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New to Goats - Need Help

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by cparian, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. cparian

    cparian Songster

    Nov 5, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I knew someday I would have a pygmy goat on my farm due to my boyfriend always wanting one. Wasn't quite ready for one yet but....he was at a person's house helping him cut down a tree & this guy had a pygmy goat he didn't want anymore. No water in dish, only feeding him sweet feed, no hay! Needless to say I now have an approximately 9mth old pygmy goat buck. (Totally plan on getting him castrated very soon) Very sweet & calm but I think the guy's kids made him afraid of ppl. He loves my Great Pyr puppy & doberman not afraid of them at all. Anyway, everyone starts telling me he needs another goat for company & won't be happy without a goat friend. So I found a pygmy wether about 4-5 years old. He was living in a small backyard with the dogs. Brought him home today & he is knocking around my little buck. This new guy knows how to use his horns & I was afraid he was going to gore my little guy. I was so afraid I taped towels to the new guys horns so he couldn't hurt the little one. I am feeling like I made a mistake. Please help me out with any advise if this is normal, how to deal with it, how long it will last, or if I need to try to return the new goat. Thx
  2. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    It's completely normal. It's goat play. This is why all of mine are disbudded. I've seen a number of ways of capping the horns. If the towels are working, stick with it. The neatest I've seen was red, rubber balls on the horn tips. Keep an eye out, horned goats get caught in fencing pretty easily.
  3. cparian

    cparian Songster

    Nov 5, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Thanks Kinnip. How long do you think it will last b4 it calms down? I taped up the middle of the horns too because he getting the little guys head inbetween his horn & twisting him. I was afraid he would break his neck. I will keep the towels on.
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Disbudding goats is a very controversial subject... people feel strong about both sides.

    I am totally in favor of goats not having horns; your circumstance is one of the biggest reasons.

    It is completely normal and a part of every goats life to be either the leader or a follower. The new goat is establishing his dominance in your 'herd'. Because he has horns he can seriously hurt the little dude, not that he's trying to he's just being a goat. Goats butt each other in play and to establish the herd hierarchy. Unfortunately when a goat has horns other goats can be hurt and even killed.

    Putting the towels over the horns is a very good idea; however, it may have to be a forever thing. Goats continue to prove their dominance through their lives.

    It is not a good idea to have the horns removed. It has to be done surgically by a vet and is a very invasive procedure. It's also not a 100%, the goat can still end up with scurs. (I have a friend going through this with a new goat right now --- it's been bad and they wish they'd never gotten a horned goat and then tried to de-horn it.)

    I think you have three options:

    1) Keep the new goat and continue to cover the horns (I like the ball idea),
    2) Keep the new goat and just let things be with the horns uncovered and hope for the best. Many people have horned goats without ever having a serious injury in their herd. Many people don't!
    3) Rehome the new goat and find a disbudded goat as a playmate and friend for your little pygmy.

    Good luck in your decision.
  5. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Yup, normal. This will go on for a couple days before they sort out who's boss...and then will still occur at feeding time, etc. The age difference doesn't help things, either.

    You're correct, they can hurt each other...but it's just not that often that they do. Your biggest concern would be the larger wether getting the younger one's legs caught in his horns and laming the younger one.

    The towels, if they're working, are fine. You can also use a dremmel to round the tips of the older one's horns if they're sharp (takes a pretty sharp horn to gore). I've also seen people use epoxy to glue a tennis ball (cut open) onto each horn tip...

    Depending on the size of the horns on your guys, banding MIGHT be an option. Not for the faint hearted, though.

    Honestly I've never had an injury. My younger bucks are well socialized and know to run when the older guys go after them...sounds like your younger wether just hasn't wised up yet [​IMG]
  6. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    What they said.
  7. cparian

    cparian Songster

    Nov 5, 2008
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Thx for all the helpful advise! Hopefully thing will calm down within the next week or so. I will try the tennis balls while I decide what to do.
  8. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Just a little info. I would try my best to get some ammonium chloride and drench your new guy with it as with being fed sweet feed he could be in trouble for Urinary calculi. I just had a goat returned that they were feeding only sweet feed and he has UC. Not good and I had to treat him and thankfully he is doing good now but just wanted to let you know if you see him straining to pee he is starting to have problems.
    Its very painful and after they do get it you ahve to continue to watch for it. It doesnt take much to help and I sprinkle it on the wethers feed and the bucks also. Straight sweet feed is bad for wethers and bucks even. I only feed mine whole oats and alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay. Good luck and yes they will toss each other mine do.
    I disbud mine also but the little guy I got back she wanted to have horns. I will be banding his horns also soon.
  9. MrsCountryChick

    MrsCountryChick Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    I don't blame you for worring about you're little 9month buck. It'd be easy for you little one to get hurt when his head is getting between the older 4-5yr old wether's horns. I'd look into banding his horns for your little ones safety & the safety of any future herd members. The whole head butting is a normal thing, but to a much younger one it can be dangerous, let alone to your dogs.

    Here's a site where they explain with photos what horn banding is:

    Here's their info on the process:

    Good Luck with your new goats. [​IMG]
  10. Hobbley_Farm

    Hobbley_Farm Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Pilot Mountain, NC
    Quote:It's the "pecking order" of the goat world. They'll figure it out and it will be alright. We're going through this right now with our two month old Billy boer and a nearly 5 month old nannie boer. She's bunting and bossing him all over the place. Thing is, his father was nearly the size of my Dodge Neon. So i don't expect it will always be her bossing him around. Pretty soon if she tries to bunt him...it will be like bunting a brick wall [​IMG] [​IMG]

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