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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We’ve got a yearling wether who is a bit of a bully. Nothing too serious, no one’s gotten hurt, but he butts everyone around and guards the hay nets when he is able.

I found a new position for one of the nets that gives like 3 different zones for eating and that has helped a bit.

It seems almost like he is rebelling against his mama’s status as herd queen and trying to establish dominance over everyone.

He will also butt everyone except for me and rear up on his back legs around my smaller child, which scares them. On his back legs, he is taller than Lola. I dominate him by grabbing his horns and sticking his head between my legs/nose to the ground until he submits and my older daughter does this whenever he rears up against my younger child.

My partner wants to eat him, but he is a darling and I won’t hear of it (at least not unless someone/somegoat gets hurt).

I’m wondering if he should get a timeout for a few days. It’d be difficult as we don’t really have a separate space at the moment, but could find one. If I give him a timeout is he left alone or with a companion? We have another wether who is 8mos and he seems like less of a bully to his 8mos sisters. And if he is in timeout does that mean no/minimal human interaction too?

Another thought is pool noodles or tennis balls on the horns, but will that help to stop the behavior or just make it less dangerous?

I’ve also heard that de-horning will help, but that’s going to be a more intense process as he is older and I don’t think we are quite there yet.
 

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No noodles on his horns will not reduce the behavior. It only might reduce injury. But I'll tell you my kids have gotten some good bruises from dehorned goats too. I would never wait until and animal hurts someone, especially one showing aggression. Problem is there isn't a safe way to prevent his behavior around the littles unless they never go in the pens without an adult. Because let's face it they won't be able to defend against him.

I could careless about herd bullying and establishing dominance unless another animal is actually getting hurt. But training that out of him will be difficult. Timeout could be helpful, but rememberthis isn't a necessarily a few days it could take weeks even months. Training him to be walked and handled might be helpful too, but at some piont you would also need to teach the kids to walk and handle him so he sees them as higher in the herd.

I'm sorry I don't have an easy answer for you.
 

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I agree...this is a show of dominance and in the herd is acceptable to a degree..toward his people it is not. Putting him in his own pen with a more dominant goat may help teach him manners within the herd, I doubt it will help with people. Until you see him gentle up I would not allow your smaller children in with him until they are big enough to floor him if needed. Im a huge moosh with it comes to my animals but personally I would send him off to freezer camp and not risk injury.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I could careless about herd bullying and establishing dominance unless another animal is actually getting hurt.

Training him to be walked and handled might be helpful too, but at some piont you would also need to teach the kids to walk and handle him so he sees them as higher in the herd.
So, what you're saying is that unless other goats are getting hurt you don't see it as too much of an issue? I am wondering if this is just a stage they go through, much like human teens, lol.

I'm more interested in trying to train the behavior out of him. No one, animal or human, has gotten hurt. He doesn't full on butt people, more like push them out of his way. And based of what Lola has reported he doesn't push them. He is handleable, and even the younger child (Lola is 8 the older, Sasha is nearly 12) can catch him and get a halter on him for walks, although he does tug and whip his head around a bunch until he gets to forage on the leash. When he rears up at Lola he doesn't butt them, but I would like to train that behavior out of him because it is scary. It reminds me of the kids on the playground who do dumb stuff to impress but then is backfires.
 

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In the herd, he is as you said trying to establish dominance. It is perfectly normal as any animal new or maturing young will need to establish their position. It can take longer and look uglier when a younger goat is trying to go for the head position. But eventually either he will win out ot be pt in place by a high ranked goat and things in the herd will settle down. At least until te next one decides to challenge the ranking.

Best you can do for feeding times is make sure there is enough feeding stations that others can get food elsewhere until he is done eating, or tie him off to 1 feeding area (and supervise for safety) until the others haven eaten.

As for the goat with people. I have 3 boys 11, 9 and 7. My 9 year old is small, but even my 11 year old can't handle my 2-150 pound oberhasli's if they get in a mood. But they are typically friendly and can be walked and handled by all 3. I never send the kids into the pen or field without an adult, just as a personal preference. But I am ok with the oldest going in ahead of me. My kids do 4-h so at least when it comes to the show animals they have to be able to handle the goats themselves. We did have a short while that the 2 oberhasli did try to establish dominance over even myself and my husband. This was a big time that the kids where not to go in the pen at all. Fortunately both are dehorned but like I said they can still leave some pretty big bruises. I haven't had to floor a goat yet but my husband did once. Ears seem to work for us. I really don't understand it fully myself, but grabbing and ear and pulling them to the side seems to say to them "that's enough".
 

