?? About goats--I am so confused!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Rusty Hills Farm, May 29, 2008.

  1. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Okay, I've been reading all these posts from folks with goats who just love 'em, so I got to thinking maybe a pair of Nubians would fit right in here. So I started seriously researching and reading everything I can get my hands on, and now I am sooooo confused.

    One of the goat forums had a link to a well-known site with tons of information about goats. I believe she raises Boers, in case that makes a difference. That's when the confusion started.

    I read about--and saw pictures of--her male. There were 2 views. In one he is gorgeous and in the other--! His white face is all crusted yellow from his own urine! No wonder they say goats stink! Males actually LIKE their own urine and spray themselves in the face with it?

    Then I read about the does. She mentions fighting for pecking order and how every time a new goat comes into the herd or one of the established ones gets pregnant or has babies, the fighting can start all over again? And there is no way to stop it? It's "just a goat thing"?

    She also said never to use keyhole feeders because the doe cannot see the rest of the herd and cannot protect herself from getting butted in the side by someone more aggressive. She also said that sometimes when a doe goes off her feed for no apparent reason, that she actually may have bruised or broken ribs from being butted by the others. Is this true? Are they THAT aggressive to one another? Are they aggressive towards people too?

    So is this person right? Are goats really not gentle or quiet? I only have horses to compare them to, and I know my horses to be gentle and easy-going. I've never had them fighting for pecking order or anything like that (I've kept horses for 30+ years). If goats really are fighters, then I am definitely going to pass on any goats.

    But I am confused, too, because everyone on here seems to love their goats and talks about them like they are fine pets. So I'd really appreciate any light anyone can shed on all of this. I'm 62 and well past the point where I can deal with aggressive animals on the place.

    Thanks for any insight you can share with this poor, confused wannabee.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008
  2. Kittikity

    Kittikity Songster

    Feb 6, 2008
    Goats can push each other around but I don't think its to the extreme that the lady made it sound.. It can happen, it's just not constant aggression.. There will be some disagreements in any large grouping of animals.. Like chickens have a pecking order.. Or compare it to wild horses if you like.. Most people only have a couple horses so there's no need for a pecking order.. Although one might be a little more bossy then the other.. For the most part goats are quite civil.. I'm working weekends at a goat farm to get hands on experience and I saw nothing more than pushing each others with their bodies to get to the feed troughs.. They have about 50 to 60 goats.. I'd have to agree on the keyhole feeders though.. If they can't see the other goat, they have no chance to move out of the way or defend themselves.. The other goat could be just playing but can injure the other..

    As for peeing on their face, that is a buck in rut.. The stink of that really turns the ladies on.. But only the bucks smell like that.. Thats why some people don't bother with having a buck and take their does to somebody else's farm to be serviced.. With most of the dairy breeds, the rut only lasts from mid winter I think until early spring.. Bucks can also be more aggressive during the rut because of course hormones are running high.. Other breeds like nigerian dwarves, pygmies, boars, and kinders can breed year round.. But I don't know if the bucks stay in rut year round..

    If you're only going to get only a couple goats as pets then I don't think you'll have a problem with a pecking order.. I think that is more of a factor in a herd where the more dominant animals are going to take the lead.. In the wild it is a necessary thing because they need a leader..

    Hope this helps..
  3. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Yes, bucks love the smell of their own urine. Some bucks are worse than others, and certain times of the year (rut) are worse than others. The best way to avoid this is to get a wether - they don't do that [​IMG]

    As for does fighting...yes, when you introduce a new herd member, they have to show re-establish the pecking order. It's not a huge fight, tho - just a few squabbles. As for fighting with pregnant does, never seen that one. Nor have they fought when one gives birth. I separate my does into the barn when they kid for at least 4 days. When I let them back out, they will do some light butting to say "welcome back" but again it's nothing major. I just hold the babies til it calms down so they don't get caught in the middle.

    I hate keyhole feeders - she's right about that one. They WILL fight over feed, and the whole "you're in my hole" arguement can be dangerous if your does are horned and one has it's head stuck in a hole - can't get away and can't see it coming. But, they WON'T go after people if they're raised to love people. Even my wilder ones just run away from us, never charge us. Bucks can be a different story...but still in all the goats we've had we have only had one that was food aggressive, and he was a petting zoo goat before we got him so he learned how to scare people out of their peanuts so to speak. We sold him haha.

