Husband wants goats and I'm terrified of goats...

Lcampbell1515

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Goats that have been disbudded properly won't get grow horns back actually the horns they grow are called spurs and usually really painful for the goat which might have caused his aggression. A properly disbudded goat is usually pretty decent. We have males with and without horns and I rarely get butted. It's all about how you treat them.
Also I agree with the issue of goats being alone they don't do well by themselves. They will act out for attention if they are lonely.
Whethers (neutered males) are super friendly. We have a couple whethers to keep our other goats company and they love attention and always want to be near you. Also a properly disbudded goat won't smell as bad because they usually burn off the scent glands too.
 

Bcolpetzer

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My husband and father-in-law keep pushing for goats on the farm. I am however, to put it bluntly quite terrified of goats lol Now you are probably thinking that's absurd and I won't argue with you it might sound very silly to most people. The story behind my fear of goats starts when I was 10. Our next door neighbor kept a single buck (I believe nubian). It was "disbuded" , but of course his horns grew back and they NEVER had it fenced they just let this guy free roam. My parents always made me walk to my grandmother's house every day which was on the other side of this neighbors house with the goat. This goat would always come onto the road to chase me, head butt me and even would try to jump on me (I'm assuming mount since he was alone all of the time). I would layer my clothes and wear an oversized canvas carhartt coat to try and cushion myself from this goat and even then I would have grapefruit sized bruises on my sides and scrapes all over. He even nicked my face with a horn one once and I still to this day have a small scar from where he got a little chunk of skin out of my face. Eventually the neighbors were forced to get rid of the goat because I wasn't the goats only victim and other neighbors complained. He would attack anyone on the road walking, he even attacked the neighbors little dog when she was taking it for a walk and then the goat started to headbutt people trying to knock them off of their bicycles. He also went full crazy and started trying to headbutt cars that drove by (it was a dirt road so most people didn't drive above 20 mph). I still to this day avoid going anywhere near goats, but my husband and father-in-law LOVE goats. They have been planning out a goat yard and goat barn while I'm sitting here sweating up a storm watching my childhood fears come to life again😅 However, I don't want to let my fear stop him from getting goats if that's what he wants. Basically I'm willing to learn and try, but need a little reassuring before he brings any goats home. So my questions are based on your personal experience:

-What goat breeds are the most docile?
-Are male goats in general very aggressive?
-Is it purely each goat is it's own individual and it's a hit or miss personality thing?
-Or was it simply because the neighbors kept a lone buck that made him so aggressive?
-Would it be better to stick with only does?
-Also I know goats are herd animals so how many goats does it take for a goat to feel most comfortable and like they have their own herd?
-I'm a reader are there any recommended books on goat handling/goat behaviors?

Thanks!
I can relate to what you’re saying,we had a mean goat when I was a kid. But now I have eight goats and a doe ready to kid any day, we love them. They are all gentle and loving. meet some different goats, find out what breed works for you. I love my goats I have7 Nigerian dwarfs and a saanen/Nigerian mix. they all bring us joy. My friend has a nubian / alpine mix and it’ll Butt you or take it’s head and try to get you with it’s horn tips every chance it gets, so it depends on the goat.
 

Nommie Bringeruvda Noms

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My bucks are babies. I mean, they're grown - but, they're sweet, loving, and as gentle as my does. In fact, they're often gentler than my does! They all follow me around like puppies, come when called, and call to me, if I go out, and don't pay attention to them, lol. I have Nigoras - they're a newer breed (1980s, I think), and a dual purpose dairy/fiber. They're small, and the breed standard for bucks tops out at 70#. They're fluffy, hilarious, affectionate (if I sit on the ground, my 2yr old doe will come nuzzle me, and sit on my lap, lol) and make for beautiful milk, if I want it, will mow my grass(though they do prefer brush & other plants), and have incredible, distinct personalities. They do need to be groomed, occasionally - more if you want the fiber - but, I find it to be relaxing and great for bonding.

