Goat Headbutting One Person - How to Change Behavior?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by friesian49, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. friesian49

    friesian49 Active Member

    217
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    I have two Boer girls, with horns. They are great and I love them, but especially with COVID, it's just us here. So they don't get a lot of exposure to people. My mother has fed them in the past for a week or so at a time when I was out of town, with no issues.

    Around May, she was here over night and the one girl, Echo, I thought could have been bloated. So I had her come out to see if it was just me or if she looked off to her, too. She had her robe on, it was getting dark out, and Nyx squared up to her and did a little headbutt on her leg. Never did it before, we laughed. Then she did it again, or got that look in her eye like she was. About a month or so later, we were walking off leash in the woods, had halters on, with Mother in the lead, me with Nyx by me, and Echo off doing her own thing. Nyx got her in the leg/back on the hill. I laughed, cause that's how our family is, she wasn't seriously hurt, but I told her next time we'd put her on the leash and have Mother walk her around to start modifying this behavior.

    Last night, she was up for a night stay, and she came in the pasture and Nyx yet again squared up and gave her a tap. If you are looking at her, you can see her posture, eye, everything change. So I had her go out and gave her the brush to brush her. Later we got the halter and leashes on, I walked Nyx at first and then we swapped. They were busy eating grass, and Mother had some animal crackers to keep the positivity going. No issues on the walk.

    So I guess I'm asking - is this common? Am I correct in thinking it's likely more of them just not being around more people and thinking she's threatened or wanting to be dominate? I'd say Echo is the more dominate of the two, they are twins. They don't do this to me. I figured I'd have everyone that comes anymore, go in with them on the leash, and see how she reacts. Nyx can be protective of me, which is great if someone tries to kidnap me on a walk, but not great to the person that will be feeding them if I'm out of town!

    She's up to date on shots, no health issues, healthy as can be. Sister could care less.

    Kelly
     
  2. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    When she squared up, was her hair on her back raised, ears up and tail extended?
    Destiny does this when she feels the other person / animal is a threat to her.
     
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  3. friesian49

    friesian49 Active Member

    217
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    I don't think the back hair was raised, can't remember where tail was - don't recall it being down, but not straight up, either. Think ears were down. She gets that dog-like look on her face, out of the corner of her eye, then she'll seem to square up. She does do it hard, she's not backing up and pawing. Maybe it's the initial-go-away warning? Have you done anything to get her to accept the person?
     
  4. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    We try and let people meet her on our teritory. I avoid letting them go into her and Gizmo territory. Destiny has sharp horns and can really hurt some one
     
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  5. friesian49

    friesian49 Active Member

    217
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    Sounds good, I think more walks will help, with positive reinforcement. But once we get back to "normal" I'll be traveling some for work, so others need to be able to go in there. It may be having to put her collar or halter on and tying her to the fence a couple times, for her to see that's who's giving her food.
     
  6. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    I agree. You must make her know that her herd is a bit bigger than she thinks
     
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  7. this reminds me of my young doe who is very confrontational, in a mostly playful way-- but that play is still teaching a goat how to categorize the people in their 'herd'. goats instinctively are always looking to push other members of the herd-- being high on the totem means living longer in essence. this could potentially be an bigger issue of left unchecked, and something food might not fix.
    i have always solved issues like these by meeting the goat with equal or greater force. that confrontational kid gives me a firm headbutt? i knee her in the shoulder-- not hard but just enough for her to stop and think about doing it again. think about how goats communicate with one another and utilize that in your training.

    if i want to be friends with a new, shy goat or fresh babies that're spooky, i walk around them and i dont put pressure on them. if i want to show how 'high' i am, i will not detour but make the goat move out of my space. i dictate where i go, because i am the leader. now believe me-- my goats do not readily move out of my walk path, but its bc they're not scared of me-- but if i raise my voice and change my body language they know im serious and thats the fine line: getting respect without triggering the flight of fight instincts they have (which is not training them)

    honestly, your mum needs to spend more time with your goats. let her play with them more and let her push Nyx in very passive ways. playing king of the hill? your mum needs to win that game every time they play. dont let her be intimidated by Nyx, even when Nyx is using her horns to push. your mum needs to push her back and make her uncomfortable when Nyx is being pushy.
     
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  8. friesian49

    friesian49 Active Member

    217
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    Excellent advise, especially about how to "push" back. Mother will back up, tends to repeat the "back" command they know so they ignore her, and is a bit more higher pitched. I've told her to make them back up, they'll do it for me with no issues and generally tend to give me room to get in and out of the gate. She's up tomorrow, so we'll test it out - thank you!
     
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  9. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Gizmo is the pushy one. As small as he is. So he gets shoved allot. Especially when he gets in my way. Not in an aggressive manner but assertive. Destiny obly challenges the people that she knows may not be in her territory. Strangers that I ask not to enter their pen she will crtainly go at. Like those kids not to long ago. They were not welcome and insisted on playing in her pen on my property and she gave them a two horned salute. She knows the family and she knows her caregivers. She ignores them modtly. But a stranger in the pen just shouldnt be there.
     
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  10. friesian49

    friesian49 Active Member

    217
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    Nyx is actually the sweeter of the two, she'll let you do just about anything to her. I think it's the COVID self-isolation and me teleworking since March, that anyone other than me, with her being protective already, has caused this. Not nipping it in the bud at the start didn't help, I'm sure. But we'll work on, they are smart girls - whether learning bad or good things!
     
  11. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    They are highly intellegent little creatures.
     
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