The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I’ll admit that once upon a time I was sucked into the misconception that goats eat everything. Then we got our own and hah!, was I ever wrong!

One of our yearlings, Gilford, is the pickiest eater I have ever seen. Oh my. He’s worse than a toddler. We’re lucky he will eat grass and hay and fir needles. He does go crazy for grain, which we are tapering out of his diet as per the recommendation for year-old wethers, and sunflower seeds. Anything else? Not that we’ve found! His brother is a hearty eater and loves most of the snacks I bring; this is purely a Gilford issue.

I’m ready to start clicker training (I know, we should have started a year ago, but better now than later, right?) and am at a bit of a loss for treats to offer Gil. The grass/hay/fir aren’t novel enough to be much use, but maybe I can use the BOSS somehow to entice him? How do you manage them if they are loose in the palm? Is there a recipe somewhere to make teeny treats that would be more easily handled during trainings?

Piggybacking on that question, what treats would folks recommend for 6-wk babies to get them going with clicker training. The yearlings refused all goodies at that age and I would imagine our babies are still in that finicky phase. Any suggestions for treats for wee ones? They are starting to show mild interest in grain.

Thanks,
Rose-Marie and the Saanen boys
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
435 Posts
I have minimal experience but my picky eater liked raisins when he was little. When he got a little older salted peanuts became his favorite. He is now 3 years old and at 220 lbs he is still my pickiest eater.
IdahoNancy
 

· Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Hello,

I'll use BOSS as treats, too. I take a handfull and if I give the treat I open the hand just wide enough that the goat can kind of lick a few seeds out of my hand before I close it again.

It's a technique I heard describe somewhere of "letting the treat flow out of your hand".

As for picky eaters: I think, a little grain can't hurt at that age as a change in treats if you keep the amount down and balanced (except he's already overweight but then the BOSS wouldn't be that god, either).

I have a few picky eaters, too. Interestingly, both have similar genetics as far as race goes (one purebred, the other partbred Walliser Schwarzhalsziege). I need to take each of them out of the herd and feed them alone. They won't eat treats with another goat beside them (both are also among the highest ranking goats).

The purebred also won't eat from my hand when I have touched or fed another goat with that hand before him and the hand smells of another goat (if I give him his treat with the clean hand, no problem). So maybe it's a smell issue with your goat, too. Or stress.

I also found that mine like a certain type of horse treats, made with mango. These I break down in as small pieces as possible so that one horse treat lasts very long for one goat.

You may also try hazelnuts and/or peanuts, some goats like uncooked pasta.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Each year we typically offer a clicker training session with a profession trainer to our 4-H group. It's fascinating to see even the older goats pick it very quickly. A treat they really like is critical, so experiment a bit more ... and they use that treat only when doing the clicker training. Our goats all really like the Manna Pro licorice flavored treats. One of them actually goes somewhat psychotic as soon as the bag opens and can't seem to get it quickly enough.



I've also played around a bit with some recipes for "treats", though these are larger than I would use for clicker training (which really should be lots of very small rewards ... just enough to let them know they did the right thing and still leave them wanting more).

This is the latest version of the recipe I've been working with:

1 C Oats
1 C Wheat Flour
1/3 C Peanut Butter
3 Large Shredded Carrots
1/4 C Dried Cranberries
A Little Water (forgot to measure)

Put everything but the water in a bowl and start to mix. Add just enough water to create a workable dough. Create teaspoon size “cookies†and place on a greased sheet. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for at least 30-45 minutes, turn oven off and leave until cool.

Trying replacing peanut butter with molasses for a sweeter treat. Anise oil would give the treats a nice licorice flavor. This is in the commercial treats which our goats are wild for.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
849 Posts
Cuzco had the exact same problem when he was that age. He must have been almost three years old before he would accept any treat besides grain. So I just used grain for a treat and only fed him a little at a time so he never got enough to make him fat. I never fed grain at meal times either, so it was purely a treat. He would not always eat out of our hands either, so I carried a little scoop and would let him eat out of that if he refused to eat from my hand (although I always tried from the hand first).

The first thing he ever got into after grain was carrots, but only if he could steal them. If we offered him a carrot he would turn his nose up and stalk off like he was offended we even asked. But if I had one hanging out of a back pocket he would steal it, or if there was a bag on the floor he would grab the whole thing and take off with it. This lasted about six months before he would eat one that wasn't stolen.

Horse cookies were the thing he finally latched onto. I think he just couldn't stand to see the horses enjoying something without getting some for himself. After he moved out of the horse pasture and into our back yard he suddenly discovered the delights of people food and became a major junk food junkie (french fries and popcorn being a major favorite). Give him time. I'll bet he comes round. There's a good chance he'll eventually get curious and/or jealous of the other goats and try what they're eating. ;)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for the great ideas for treats for my persnickety guy! You've all given me great things to try. It would be lovely to be able to use loose treats (grains, BOSS, or raisins/peanuts if he finds them enticing)... We'll have to see if I have the dexterity to juggle loose treats, a clicker and a touch stick!

I'll check our Farm Store to see if they carry the Manna Pro goat treats. Horse treats sound like a great idea too, and I think they could work well. Thanks so much, Brian, for your recipe. I'll try baking some as tiny morsels.

Sabine, your observation of your picky goat snubbing a treat from a hand that smells like one of your other goats cracks me up! But it also gives me soemthing to watch for. Our yearlings won't eat anything that has dropped to the ground, no matter how fast I snatch it back up. Goats must have their own version of the "five second rule" for eating something that has touched the floor. Theirs appears to be a zero tolerance rule!

In all of this, I have learned that some goats, anyway, defy the stereotype of goats as garbage disposals. It's reassuring to hear my Gil isn't the only fussy eater.

I'll keep working this week to find the irresistable snack so we can launch our clicker training with success. In the meantime, I'm practicing my timing skills with the dogs and cat (who, much to my surprise, is picking it up the fastest).

Thanks again,
Rose-Marie and the Saanen boys

P.S. Brian, your 4-H club looks like great fun! The kids are so fortunate to have this opportunity.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
849 Posts
Our goat LOVES crackers (and chips)!! The problem with crackers is that they are hard to carry in a pocket or pouch since they like to turn into crumbs. And if it rains and they get wet, you're in big trouble. I really like using horse cookies since those are generally already in bite-sized pieces (and they can usually be broken up even smaller), they keep a long time, they have to get really really wet before they are damaged, and they don't make too many crumbs.

Also, if your goat won't eat out of your hand, you could try wearing gloves. That sometimes made all the difference with Cuzco. The funny thing is that it didn't seem to matter that the glove had been more nasty places than my hand. Oh well. Who can fathom the mind of a goat?
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top