Abused goat

silver2(Vt.)November 20, 2008

My son just rescued an adult billy goat. He is a year and a half old, had not been neutered or really cared for. Tied to a tree with a plastic rope, ear mites, hooves that looked like elf boots, infection between the cloven hooves on all four feet and severely under fed. Crackers and bread had been his feed. His photo showed blood on his legs, probably from scratching. Anyway, he is getting good feed, has had his hooves done by a vet, been neutered, had his horns trimmed and evened, as one had broken off and was raw and sore. Ears were cleaned and treated, got his shots and been gone over.

His condition was so bad when he first came home before the vetting, he was fairly quiet. But now,,, he feels better, he can walk and run, which with his feet so bad,he could not do before. And he can butt and be bad tempered, so basically he is a wild goat and a large one with , for such a short time, a remarkable recovery. He also bites, and needless to say is not a good companion to the young female goat my son has.

Question is, how long or will he tame down? It has only been about ten days since the vet had him and did the fix up work. Any good methods for goat gentling? He has had to be isolated, as he butted his way through the pen and got loose, butted his way through the barn doors, tethers will not hold him. So he had to be put into a horse stall with a solid wood pen that so far he has not been able to blow through. He goes into attack mode, even to biting if he can't get you with his horns. He even attacked the female doe, so currently they can't be together.

Any good advice out there, as I know my son won't give up on him.And would not want to do anything to hurt him. I know he is working with him, trying to hand feed him treats and talk to him, but is there a better way.

Who talks goat language? I know they are more intelligent than given credit for. And the doe is like a big dog, she was bottle raised. And supposedly so was this buck, but apparently at some point they got tired of him and just left him out to molder.

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When an animal has been so abused it takes a very patient and kind soul that will not hurt the goat even when the goat buts or bites. I would withhold all feed and water. Only allow him to eat or drink out of your hand, make him completely dependant on you for feed and water. His behaviour will gradually change toward the caregiver. The butting and biting is normal behavior for some billies so don't be surprised if he doesn't mellow out towards everybody. Be aware that a billy can be very dangerous with adults, let alone with children.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Bless your heart for taking on the expense and effort of caring for this poor creature! I wish I had some helpful advice, but I know next to nothing about goats. Speaking from my rescue work with abused dogs, the advice seramas offered seems quite reasonable and wise. Also, the neutering should help to calm him down, altho it might take a while to see any effect.

Trust takes time to build; the amount of time is as different as each abused animal. I hope you can find a Goat Whisperer here who can offer you some solid tips.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:14PM
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It also may be that he is a bad-tempered animal and that is why he was neglected/abused. He might be threatened and frightened in his new environment along with a burst of energy due to feeling better than he has for a while. Be cautious around him and make him dependent on you if you can. It will be a wait-and-see matter after that.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:53PM
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I have to ask how much did THAT vet bill run you?

I read somewhere that cats and goats will revert from domesticated state to ferrel faster than any other animal. SO I guess you have to revert him back to domestication. Seramas idea sounds good if the dang goat does not bite your hand off. LOL

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:05PM
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One good thing about goats is they only have teeth on the top and back molars top and bottom and no teeth on the front lower jaw. They can still pinch the day lights out of you and leave a nasty bruise.

Been wondering how things are going with him? Would like to see some pics, too.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:09PM
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jmdj1994(z4 IA)

I agree with seramas--make sure they only eat from your hand. I have done that with great success--but it does take a lot of time so be patient. I don't think there is ever a good excuse for abusing an animal--even if the animal is bad tempered to start with. I think people just don't realize that animals aren't toys and they DEPEND on you (even farm animals that aren't pets) for getting their needs met. I am not an animal rights activist or the type of person who puts animals on the same plane as people, but I do beleive that we are all God's creatures and that nobody (human or animal) deserves to be or should be mistreated for any reason. Kudos to you for taking on such a task and good luck--God Bless! Marie

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:47PM
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I realize I'm in the minority here, but an aggressive buck with horns would be sent to the freezer here. There are far too many good friendly male goats out there to risk a child or even you being hurt.

Do yourself a favor and find a nice friendly goat that has been raised properly (as in no head butting) for your children's sake. A wether would be ideal, but you can find friendly mannored intact bucks if you look for them or raise them yourself. Most importantly do not play with their heads, and if they start butting use a squirt gun to deter it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:08AM
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It does take time for the neutering to take effect. He will still have some hormones in his system. If it were me, I'd try for awhile, but if I thought he was a danger to anyone and was not going to ever become completely "safe", he'd go in the freezer here too. Too much risk to keep around the other animals or children/visitors.

He might be good company for another male goat who is kept for breeding. They are usually kept way out in a far field, but still need company. A whether would be good for that and wouldn't come in contact with people.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 6:35AM
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Was talking with a cousin of mine and she has goats-about 200 or so. When she gets a goat that is a problem she uses one of those zap collars. She said you have to set it to the highest setting or they just ignore it; also, don't zap them for everything they do wrong. It works only if you take one behaviour problem at a time zapping them when they do it. They quickly learn not to do it and after a couple week not doing that particular behavior go to the next problem...until you have retrained them. She also says that they may relapse every now and then so still exercise caution when dealing with them.

