Infrequent Head Butting

Discussion in 'Goats' started by kanpope, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. kanpope

    kanpope Livin' the Dream

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    I thought that this had probably already been addressed, but did a search and did not find anything. So, here it is...

    I have a doe that has an eight day old buckling. My daughter loves holding the kid and goes out there a couple times a day to hold the baby and pet the doe. This has not been a problem until yesterday (and now today).

    First let me back up and say that we just got the goats and the lady that we bought them from said that she has never had an issues with them head butting her because she never pushed on their heads, etc.

    So, yesterday, my dd was sitting down, holding the buckling and petting the doe (normally very sweet), when the doe head butted her. It left a red mark on my dd, but more than anything is scared and upset her. She put the kid down and walked out of the pen. I asked what the other goats did and she said, "they just stared at me!" Then this morning, she was holding the kid and the doe butted her in the shoulder. My dd said it was softer this time.

    What could it be? The baby was quiet and just hanging out. He was not distressed or bleating. I have never seen it happen and she has never done it to the rest of us and we all handle the buckling. Any suggestions? How should my dd and I handle this? What are signs of aggression or warnings with goats other than the rearing up and butting?

    Thanks,
    Nicole
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Goats maintain pecking order in their herd by head butting anyone who is smaller than they are. Usually when a new small goat is introduced to a herd, the only one to bother it is the one who is on the bottom of the totem pole. It sounds like your doe is seeing your daughter, especially when she's making herself smaller by sitting down, as a new goat who needs to be put in her place! Is the doe doing the butting the low goat on the totem pole? Is your daughter old enough to be able to take the butting doe down on the ground and sit on her for a few minutes? A human will never win a head-butting match with a goat, but if you can turn the goat upside down and sit on her until she yields, she won't challenge again anytime soon. (I have to do this once in a while with my bucks.)

    Kathleen
     

  3. kanpope

    kanpope Livin' the Dream

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    It is the mama doe that is head butting my dd and she is second in line after our queen. All the goats have been together for years. Could it be that since my dd is at eye level when she is sitting down, that the doe thinks that she is a goat and as the #2, is making sure that she keeps her position?
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    That's possible. Whatever is causing it, your DD needs to be careful. It doesn't sound like the doe is really trying to do any harm to your daughter, but she could hurt her without meaning to.

    Kathleen
     
  5. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Also, at 8 days old, that doe is still going to be *very* protective of her kid and it can be that it was her way of telling your daughter to put him back down where she could take care of him. Not that it is a good thing, but I would bet thats a big part of the reason behind it. The does get less and less protective as the kid gets more independent.
     
  6. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    probably what is happening is your doughter is sitting down in the pen and messing with the kid, which to the momma goat translates to (here is a new goat messin with my kid, i am the boss and i will show you why) if your little girl wants to hold the kid she needs to stand up and move around with it, maybe even leave the pen,
    once she stands up she no longer is in the classification of being a possible new goat, becomes a Human again,
    besides that if the goat headbutts her when she is standing it wont be as dangerous as it would be if she got head butted in the head, our sculls cant take a goats head butt
     
  7. boermommy

    boermommy Boer goats and teenagers

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    Some of my does have had problems with me handling their kids at first....especially if the does aren't very tame. My tame does could care less what I do with the babies as long as I don't walk off with them. My does that aren't so tame have whipped their heads around at me as I squatted beside them and their babies many times. I got knocked over once.

    After a few days, they seem to get used to it and do not mind my messing and petting. Mama is probably just being protective. Just tell your daughter to be careful until she settles down.