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Certainly if a goat is losing weight due to bullying, I would hope you would do something about it. Just being hurt isn't the only thing bullies do. They may keep them from eating or being in shelter which would also be unacceptable to me. I would want all my goats to be able to eat and get out of any type of bad weather including getting out of the sun in hot weather.
 

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I have yearling wethers, horned and unhorned. Grabbing the horns for leverage usually means the fight is on. A visitor (friend of one of the grandchildren) used the horns for grab bars and got the snot beat out of him, and nice road rash from being dragged by the goat for his effort and a severe tongue lashing from me. The goat he grabbed by the horns was all stiffened, hair raised up and had focused all of his attention towards protecting himself from the intruder. I knew beyond any doubt, the goat was going to full on pound him into the ground.

Thank goodness I saw this unfortunate situation developing in time enough to intervene. This person is no longer allowed near the goats period and the grandchild has been banished from ever going into the enclosure again unless invited and accompanied by me. I saw no reason to scold the goat for the behavior considering the circumstances.

I have a lead wether that has pulled this stunt with me just a few times. I back him down with the tone of my voice, a scolding word, and if necessary threatening body language until he runs in the other direction. I don't have to strike him or put him to the ground to assert my lead position. However, if he showed this behavior towards one of the grandchildren or another person, the correction would be cranked up a few notches. There is no reason or excuse for this type of challenging display being directed towards any other person. (My goats have been taught since weanlings, rearing up and/or attempting to head butt would not be tolerated.) I would also stop allowing the children to accompany me into the enclosure if this were to ever happen.

Between the head goat and myself it has been for dominance over leadership. He has not ever made butting contact with me, just bluff and posturing. I would have difficult decisions to make if this were to ever happen. Aggression is a whole different ballgame than feeling froggy enough to attempt testing my position. Am not saying or denying this is the case with your guy because I don't know the personality or dynamics of your herd. I don't know whether pushing against a hand or contact butting was allowed when the goat was a kid. I have no knowledge how long your wether has behaved this way and if he was corrected immediately each and every time.

The struggle for dominance within the herd, pushing the lower ranked goats away from food, that is a goat thing that they will settle amongst themselves. The display against acting this way towards humans is not the same.
 

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Certainly if a goat is losing weight due to bullying, I would hope you would do something about it. Just being hurt isn't the only thing bullies do. They may keep them from eating or being in shelter which would also be unacceptable to me. I would want all my goats to be able to eat and get out of any type of bad weather including getting out of the sun in hot weather.
:nod::up:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I get it that you want to try to fix him, and understand. Just know what a little head pushing is just the start and rearing up is a troublesome sign. Just take caution.
here is a link to help you

http://goat-link.com/content/view/160/183/#.XYJ8OZNKg1g
Thanks for the kink. I'm not sure if Lola has the weight to hold him down, but following the directions in that link, I figure I can get him down and sit on him and Lo can do the head holding and calming him down.

Please not, that while I adore this boy, I am under no delusion of who comes first in my family and I do not intend to let this get to a point where anyone, child or adult gets hurt. And I LOVE goat meat, lol. But I do think that we have quite a few tricks we can try before we need to consider that route.
 

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Any luck improving his behavior around people?

It's unlikely to be a "teenage phase" and more likely to progress to more serious challenges as he continues to mature through age 3.

As for with the other goats: he's not rebelling against his dam's ranking as herd queen against the other goats, he is taking advantage of his position as the queen's kid! The queen position is often handed down linearly (if herd management/buying/selling allow) and so the 2nd in line position is coveted and aggressively protected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Actually we have had quite a bit of success!!

I watched him closely for a few days while Lola was in the pen or on a goat walk. He traded up against Lo a few times and we flipped him and sat on him until he calmed down. I did the brawn part and used my weight to hold him down, but Lola was the person to talk to him and calm him down. My partner has also been holding his head down until he submits when he butt them.

Well the other day we took the herd for a walk and they all got silly and jumpy. Gobbler started running about and ran straight toward us, head down as if he was going to butt or rear at Lola. And then, about 5feet from us he seemed to remember. He stopped and walked the rest of the way towards us and nuzzled us and licked Lola’s hand and then skipped off to head butt Nibbler.

He did this a few times and I swear, that action was so specific and intentional that I think he was telling us he got the message and was not going to push Lola around anymore. And he hasn’t since. Even when Lola is alone in the pen. But he does come up to them for a lot of scratches.
 

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Sounds like you have made great progress. I would never trust this goat around children or strangers though. Some goats you can more than others, and since he's shown this behavior of wanting to be the big man on campus I would say never trust him alone with children or elderly. And never turn your back on him. I'd have eaten him. haha He's a lucky boy.
 
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