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I have two Nigerian dwarf goats that I acquired a few months ago. They run towards me when because they think that I always have food on me. They don’t like me handling them and are sometimes shy around me. How do I know if they like me? How do I bond with them?
 

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Fair-Haven
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Pen them in a small area while you feed them. Get them used to you touching them everywhere, leading them by the collar, and rewarding them with something they like. The more you handle them, touching them and spending time with them, the more they will trust you. You will have to get them used to you handling them and tying - for hoof trims, vaccinations, etc. It's not a matter of liking you - it's a matter of trusting you.
 

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Ok. So yes mine expect treats too.... goat moms forget that this is not always a good thing. So you start with the feed routine. Once they know you only visit officially at feeding time and yes they can tell time.
You can start by talking to them over the fence. Once they are used to fence visits without treats you can do inside pen visits without treats. Trust is very important.
One of my workees made the mistake of letting strangers in my Destiny pen. She literally took out her anger, fear and frustration out on me.
It will take time.
 

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Fair-Haven
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I sit on a bucket in the pen with them - sometimes just reading. Let them approach you. Being lower to the ground is less intimidating for them. They will eventually be curious and come up to check you out. Take it slow. I spend about 30 minutes 2x a day with one that is suspicious. Move slowly, talk lowly. It may take some time, but eventually they should come around.
 

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I’ve previously had Nigerians and I always pet my goats on the head yet only my bucks had an aggressive reaction and one doe as well yet all of my other does and kids saw it as affection I guess it just depends on the goats personality :shrug:
 

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I sit on a bucket in the pen with them - sometimes just reading. Let them approach you. Being lower to the ground is less intimidating for them. They will eventually be curious and come up to check you out. Take it slow. I spend about 30 minutes 2x a day with one that is suspicious. Move slowly, talk lowly. It may take some time, but eventually they should come around.
Yes that is a very good way to build their trust
 

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It takes time. They look at us as a feeder..then an invader. When I first got goats..i would just walk with them. I would talk to them..but just hang with them. I sometimes would take a folding chair & read. Before long they get curious about what you are doing. So now..all my goats are comfortable when Im around
But they still LOVE ME when its feeding time..lol
 

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My go-to trick for socializing skittish goats is to have my morning coffee out in the goat pen. I just sit down and drink my coffee and ignore the goats. They usually get curious and eventually end up coming around, so then I'll talk to them in a calm voice. Eventually I can pet them. Sometimes this takes a while! I have a buck that I bought as a kid, who had not been socialized very much by his previous owner. It was probably a month or more before I could touch him. But now he is very friendly, and will follow me around the pen. I find having coffee with my goats is a very relaxing and rewarding experience, for me, as well as for the goats. I have also quit hand feeding my goats. I do not like being bitten, jumped on, or disrespected in any way, and every time I would walk into the pen and try to hand out food, I would end up getting mobbed. Now, they only get their grain out of feed pans on the ground, and that leads to a much pleasanter experience for all of us. That's not to say that I would never hand them a treat. If I'm walking past their pen and have an apple core in my hand or something, I'll hand it to them. But I don't hand feed them as a general rule.
 

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Fair-Haven
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I very rarely hand feed. I do go in the pen to feed and they are very happy to see me. I have goats in their own pen and will clean the pen with them in it, so they can see me working and notice I'm not hurting them. I've had babies jump in the wheelbarrow trying to help. I also let them wander the barn with me. Goats are not dogs and behave differently. Letting them know you are safe to be around is best. It takes a while. Some many never come in for pets, but tolerate your presence well. Sometimes just scratching the back while they are eating helps a nervous one. Some are very affectionate - others are not - depends on the goat.
 
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