I'm not a big fan of these collars, but sometimes it is the only way short of stocking the freezer...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 10:59AM
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One of my goats likes to nibble on your clothes. I had a cousin visiting from CA and my goat got a hold of her shirt and bit a hole in it. It did not go over too well with her.

I like the idea of the zap collar. I have a problem with a very jealous goat that I will post later. Thhat just might be the answer for me.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 12:29AM
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Just my two cents. We rescued 3 1 year old wethered nubians 4 years ago. Caboose is the dominant 200+lb guy and he lets you know it. The problem is he can be very dangerous when feeling "manly". He has very large horns and will hit you without warning other times he loves to be petted, brushed and whispered to. I NEVER, EVER turn my back on him, children are NEVER allowed in the yard, Caboose has injured the other 2 but they panic when separated from him, he is their protector. I have considered putting him down because to give him away would be endangering someone elses well being. Right now we don't allow people inside the yard, when I go in I always take a collar to sting his nose if he gets to exicted. I know he will not change but I keep holding out. You have to have tons of patience with these animals if they cant out smart you mentally they will do it physically. Feeding him by hand is great just don't never let him between the door and you and always keep communications on you (cell phone, walkie talkie). Good luck with him, you've done a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:18PM
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Silver2, could you give us an update on billy? I've been wondering how things are going (went?).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 4:16PM
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If I had to go through all those precautions I don't know if I would keep the goat. that takes out the fun out of it.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:12PM
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i dont know quite why it is but i have noticed with
a billy that i have he seems to enjoy
butting , hitting, horning etc. when women and kids are in his area .
and my other billy is quite spoiled and is still aloof when other people are around .

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 8:15PM
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Jo or Jodi Brennan

I'm learning about how to manage my 1 1/2 year old buck. He gets grain twice a day and even though now tethered he has access to grass. Thing I'm discovering is he is an animal with horns that could kill me or someone else. Good for him at night I know he could defend himself against a predator, but what if he pulled his stake free while I'm at work and I drive up the drive to see him loose. He'd be so happy to see me, and come excitedly over and his natural instinct would be to swing his head at me. So, I don't expect him to be gentle. With all the love he has it would still kill me. I'm going to work with him and determined I would get this neat tool I saw a gentle men using with his bulls he raises. I can recall pulling up to where he was because I needed directions. He had about eight or so bulls in a fenced area, which he was preparing for loading. He only carried a thin white pole. Which I understand may have electrical current or it may not. But this scene carried one man and was very docile. They were bulls. A man in control of his animals. I'm a woman who needs the same respect from my buck goats that I'm acquiring. I'm not looking to be hurt nor am I looking to hurt. Someone said hit'em in the head with whatever you got. Hmm...that wouldn't have looked good from my prespective pulling up to ask directions. It's just about engineering and the right tools. That's what I'm discovering goat herding may not have the attention it deserve for devices to help a person support the goats needs without fearing for their lives having the animals.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 7:29PM
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Goats are animals that by nature, head butt, slam, gore, bite, and generally harass their herd members. this is their nature, how they communicate control, determine who is the boss. It is not uncommon for goats to body slam one another halfway across the pasture because, well, just because.

Hitting a goat on the head, unfortunately, has little effect on the goat. Butting heads is a game to goats. This is what goats do, with their head. Unless you have the strength to hit that goat literally to the ground, time and again, then again when they forget "whos boss", this is the WORST thing you can do, besides that you'd better not EVER turn your back on that goat cause you'll get it in the end. Not only that, it is animal abuse. I don't mind saying that whoever gave that advice to you is either not a very good goat person or has not owned goats for long enough to know this. The prod mentioned above is a better idea, the best idea would be to cull (as in kill) the aggressive animal. It is my understanding the aggressiveness shows normally after 2 or 3 years of age when they get full confidence. The worst tend to be (from my research) bottle fed intact males.

Owning 7 intact bucks, I can say not one of them has ever tried to horn me, butt me, or treated me like a doe. This is because I bought from lines that are not aggressive, and I handled them accordingly from a young age.

It's not really about engineering. It's really about genetics and rearing, breeder knowledge and choices. Nature and nurture. If you have an aggressive buck, why on earth would you breed that animal to pass that aggressiveness onto yet another generation of aggressive animals? I don't care how good of conformation, milk or meat the animal gives, it won't do you a dar n bit of good if you get seriously hurt while owning that fantastic yet aggressive animal.

Oh and as far as defending himself, yes horns can be helpful, and may ward off a meandering predator, but only an aggressive horned goat with some weight behind him will save themselves from a serious predator and even then not something that is killing for hunger. Most would fall prey to the predator, the horns would only scare off half-hearted attemps to kill.

One more comment; bucks do not need grain 2x a day. They need none at all. Urinary Calculi is a potential problem with bucks, a death sentence to wethers unless ammonium Chloride is given daily. For the health of your buck please research UC if you aren't aware of UC and bucks/wethers. Provide good quality hay, free choice minerals, plenty of fresh water and appropriate de-worming and he will do well.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:09PM
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