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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 3 does now. Ruby is the oldest at 2.5 years old. the others are 1.5 and .5 years old. Ruby is my new herd queen now that I sold Ginger. She's a nervous nelly! She started her queenly rein by constantly screaming toward the house any time I was not out with them (she never did this before when there was a herd queen to boss her around). I ignored her because I have a million other things to do and she can't become a house goat over a lack of fear or self confidence. She has stopped the screaming now.

She also started by beating the other 2 does while I was out there, which has never been acceptable to me because I don't want to be caught in the middle of it. I started carrying my water squirt bottle to spray her when she reared up at them to make her stop fighting and spray again to make her move away from me while her hackles were still raised. She has mostly stopped hitting the other 2 does while I am around now, but her hackles are still always raised while I am around. I can't tell if it is because she's defensive around food, or if it's aggression towards me. She has not reared up at me or tilted her non-existent horns toward me.

I have not been able to spend much time with them lately because I was heavily pregnant, and now have a 3 month old human infant with a health issue taking up my time. Usually I would just put my baby in an infant carrier and go about my chores and hang out with the goats with the baby, but while Ruby has been aggressive with the other goats and is still going around with her hackles raised, I don't want the baby with me in case I get hit/tripped by all the drama and fall and/or drop the baby.

of course, now it is fall and they are having some intense heats on top of all the rest of the drama.

Ruby and I have been friends and cuddle buddies since she was a tiny doeling. I don't quite know what to do with her right now. I know she's probably freaking out because I've been acting differently, and because the herd dynamic has changed. In the long run I still want to keep her and be friends with her. She's a good momma and milker. As she is acting right now, though, I'm pretty fed up with her.

How do I re-teach her some manners? Make her keep her distance while she has her hackles raised, even if that means no cuddles for a few months? Pet her while her hackles are raised so long as she isn't tilting her head or giving the hairy eye? Goat whisperers, talk to me!
 

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It sounds like where I am. No babies though. I have sold most of my herd, and rebuilding with Fullblood registered Boers. So my main Buck & several does and kids were sold. I kept 3 original does. The other 11 are new to my herd. Everybody wants to be Queen.:buttheads: My old Queen is one nasty moody ol girl. Im sure she has a Major Headache going on. :dazed: Soooo I am introducing a new doe every 2 weeks. 3 will not be allowed in my main herd for another month. Since my 2 young bucks are allowed in this herd till October
Then all bucks will be pulled and only does in the main her . So then AGAIN the Queen slot will be tested. Ive gotten to where Im doing manner school her both new & old. Over & over again. So far ...peaçe comes with the feeding. I dont tolerate bad goat behavior during dinner. Or you dont eàt. It takes awhile...but it works for me. The hackles up or down..I dont care. Im the real queen at dinner...mind or no feed.
 

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It sounds like she is not confident as alpha but neither of the other two are mature enough to be the herd queen. Can you get another senior doe who is confident in her role as a leader? I’d keep up with the squirt bottle and not accept any aggressive behavior towards you, whether food involved or not.
 

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My queen is very protective of me. She was a bottle baby I got about 3 years ago. I took away the old queen and while she was away for kidding, the new queen dominated the others. When I added the old queen and her new kids back, the new queen bullied her and then continued as the queen. She reins to this day. Lol.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes they get so caught up in their pecking order that they might not think of you as their superior. They might just think of you as another goat. Try to get your bluff in on her. Continue with the squirt bottle. Make sure that she understands that YOU are the Alfa. If she is being a good girl, then you can love on her too. . Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is hackles up but not attacking me acceptable or not?

I cannot get another goat right now. I downsized goats because I knew I would be crazy busy with this new infant human addition. I'm even busier than I had thought I would be because of some health complications. No new herd queens.

