Thursday, August 5, 2010
Goat Care And Behavior Problems
Although by nature they are not aggressive, some goats (bucks and does alike) develop behavioral problems that need to be solved in time. Here’s a random list. Some have solutions; the rest have only suggestions for actions.
Never play with buck kids or they will continue to do so as adults and can cause injuries. Also, dehorn your buck kids. With horns, bucks tend to be naturally aggressive.
Here’s an anecdote. A buck might stop butting you if you hit it with water between the eyes from a squirt gun (or a water bottle) coupled with saying a firm “No!”
Buck odors are reduced by de-scenting him. This can be done while he is dehorned. (This is usually done when the buck is about two weeks old.)
Depending on individual behavior, some does seem more disposed to fighting than the others. Unless they are pregnant, the worst injuries are bruised heads with some bleeding. (These might cause some infections, if not treated.)
Some milking troubles
Individual does have individual attitudes in showing their dislike of milking. Have a milk stand and use it before her first freshening. (You can use it for hoof trimming, worming and other activities.)
Frequently handle their udders when they are young. Hopefully, they will get used to it until they become milk producers.
Have the does get used to set routines of regimented activities that include feed presentations, washing, and drying. This way, they will be trained to stand still while being milked.
Some does are kickers. Some like men to milk them. Some resent being milked by someone they are not familiar with.
Some can be tricked into being milked by having one of their kids work on the other teat while you milk the other.
Some does simply do the unthinkable: they attack their own newborns. They butt them ferociously especially when the kid tries to nurse. They tend to go after their first-born, and let the others nurse freely.
One solution (though not foolproof) is to separate the kid, but letting it nurse off her (several times a day) while she is being restrained. You may have to do this until weaning.
Another way is to feed the kid yourself and raise him on a bottle. (At milking time, fill a bottle for the kid’s share. Feed it straight away to avoid heating up the bottle.)
Some suggestions include rubbing some of the birthing fluids from the favored kid all over the rejected one to confuse her. There had been some sporadic success with this technique. Sometimes, she will unexplainably accept the kid after some time.
Some Nubians will associate your presence with food, and they will show their impatience with so much noise. One way of breaking this is to show up in the barn and not feeding them, just breaking up the routine.
Other behavioral problems
Goat care differs from goat to goat. You simply have to pack enough patience in dealing with them. Sometimes you get lucky.