I were one of her babies, and now comes to me to be petted, will take food out of my hand, and so on. She's always been steady on the milking stand. She's still skittish-natured, but has become much easier to handle. However, I will never leave another kid from that line to be raised by the dam!

    Kathleen
     
  15. ahahahni1

    ahahahni1 Mama MacDonald

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    Just wanted to update you. It is now day three of Annie in the pen. I go sit with her and brought a pack of vanilla wafers with me. I sit on the ground about 4 feet away from her. She is up against the pen and just quakes with fright. It is just so sad. I called the lady that we adopted her from and she said she broke her leg once when she was little and she also was an only child and was born when there were no other little kids to play with so maybe that is why she is so antisocial.
     
  16. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes goats come from a large herd where they all run, almost to the point of being ferral goats. We goat one crazy black goat. She is a black alpine/boer cross with 2 front white socks. She has these wild horns. She was sooo wild when we got her. Now, she isn't fond of us catching her but she comes up to the fence and I actually got to pet her yesterday. She puts her feet up on the fence and comes to see me. The main thing is that you are around a lot. The more you are around, the more familiar they become to you. How tame do you want her? If you want a pet, you are going to have to do the pen thing. That is how people tame goats to take into the show ring. Good luck to you!!
     
  17. hoggie

    hoggie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is going to sound very cruel - so please don't shout at me.

    I have to add that I have never had to resort to this with an animal myself but I do know someone that did it with a pony.

    Keep her in her small pen. Take away her food and water. Go in regularly - lots - as much as you can - and every time you go in take a bucket of water and some food with you. Don't try and approach her, just put the food and water down and sit beside it. If she doesn't come to you, pick it up and leave with it. Then try again a bit later. She won't starve herself to death. Eventually it will dawn on her that she has to come close to you to get her food/water.

    Just a thought

    hoggie