Goat Collar/Lead/Harness

Emalin

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Hello,
What is the best way to lead a goat outside their usual space? I've seen several options--metal collars, leather collars, rope harnesses--and have no ideas of the pros and cons of each. This is not for showing. Just something practical that grown goats unused to being lead can acclimate to. Thanks.
 

Ridgetop

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We always used collars. Halters are not a very good choice on goats we found, while harnesses are too much work. I have seen large bucks where the handlers at shows used force collars, but I don't like force collars. I think force collars make the animal pull harder to get away from the pinching. If you train your goat to walk on the collar and leash you won't have any trouble. We used to bring our large dairy bucks up on simple collars and leashes to breed the dairy does since my younger boys liked to hand breed their does to make sure they were bred and have an exact date for kidding. Even the large bucks in rut were no trouble since they were trained to the collar and leash from kids.

We had a large 4-H dairy show herd when our kids were younger. They all wore collars for control when milking or for anything else. Since they all were shown as kids, they needed to learn to walk on a collar in the show ring. We just clipped dog leashes on their collars. At first we bought collars for them but as each kid grew we needed new sized collars. Since we had up to 100 goats towards the end, it became cheaper to make our own collars using lightweight S chain. The S chain could be opened up at any length to add inches. Although we all knew each goat by name, we also wanted a way to identify them when on milk test and in the show ring. The plastic collars and tags were too large and bulky for the show ring and the collar rings kept breaking.

I bought a metal stamping set of dies that you use with a hammer to pound the letters etc. into metal. Then we bought large washers. I stamped each goat's name, registered ADGA ear #, and birthdate, on the washer. The washers were put on the chains and so each goat had her personal ID on the collar. Since the children showed several goats in each class other 4-H members with other breeds would take the additional goats into the ring to show.

To transport them to the show ring, we would take a string of 10 goat all clipped to a long tie out chain. The tie out ringside chain had clips on each end. This ringside tie out would be clipped to the show ring holding pen fence. As each class was called in the children would switch each goat out for the one that needed to be in the ring. As the herd grew, other 4-H friends were always called on to show additional goats in the various classes. When the judge asked what the birthdate was on the kid or doe, the showing handler had the info on the washer.
If you have only a couple goats you might want to use other types of collars. You need to be careful that the collars won't catch on brush and tangle the goat if it is allowed to run in brushy country to forage. The nylon collars with the plastic clips are worthless, they break too easily. We liked the S chains because they were cheap, easy to make, enlarge, and repair, and if the goats got caught on something the S could actually pull apart in an emergency. Our dairy does were very docile, but occasionally a goat would come to the milk stand without its chain. I just stamped another washer and cut another length of chain. Sometimes the old chain or washer would turn up in the compost!
 
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