The other 2 does: Orla (1.5) just doesn't want the herd queen position. She just wants to do her thing and be left alone. She's the only goat I know/have heard of that really would be happy as a single goat without a herd. She thinks other goats are fine, but was equally happy the one 2 week period she was babysat at my friend's house alone (no competition!). Noelle is Orla's kid and is more social and almost full sized despite her tender age, but at .5 years old, she doesn't have the ferocity to take Ruby on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Damfino do you have any ideas/thoughts about acceptable behavior?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What if it's directed at the other does because it is feeding time?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update: Ruby has stopped challenging me directly. She continues to challenge Noelle and Orla if I love on them, and if they are near me when she approaches, she approaches with raised hackles. If I’m alone, she approaches with hackles flat and nose up, my sweet friend again. I’m so frustrated with having to constantly discipline her because Noelle and Orla are constantly in my shadow. It’s been 8 months of bad behavior out of Ruby.

Part of me wants to just keep working hard and teaching her how to behave. The stressed out, sleep-deprived, new momma bear in me wants to put her in the freezer sometimes.

Ruby has always been on the high-strung, anxious end of the personality spectrum (which I’m guessing isn’t helping matters right now). But she’s a good momma goat and a good milker. She’s my only unregistered goat. I kept her because I liked her, and because she’s got such a very soft udder with tons of milk. I’m having a hard time liking her right now when she is in constant need of discipline and is making me uncomfortable with letting my kids into the goat pen.

How long would you wait until you gave her up as too corrupted to save?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Honestly, now that I’ve typed all that out, I feel guilty for not spending more time outside training her. I have had so little time for the goats. The baby and I both had health complications that prevented me doing more than the bare minimum to survive some weeks. I hurt a nerve in my hip and on bad days I can barely walk for the pain in my leg and hip. Orla and Noelle have handled my issues gracefully and continued as their peaceful, sweet, happy selves. Ruby has not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I also worry that if I decided Ruby was not worth fighting for and I sold her to someone that then Noelle or Orla would rise up as the next monster in my life. They’re a mother-daughter pair, though, so I’m guessing the pecking order thing would be different for them. I know no one here can see the future, but what’s y’all’s guess?
 

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Please don't feel guilty! You've been taking care of so many things, it sounds like! Sometimes we can't do everything as excellently as we'd like to.
I'm not a goat behaviorist at all, but it does seem to me, from my observations, that the herd bosses are always under more stress. They assume a level of responsibility for the herd, and they're always looking over their shoulders to be sure no one is challenging them. I think some can handle the stress better than others can. The rest of the goats are more calm, because they pretty much just have to maintain their place in the pecking order and do whatever the leader tells them to.
That being said, maybe Ruby isn't good boss material, or maybe she just needs more time to figure it out. 8 months really isn't all that long.
 

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I hope things get better for you. I'm sure I'll be dealing with some bad behavior whenever I start traveling again for work and need to get my Mother to watch the girls. For the last year it's just been mainly me and the one girl was charging/headbutting my Mother. I was in there at the time, so I'm assuming (hoping!) when I'm not around, she'll be good. And this is the submissive girl. May have to have a spray bottle ready for Mother!
 

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Sorry to hear about your health issues. :hug:
Feeling pain would make anyone even less tolerant of misbehaving critters! I do think 8 months is a long time to try and work on behaviour. You also have to be realistic and look at how much more time you can give to working with a goat.
I think only you can decide when enough is enough, when you have had it and can’t keep trying anymore. Personally I probably would sell her for meat, if she has a history of aggression. Just because I would worry about her being mistreated by an inexperienced new owner.
I hope you come to a decision that feels right for you.
 

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Don't feel guilty. You and your family come first. If she is too much trouble, sell her or put in the freezer. The goats need to be enjoyable and you can't have a problem goat with small children. Number one is your and your children's safety.
Yes. If she's endangering you or your children, that's a real problem.
It always amazes me how long it can seem to take goats to adjust to some things. I had one of my does for a year before she finally seemed to become reconciled to living here and quit screaming about EVERY LITTLE THING. But...not everyone can afford to take that long to let their goats adjust, and that's ok.
 
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