Raising Goats For Dummies
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Caring for your goats is a lot easier if your goats have some basic training and are used to being handled. Nothing is worse than having to chase down and capture a sick goat or having to drag and lift it into a vehicle for a vet visit. Follow these tips to raise well-mannered and manageable goats.

Using collars

Collars are a useful tool for handling goats. They’re necessary for showing a goat or getting it from one place to another, like in and out of a vehicle for transport. A collar is essential for restraining a goat when grooming, unless you have a milk stand.

If you have only a few goats, you can buy collars at the local pet supply store. If you have a larger herd, remember that pet or goat supply catalogs may offer discounts for bulk orders.

As you get more comfortable with your goats, consider using a regular dog collar when you need to control a goat and letting it go collarless the rest of the time. Goats that wear collars all the time are at risk of choking if the collar gets hooked on something.

Regular handling

Goats need regular handling or they can get wild. A wild goat will run from you and struggle to get away. This kind of behavior presents a problem when you need to groom it or do routine maintenance and care. A goat that is handled regularly is more likely to come when called.

Here are some important things to remember when you start handling a goat:

  • Goats duck their heads to get away, so keep the goat’s head up with one hand under the chin and one on the top of the neck or by holding the collar up. Be careful not to choke your goat with the collar.

  • To catch a fleeing goat, grab the back leg. Catching a goat by a front leg may break the leg.

  • Avoid chasing a goat. Try luring him with food instead.

  • To handle a horned goat, firmly grasp the base of the horns to lead her.

  • If you expect a veterinarian visit, catch the goat in advance. Restrain the goat in a pen or by tying her to a fence.

  • Use treats to lure a goat that is resistant to handling. Peanuts, carrots, or apple chunks are good choices.

Teaching basic manners

Goats need basic manners so they don’t hurt you or someone else, especially if they have horns. For mannerly goats, follow these tips and share them with any visitors to your goat herd:
  • Never push on a goat’s head. Pushing simulates butting and teaches the goat that butting humans is all right.

  • Never let a goat kid jump on you or anyone else.

  • Don’t let a goat stand with its front legs on you.

  • Lead-train your goat for basic handling.

  • Don’t let children chase or ride your goats. In addition to making them more fearful, being ridden can break the goats' backs.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Cheryl K. Smith has raised a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberian dairy goats under the herd name Mystic Acres since 1998. She is the owner of karmadillo Press and is the author of Goat Health Care, Goat Midwifery, The Best of Ruminations Goat Milk and Cheese Recipes, and Raising Goats: Some Essentials.

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