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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All of the land surrounding mine is owned by absentee land owners who come out here to hunt. The property to my south is very close to the goats and he likes to come out often and hunt or just target practice. My Boer doe, Lawn Mower, who is pregnant, is terrified of the gun shots. She will run and hide in the trees or try to hide wherever she can, even if I am right there with her. I hate it that she is so scared. The other goats seem to be okay with the gun shots, thankfully. If anyone has any idea what I can do to help Lawn Mower cope better with the noise I am open to suggestions.
 

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Maybe if you try feeding a bit of grain during the shooting times? I'm sure she'll get used to the noise eventually, but food can be a great tool to get them over the hump. Of course, right now she may be too scared even to eat. But if you offer food she might start being interested over the next few days. Good luck!
 

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Thanks for the advice. Thankfully the place is really quiet right now as everyone went home. But it being a 3 day weekend, the neighbor was out here shooting a lot. Maybe next time he returns and I hear gun shots I will take a pocket full of treats and see if she will take any from me. I just hate it that she gets so scared, especially right now as she is so big and should be kidding sometime within the next few weeks.
 

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You can't wait until the guy shows up and starts blasting away to work on your goat. You need to start working on your goat before he gets there.

Find a book, at the library, that talks about breaking a gun-shy dog and try the same. Basically, while they are eating, you start w/a cap-gun...good food w/a slight noise and then start getting loader as time goes on.
 

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Most of the suggestions use desensitizing techniques. Another approach is to train her to react in a certain way to being startled.

If the goat is small enough to hold on your lap hold her while the gun is shot and comfort her. If she is too big, then keep her on a lead and when the gun is shot, pull her in and comfort her. The idea is to teach her to come to you when she is started or scared.

This is how I trained my goats with dogs. I want them to come to me rather than run all over the countryside. I managed three at a time which was humorous sometimes but they learned to face the dog together as we all fended it off. Now a couple of them will even approach a dog to fight back.

So you can't let her escape and run away. You have to be able to control her when she is startled.

After she has learned this behavior then you can desensitize her. It is a good thing when they seek you out for protection... unless, of course, they are closely followed by a bear or wolves ... ;-)

Oh, and hiking in the dark helps this kind of bond as well. They are naturally skittish at night and will clump up around you to feel safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The problem I have with working with Lawn Mower right now to desensitize her is that she is very pregnant. She has already started bagging up. Not sure when the due date is but I am guessing late Feb./early March. I don't want to do anything that might harm her kids, so I want to wait tell the kids are at least a few weeks old. I would hate for her to get so scared she miscarries.

Lawn Mower is not a pack goat but she is close to me. She just walked past the house one day (Nov. 2011), possibly having been born the previous spring. For many months she was my only goat. I think the previous owner just dumped her out here. Anyway, she will come up to me and loves to be scratched, though right now she is not that fond of being touched. Hopefully that neighbor who is closest won't be out here tell Spring Break now that deer season is over with, though he appeared to be building a blind or something this past weekend. It is a pretty far drive for him to get here and he has a family to think about. So maybe he will stay home for the next month and Lawn Mower can live in peace tell she kids.

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She's cute! What a sweetie. I think you can rest easy that a bit of fright won't scare her into miscarrying. Miscarrying would probably only be caused by something as dramatic as being run by dogs, for example. I think as long as she's contained where she can't run in panic, just being frightened shouldn't cause her to miscarry all by itself.
 
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