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Just Need a few Questions Answered

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Goats' started by madelynmccabe, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Jul 7, 2016
    madelynmccabe

    madelynmccabe Loving the herd life

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    I purchased two baby goats about a month and a half ago. These are my first goats but they are still very skittish. They will take treats from my hand, get close to me, and have even let me teach them a few tricks. However, whenever I go to slowly pet them or touch them they back away very fast. This has become a problem because I have had to loosen their collars and of course had to grab them by surprise. They were screaming and kicking the whole time I loosened their collars and then didn't come near me for three days, and I had to do it a second time and it took them a whole day to even get close to me.

    Their previous owner didn't interact with them whatsoever. He just fed them and left them alone with the herd. So they aren't used to me being out there with them and trying to be nice and play with them. I have saved one of them from a fence but she still hasn't come around.

    I really want them to enjoy my presence and feel comfortable around me. I would be very pleased if I could pet them and love on them. Not just give them treats. I am also afraid that this will become a bigger problem since I have to trim their hooves and have a vet come out and give them their vaccinations soon. I am wondering if they will ever come around to letting me pet them. And if so, how long do you guys think it will take? Do they just need more time? Will they ever come around to letting me touch them? Is there anything I can do to get them to calm down? Or will they just never let me pet them?

    Madelyn
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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  2. Jul 7, 2016
    chiques chicks

    chiques chicks Loving the herd life

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    Just go in the enclosure and sit with them. Let them investigate you. If you're do it every day, they should come around. Treats help. Reward for standing close to you and slowly increase the amount of interaction they have to have with you to get the treat. They will come around. Different years work with different animals. Two of mine want grapes, but they all like dandelions. Some like raisins, animal crackers, apple pieces, carrots, Cheerios, I've used them all.

    Each animal has its own personality. I have three. One is my little buddy, he and I went through a lot and I missed him back to health. The two does came to me at about a year old. One only likes to push against my first with her head and be scratched on to of her head. The second took months to come around. She hates being robbed on her head, but loves to have the side of her neck rubbed. All the come to me, if I don't have treats, they are content with attention. I even go out at 1am after work and they come out for pets. I honestly thought they'd never become friendly! I also thought everyone was exaggerating how friendly goats could be, but now I understand, dogs with hoovees that eat my brush! What more could I want? Oh yeah, milk. Maybe next year.
     
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  3. Jul 7, 2016
    madelynmccabe

    madelynmccabe Loving the herd life

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    Thank you so much! So far my goats only like corn and these treats I baked them. Corn is their favorite and I will definitely try to work on having the goats let me touch them to get a treat.
     
  4. Jul 7, 2016
    Epona142

    Epona142 Ridin' The Range

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    Yes - the more time you spend with them, the better. Goats are naturally curious, so just do something around them without interacting, so they can take the time to check you out.

    The turning point for me with unfriendly goats is generally butt itches - once they are comfortable enough for me to hold onto them and give them good hard scratches on the bum or shoulders, they slowly start to come around. Treats of course are also a huge benefit, as you know!

    For years I was told that wild goats could not be tamed, it wasn't worth the effort, and they were wastes of money. So instead of listening, I bought wild goats for cheap and turned them into my pals. It was a great way to get started! :D
     
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  5. Jul 7, 2016
    babsbag

    babsbag Herd Master

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    But even the tame ones can turn into brats at times. I have one that walks into the milking barn, fights her way to try and be first, and then won't get on the stand. :th This is a new "trick".

    Be careful with the corn. While it is true that they like it it isn't really good for them and too much can make them sick. Mine like fruit loops and horse treats.
     
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  6. Jul 7, 2016
    madelynmccabe

    madelynmccabe Loving the herd life

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    Thanks guys! I just spent an hour with them and they let me rub their noses and one let me rub her neck.

    @babsbag if they get corn they will only get a tiny bit. So far I cannot find another treat they enjoy besides the baked treats witch have corn in them. I've tried rasins, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and fruit loops. I will try the Cheerios tomorrow since they have had a little corn today. Thanks everyone!
     
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  7. Jul 7, 2016
    outdoorhoney

    outdoorhoney Chillin' with the herd

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    Great advice on this thread so far! My advice is pretty much going to be the same. Goats are curious animals and they get spooked easily. Don't blame yourself for them being this way, it's nature. Plus, you had mentioned that the previous owner had no interaction with the goats so they had never been properly socialized with humans. You want to build trust with your baby goats and show them that it's okay and comforting to see you. Start with patience! It may not happen overnight, they'll come around to only having eyes for you but first you need to allow them to build that trust with you. Start by going out into their enclosure with them and simply hanging out. If they ignore you that's okay, just try again tomorrow. Keep interacting with them and try to go out there multiple times a day. Give them treats when they walk up to you and check you out! When I first brought home my girls, I wanted to train them to come to me so I started carrying a tin can full of treats I could shake and make noise with. I also had a fanny pack full of treats. They were very quick to learn this and the sound of the can shaking, and within a couple of days I was able to do yard work and have them stay within a few feet of me by their own choice. I spent many hours a day with them for many months just to build that bond with them. Sometimes my goats act sassy and have this "independent" attitude and will not listen to me. When this happens, I pull out the treats and I'm immediately greeted by devoted goats who will not leave my side. My goats would do back flips for treats if they could. Corn is okay in moderation, sometimes I give my girls wet cobb, which is dried corn and molasses. They LOVE molasses (be careful giving molasses to does that are milking though, it changes the taste of the milk). They also are very crazy about raisins. I used to feed them thin apple slices and dried apples, but one day they stuck up their noses to it. Now they'll only eat apples if it's made into apple sauce! They're divas and their wish is my command! :lol: Once they're comfortable greeting you, then it would be a good time to go into their enclosure and pet them. One of my does likes her horns scratched, the other one doesn't and prefers being brushed for twenty minutes straight. Goats are gentle and docile animals, they just need some time to trust you!

    So remember, GIVE IT TIME and interact with them multiple times a day!!! Treats are a HUGE bonus and builds trust way quicker! Best of luck to you:fl
     
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  8. Jul 7, 2016
    madelynmccabe

    madelynmccabe Loving the herd life

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    @outdoorhoney thanks for the advice! The baked treats my goats have are made with molasses and they love them. I went out with them and they came up to me and took treats and even got tired and fell asleep a couple feet away from me. They let me pet them a little bit but sniffed me a lot. So very good progress in just one hour!
     
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  9. Jul 7, 2016
    outdoorhoney

    outdoorhoney Chillin' with the herd

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    @madelynmccabe I'm already excited for you!:celebrate All they need is a patient and loving mama like you! Pretty soon they'll be stepping on your toes and trying to eat your hair!! That's goat love! :lol:

    Since you've had them, do they bleat/cry when you leave them alone in their enclosure or pasture or have they done this at all? Or are they pretty content with each others company when you aren't around?
     
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  10. Jul 7, 2016
    Epona142

    Epona142 Ridin' The Range

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    They're going to be in your pocket in no time!