Herd loss

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Darby77, May 23, 2019.

  1. Darby77

    Darby77 Active Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    Hi all. My horse passed away this past Sunday. The herd consisted of the mare and 6 goats. She was the boss and my one male goat, a wether named Finnegan, was her second in command. They were pals, though he would make lame attempts to challenge her at times. He was born here and the horse instantly took a liking to him. Now that she is gone, he has become an even bigger a-hole to the other goats. He chases them away from hay and is a loser when trying to put everyone to bed at night. Will he settle down after awhile? I figure he thinks he's big man now without the horse, but I am getting mad at him.

  2. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    He won't "settle down" as you put it without intervention now.

    Try completely isolating him so that the rest of the herd continues as a unit, but he can't harass them. The next day put him back in with the herd, but yank him back out the moment you see the bullying. After a few days of trying this, the other goats should start to coalesce into a unit, which he'll be outside of, which goats hate.

    I don't think he thinks he's the Big Man now. I think he's acting out in grief and can't express it well, but you can't allow this to go on, because this behaviour will cement. Everyone will be miserable, including him.

    This sounds mean, but it really would be in his best interest to be isolated (completely, don't undermine this by playing with him) for a day at a time in order to realign the herd dynamics.
    lhorning, groovyoldlady and Trollmor like this.

  3. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Oh, and I'm terribly, terribly sorry for your loss...
  4. Dwarf Dad

    Dwarf Dad Well-Known Member

    I am sorry for your loss and his. Goats definitely grieve.
    Trollmor likes this.
  5. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    I am very sorry for your loss, that is very sad :( the last thing you need is to worry about the bullying. I would do what Mariarose suggested. Sadly though, he sounds to be the boss now, and it can be a hard fix - stay consistent with the suggestion would be my advice.
    We've had to sell a couple of really good producing does in the past because they were overly mean to our other does. One of them was the hardiest goat, best mom, she was great with my kids, but she went out of her way to be mean to the others - she'd guard the door of the shelter to keep them all out in the rain, or run across the pen to butt someone for no reason.
    We did try separating her with her daughter from the others, but sadly it just didn't work for us.
    But I've certainly heard of it working.
    We have 7 does in one pen right now in our main do herd pen that get along great. 3 others stay with their kids in another pen. 1 of them is quirky, the other is fine with the herd, but the 3rd one is the boss, and she can be mean, so I have to keep an eye on her when we wean..
    toth boer goats and mariarose like this.
  6. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    @Damfino and @goathiker might have some behaviour modification ideas. They are really good on that.
    Trollmor likes this.
  7. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  8. Darby77

    Darby77 Active Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    I separated him into another pen this morning. I hate to make him more sad because he usually naps with his Mom during the day, but he was even shoving her today and I don't want that to go on. Of course everyone is rubbing on his pen fence and trying to steal his hay. Teases! I hope some time alone eases his mood. He got like this when he was younger and I tried separated him from his Mom at night.
  9. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    That doesn't sound like he's isolated. Can you isolate him? Is that possible?
  10. Darby77

    Darby77 Active Member

    Apr 23, 2016
    I don't have anywhere he can go that is away completely, just smaller pens inside the big paddock. I figured at least then the does could eat in peace.
    mariarose likes this.
  11. Iluvlilly!

    Iluvlilly! Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2019
  12. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Yes, at least there's that! That may be the best you can do, except to spray his face with water everytime he misbehaves.
    healthyishappy and Iluvlilly! like this.
  13. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I'm sorry about the loss of your horse. That's tough. I'm not sure what to say about your goat except keep him separated for a while as suggested. He might be nicer when reintroduced but he also might not.

    I've generally found that our bullies tire of it after a while because they eventually decide they want friends. My only goat that didn't want friends didn't stay a bully for long. Once he established himself as King, he eventually quit overplaying his role and was an excellent herd leader. It just took time.

    It's hard to watch them be mean, but unless you have any pregnant or very old goats in your herd it is unlikely that anyone will be injured. Just make sure the food is spread out enough and that your boss goat can't monopolize the shelter. Mine would lay in the narrow doorway of the calf hutch to make sure no one else could get in, so I fixed it by adding more calf hutches. If I'd had a barn I would have just widened the doorway. One thing that takes the wind out of their sales is knowing they can't prevent the other goats from still eating, getting shelter, etc.
    lhorning and NigerianNewbie like this.
  14. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California