    Goats are wonderful. I LOVE my does, especially the milkers who you develop a special bond with. They are gentle and entertaining.
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  4. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

    Feb 8, 2007
    I have two bucks and three does currently. The two bucks live together in a separate pen and the head one yes, he pees all over himself when the girls are in heat. Its gross, he stinks. The other doesn't really do it as the other one is leader.
    The females, the oldest is 4 and she is the matriarch of the herd, so she is in charge. The other doe is her daughter, and the youngest is the grandaughter. The head doe will go after the youngest when it comes to grain and feed we use a trough feeder cause if they cant get away fast enough someone can get hurt. All my females are horned.
    But, they play together and head butt each other fine so it only happens every so often that they disagree, usually about food.
    The youngest and the daughter are pregnant and due next month. I have never had fighting when it comes to babies. The only thing that I noticed is when one tries to feed on a doe that is not their mother, the does chase the kids away.
  5. ronshoney

    ronshoney Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Algonac, Michigan
    I have 3 bucks that are in one pen and 2 does in another. I have found the same thing with the peeing that the one male does it when in rut and the other two don't seem too. The older of the two females does go after the younger one like she singles her out but it doesn't get too aggressive and the little one sneaks her attacks in. Two of my bucks have horns the rest do not.
  6. KingsCalls

    KingsCalls Songster

    Oct 22, 2007
    New Market,Tn.
    I have fainting "myotonic" goats. The males do not urinate on themselves. This is one reason I decided on this breed.
  7. Crunchie

    Crunchie Brook Valley Farm

    Mar 1, 2007
    My advice, and take it for what you will 'cause I'm sure no expert, [​IMG] would be:

    Find a good, reputable breeder who is close to you that is willing to answer your questions and help you out whenever you need it, even long after you buy your goats. They don't have to be show quality or even registered, but it's worth it in the long run to find someone who truly cares about their breed and their goats and who puts a good deal of thought into the animals they breed (i.e., they are breeding for quality).

    Buy the breed you want for the purpose you want. If your primary interest is milking, the Nubians you mentioned are a good choice. There are other dairy breeds--Alpines, LaManchas, etc., and the Nigerian Dwarf, which is a dairy goat in miniature. Boers are meat goats. Pygmies are a meat-type goat, though primarily just bred as pets or for show. I'm not familiar with them, but if I understand correctly Fainters are meat goats, too (KingsCalls, correct me if I'm wrong!)

    If you only want a couple of goats for pets, milk, etc., don't buy a buck. It's not worth the expense to feed one or the hassle when you only need them for a few weeks out of the year. They are notorious escape artists and will have to be housed separately. If you've found a breeder who will work with you, you can borrow a buck or send your does to their farm for breeding.

    Buy disbudded (de-horned) or naturally polled goats. Disbud any kids born. Horns are dangerous for the goat and they don't need them. While it doesn't mean that they will be aggressive, a goat with horns is more likely to be so--a smart goat will learn that he/she has them and how to use them to their advantage.

    Yes, goats bicker for pecking order. No more than your horses would, in most cases. They posture and butt each other. It's just like your dominant horse laying its ears back and nipping at another invading its space, to get their message across. I would think that real problems with aggression with goats are rare. When introducing new goats to each other they might fuss for awhile, but everyone usually has figured everything out in a day or so!

    If you are really worried about a goat being aggressive or really want one that is extra friendly, search out a breeder who bottle feeds. A bottle fed baby goat will forever think that it is human--or maybe that you are a goat, too! I have 2 bottle-fed goats and 2 that were not. All of them are sweet, but there is a definite difference between the ones who were bottle raised and the ones who are not.

    Good luck! Goats really are cool. I have Nigerians, I love them to bits!!
  8. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Songster

    kings run , i beg to differ , but ALL male goats urinate on themselves.
    I raised tennessee fsinters fopr 15 yrs and the billie peed every chance he got !!!!LOL, that is too funny .
  9. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Songster

    i meant kings call
  10. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Thanks, guys! There's lots of great advice here. I guess I need to do more thinking about this because, if I do it, I want nubians but the nearest breeder I can find is about 90-100 miles away.

    Still...they are so cute!


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