All that said, a phobia is a phobia, and yours (while yeh, still irrational, as per the definition of phobia), has a VERY understandable basis! Holy cow, that goat was, imho, horribly kept, by horribly irresponsible, rude owners. I'm very proud of you, for being willing to try, for your loved ones. My husband had a lifelong phobia of birds, but when we moved here, he understood that if he, as a farm-owning retired chef, wanted those fresh eggs, they had to come from birds. So, between that and my love of all things 'critter', he agreed to a small batch - which we then ended up brooding and raising in a pool, in our living room, for 4 months, lol. During that time, he came to see them for the funny, sweet, affectionate individuals they are, and through them, has worked past his phobia. But, a huge part of that was careful breed choice(Buff Orpingtons), for temperament. Another big part of it was getting them as day old hatchling, rather than as pullets.

So, you're right, in being careful of breed, size, purpose, temperament, etc, even though all animals, like all people, are individuals, with their own quirks and foibles. I'd suggest finding someone closer to you, with a small herd, that you can go spend some quality time with, and learn from both the people and their goats. There are also videos all over youtube, about raising goats - everything from health, purpose, and grooming, to training, and of course, pure cuteness. I'd advise watching every one of them you can find - the fun, the purely entertaining, and the how-to, but interspersed them all with lots of baby goat videos. Good luck - but, I think once you do this, especially if you choose carefully, and go spend time with some, before you choose, and bring them home, you'll be fine.
 

Highland Meadows

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Goats that have been disbudded properly won't get grow horns back actually the horns they grow are called spurs and usually really painful for the goat which might have caused his aggression. A properly disbudded goat is usually pretty decent. We have males with and without horns and I rarely get butted. It's all about how you treat them.
Also I agree with the issue of goats being alone they don't do well by themselves. They will act out for attention if they are lonely.
Whethers (neutered males) are super friendly. We have a couple whethers to keep our other goats company and they love attention and always want to be near you. Also a properly disbudded goat won't smell as bad because they usually burn off the scent glands too.
My bucks are babies. I mean, they're grown - but, they're sweet, loving, and as gentle as my does. In fact, they're often gentler than my does! They all follow me around like puppies, come when called, and call to me, if I go out, and don't pay attention to them, lol. I have Nigoras - they're a newer breed (1980s, I think), and a dual purpose dairy/fiber. They're small, and the breed standard for bucks tops out at 70#. They're fluffy, hilarious, affectionate (if I sit on the ground, my 2yr old doe will come nuzzle me, and sit on my lap, lol) and make for beautiful milk, if I want it, will mow my grass(though they do prefer brush & other plants), and have incredible, distinct personalities. They do need to be groomed, occasionally - more if you want the fiber - but, I find it to be relaxing and great for bonding.

All that said, a phobia is a phobia, and yours (while yeh, still irrational, as per the definition of phobia), has a VERY understandable basis! Holy cow, that goat was, imho, horribly kept, by horribly irresponsible, rude owners. I'm very proud of you, for being willing to try, for your loved ones. My husband had a lifelong phobia of birds, but when we moved here, he understood that if he, as a farm-owning retired chef, wanted those fresh eggs, they had to come from birds. So, between that and my love of all things 'critter', he agreed to a small batch - which we then ended up brooding and raising in a pool, in our living room, for 4 months, lol. During that time, he came to see them for the funny, sweet, affectionate individuals they are, and through them, has worked past his phobia. But, a huge part of that was careful breed choice(Buff Orpingtons), for temperament. Another big part of it was getting them as day old hatchling, rather than as pullets.

So, you're right, in being careful of breed, size, purpose, temperament, etc, even though all animals, like all people, are individuals, with their own quirks and foibles. I'd suggest finding someone closer to you, with a small herd, that you can go spend some quality time with, and learn from both the people and their goats. There are also videos all over youtube, about raising goats - everything from health, purpose, and grooming, to training, and of course, pure cuteness. I'd advise watching every one of them you can find - the fun, the purely entertaining, and the how-to, but interspersed them all with lots of baby goat videos. Good luck - but, I think once you do this, especially if you choose carefully, and go spend time with some, before you choose, and bring them home, you'll be fine.
Thank you for being understanding! I think the biggest reason the phobia of goats stuck was that I was a late bloomer and didn't hit a good growth spurt until I was 13. When this was all happening I was only 4'9" so I was about goat size myself😅 My husband's co-worker has nigerians and offered for us to come over to visit with them. He also offered to sell us a couple if I felt comfortable around them. I will definitely take your advice and do some online research and watch some videos on them!
 

Jesusfreak101

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I would suggest making sure their pasture has place for them to play on as nigerians are know to be more playful even as adult compared to my nubains mutts lol. Grants mine play with each other and if dh parks a trailer where they can get it its fair game. I say this i recently had a buck that We got rid of because of aggresion my first experience with that. He was a meat buck that was lock in a small pen by himself 24/7. He had a full set of horns and tried to use them on me one to many times in the few short days we had him. I believe his aggression came from being alone and having a doe where he could smell her and hear her but not breed her or be with her. The doe was slighty pushy at first with my kids but has come to see them as a source for treats and no longer tries to head butt them. I have currently ten goats one buck and he is very calm. He acts like a dog and wants scratchs and if i would probably kisses but honestly once you know what a male does in a rut you wont kiss that lol.
 

Ridgetop

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So the men in the family like goats and have decided to get some. :hide They do not understand your terror (which is perfectly natural given your childhood experiences). In fact, I am surprised that someone did not shoot that buck. If it had been attacking my children when they went out to play, it would have gone to the final corral in the sky pronto!

As with any children and their prospective pets, first make sure who is going to take care of them. Are you home all day and going to be the person who has to do the work? Do you have children who can take care of putting them back in their pen if they escape into the yard? How secure is their corral going to be? Are they planning on keeping milking does wethers, bucks (not recommended), etc.

DO NOT GET ANY GOAT THAT HAS HORNS. ONLY GET GOATS THAT HAVE BEEN DISBUDDED. Do NOT buy any goat kid that is 3 weeks or older with the promise that it can be dehorned or disbudded. You have to disbud between birth and 3 weeks to catch the horn buds properly. Otherwise the disbudding will not be successful. Many people are afraid to disbud properly so they don't burn out all the horn bud and get scurs. Scurs can be anything from a small piece of horn to a large deformed horn. All horns are dangerous to young children, fences, and feeders. Some people say they like the horns because it gives them a "handle" to grab on when catching the goat. Properly raised and trained goats do not need to be grabbed by a horn (which they hate and will fight anyway) and can be caught by catching their collars. Some people refuse to disbud because they believe it is cruel. It is no more cruel than circumcising a baby boy. Disbudding is the easiest. It only takes a few minutes per horn bud, and the kid forgets all about it immediately. Dehorning is painful, bloody, and very expensive if you have a vet do it. Get properly disbudded kids or goats. For this reason I would discourage you from raising Boer meat goats since Boer breeders discourage removing the horns. Horns in the show ring are awarded points so Boer breeders don't disbud.

BUY ONLY BOTTLE FED KIDS OR GOATS, THEY ARE THE MOST FRIENDLY. Goats that have been bottle fed think you are their momma. They love you and want to be with you. Like all species of animals training is everything. Badly behaved goats were not trained. The pound is full of badly behaved dogs that their owners did not train because their puppy jumping and biting was "cute". Goat kids also will jump on you and butt at you. This is their way of playing and it is your job to train them not to do it to humans. People that think it is cute will soon have 125-150 lb. goats jumping on them and butting them at which point they get rid of their "pet". None of our dogs jumped on people, nor did our goats. Training is everything. They may be pets, but they are also animals and need to know their place. Jumping on and butting is what they can do to each other, not to you.

Many people like the smaller and dwarf breeds. I don't, since I don't like leaning over to lead or deal with a small animal. Just my preference to train a standard dairy goat and then be able to handle her from a standing position. If you want house milk, I would rather feed and milk a standard size dairy animal and get a gallon a day than feed and milk 4 mini breeds for the same gallon. More work and more money for the same final product.

We wanted to provide house milk for the family so I read up on everything about goats and bought 2 milkers in their 2nd lactation. They were very high yielders and averaged 1 gallon per day throughout a 10 month lactation. Most of our other goats could not achieve that amount but these were Star milkers. We have raised almost all the breeds of standard sized dairy goats. We milked twice a day. We like Nubian milk the best with LaMancha milk second. We did not care for the taste of Alpine milk and Toggenburg mik frankly was almost undrinkable although it is supposed to make the best sharp cheese. My youngest were 2and 4 at the time. If our 2 Nubian milkers escaped they would catch them by their collars and put them back in their pen. The does were bottle fed, and taught to lead on collars. All of our standard sized dairy goats were taught to lead, never to jump on people or butt them. They were easy to handle by ourselves, our small children, and strangers. Some had better temperaments than others, but all were sweet and loving to people.

We added Boer meat goats later. These goats were not friendly since they were mama raised. They were not aggressive, nor mean but did not have the desire to be with people like you get with a bottle kid. Boers are often left with horns. For this reason I would discourage you from raising Boer meat goats. We disbudded all our does but we bred for youth meat classes which required disbudding so disbudded and castrated all kids.

We originally took our 2 mikers to the breeder to be bred each year. Eventually we kept between 3 and 6 bucks at all times. Our goat herds had grown since our younger boys raised and showed dairy goats as their main project. DS2 raised LaManchas and DS3 raised Nubians. The bucks were never aggressive because we raised them to behave from bottle kids. The bucks got more pushy and excited about breeding when they came into rut but were still able to be handled by our children. Rut season is also when the terrible buck smell comes out. The smell goes away when rut is over At that time, the children were sent out to wash the bucks with pig shampoo, and trim off the hair on the bellies and the backs of their legs where the scent had accumulated. Show season is spring and summer and the bucks were sweet smelling during those months. When disbudding do not try to burn out the scent glands since they are not all on the top of the head They are also located behind the knees. Wethers - castrated bucks - never come in to rut which is why they don't smell. This is another reason why I don't like some of the mini breeds. Some mini/dwarf breeds will breed all year round, which means that the bucks are continually in rut and smelly.

Here are the answers to your questions (which actually pertain to all animal species):

1. Most goats are friendly. Some more than others. Bottle raised kids see humans as their mom and will love you. ONLY get a bottle raised kid whatever the breed. You can get adult goats but make sure they are bottle raised kids, not just "friendly". Like people some goats are more people oriented than others. Some are more outgoing, some are more reticent. It depends on your interaction with them.

2. Goats need training. Like puppies the kids will try to jump on you. PUSH THEM DOWN AND SCOLD THEM! Never allow any young animal to jump on you. Kids will try to butt you - this is the way they play. NEVER LET THEM! You need to remember with any species that what you allow as a baby they will try to do as an adult. That is why you see so many badly behaved dogs in the pound. Their owners did not train them as young pups and allowed bad behavior because they were cute. Any jumping on and butting must only be with others of the same species.

3. If you don't want house milk, you can get other breeds. Or you can keep wethers. I personally found wethers boring but that is because I have a farm mentality. We were raising, feeding, and milking a lot of dairy animals. Wethers on a dairy farm are a waste of space and resources. At age 10, DS3 did keep a wether whom he named Goatzilla because he got so large. He trained him to pull with a harness and would sit on his skate board while Goatzilla pulled him around.

4. Goats do not eat tin cans garbage laundry, paper or cardboard. Because they are browsers, they nibble on most items to test if it is edible. They will eat your shrubbery, roses, and trim your trees to the height of a goat reaching from the ground. They wont just graze on grass so if that is what your menfolk want to have grazed off, get sheep. Goats will eat brush, some grass, and particularly love juicy green weeds. Once that is gone (sooner than you may expect) they will require god quality hay. If the hay is fed on the ground or falls on the ground they will refuse to eat t once it is soiled. Goats are extremely picky eaters. This is why they seldom get worms, unlike sheep who will eat off the ground. Your best bet is a keyhole feeder. These are easy to make and will keep the goats from pulling the hay out of the feeder onto the ground where they will walk on it and then refuse to eat it, wasting your hay budget. Unless they are producing milk, goats do not need a grain ration. Hay is the best feed unless they have access to forage. Also, even if the feeder has hay in it, if it is not nice and leafy, the goats may refuse to eat the rough stalky bits. We raised calves on our goat milk (my boys were milking 12-18 does a day by then) and fed the leftover stalky hay to the calves. You can also feed it to your horses.

5. You don't need to keep more than 2 goats. If you are using them for milk production they have to be bred every year to produce kids and milk. There are several ways to do this.
a. If you have children that are in 4-H, they might want registered goats so they can show. In that case, buy registered animals and breed to registered bucks. Be prepared to keep doe kids that are produced since your children will want to show them too.
b. If you want milk but don't want to keep any kids and you like the taste of goat and lamb, you might decide to breed your dairy does to a Boer buck and raise the kids for meat. You can eat any goat kids, but Boers will put more flesh on the carcass.
c. If you don't want to eat your own goat kids, take them to the livestock auction in your area at around 3 months old. Good prices are paid for goat kids of that age. The benefit of this option is that you don't have to disbud or castrate.
d. If you don't want milk for the house, or plan to breed, get 2 bottle fed disbudded wethers of any breed and keep them as pets. The smaller breeds tend to jump on top of things more than the larger breeds.

5. All goats can figure out a way to escape from their pens, but I have sheep that do that too. Also had horses that could open the corral gate with their lips to get out. Pigs as well. Escape artists come in all species - ask Farmerjan! Her escapees go to auction! LOL

6. There are lots of books out there. I would recommend one that is general knowledge about milk or dairy goats. That way if you decide to milk it will cover how to mik care of the milk, etc. General knowledge books also cover housing, building feeders and stanchions, feed storage, health, etc. Try the library first.

If you really cannot stand goats, do not et them buffalo you into accepting them. Try getting a bummer hair lamb and raising it on a bottle. It will be super friendly. The same thing applies to training, and there are differences in feeding, but you only want to have something you enjoy. Don't get a wool breed or yo will have to find someone to shear for you annually. Shearers are getting harder to fd and are getting more expensive if you can find them. Sometimes, you can find a 4-H kid who wants to make money and will do it for you, but if you don't have any 4-Hers that raise sheep near you you will have to pay a lot. If you don't spin, why bother with a wool breed? Get a Dorper, Katahdin, or other hair breed. They shed out their wool in the spring an summer so you don't have to shear.

One thing about sheep though - Rams are far more dangerous than buck goats. Never turn your back on a ram. Personally, I never turn my back on any male animal. It's just good common sense. I have never been butted by a buck or ram. DH and DS3 who are experienced (but male themselves) have been butted from behind when they ignored that advice. They think the ram won't take them - wrong! Rams can be sneaky. Stay away from rams f you go with sheep.

Hope this helps you a bit. Like I say I can't believe that people in the neighborhood put up with that buck running loose for so long. I would have shot him and followed the 3 S rule!
 

KaleIAm

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I'm sorry you had those experiences when you were younger, I would be afraid of goats, too, if I had gone through that!

I'm not very experienced with goats, so take others' advice over mine. We have had two nigerian dwarf wethers for 8 years now. One is the sweetest, like a well behaved good dog. The other is mischievous and naughty, head butts the good goat in the belly, and even scrapes his horns on my thighs leaving deep bruises. The "naughty one" gets upset if I pet the "good one" or give him treats or dinner first. When he's upset he takes it out on the good goat, or me.

I posted about my goat drama here and got some great advice. It really helped a lot, but I have to constantly be this dominant presence prepared to chase the naughty goat down and show him that I am the boss. It is exhausting.


If they were both like the good goat it would be so different. He relaxing and casual to spend time with.
 

Miohippus

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It’s a possibility he was a bottle baby most bottle babies that weren’t raised around other goats act like that, they weren’t trained by the herd how to behave. Or if he was sold young and kept by himself and treated like a pet it could also cause that type of behavior I believe.
I had a buck that had been a bottle baby and when he was in rut he always tried to attack me one time he got out and when we were trying to get him back in the pen he pinned me against the car, We decided not to use bottle babies for bucks anymore after that, I haven’t had any problems with any of the Dam raised bucks I have had
 
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