Nigerian Dwarf Goat Bonding and Affection

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Kenny Battistelli, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    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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  2. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    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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  3. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Welcome to TGS. Spend time with them without treats. If they come close to you then touch them.
     
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  4. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @goatblessings Thank you for your response! What will penning them in a small area when I feed them do? Also, when you say spend time with them, how long do you mean and what does that look like? Like just being in their presence or playing with them...?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  5. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Tanya They expect treats from me every time they see me so they pretty much are all over me when I enter their pen. Should they not expect food from me always?
    They are also a little timid when I try to touch them.
     
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  6. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    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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  7. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    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.
     
  8. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @goatblessings Ok, I will try that! I think they might just try to eat my book. What are tells signs of trust or love?
     
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  9. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Tanya As I proposed to Tanya, what are telling signs of their trust and/or love in you? I fear that I ruined their trust because when they escaped I would angrily drag them back in their pen.
     
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  10. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    @Kenny Battistelli a goat shows trust - from my experience, when they allow you to touch them under the belly, top of the head and "hug" them. They also seem to show trust when they come lie down next to you and relax
     
  11. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Head butting you, biting you and climbing on you is not trust. That is dominance.
     
  12. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Tanya I thought you weren't supposed to touch the top of their heads. Also, I was sitting down the other day and one of the goats put their front paws on my lap. Is that what you mean by climbing on you? I guess I shouldn't allow that?
     
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  13. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Petting on neck and back is best. Rubbing top of head is a challenge for headbutting.
     
  14. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Scratching the head can signal a challenge. My goats have learnt that its affection.
     
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  15. Ana

    Ana Active Member

    163
    Jan 29, 2020
    Gallatin TN
    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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  16. Ana

    Ana Active Member

    163
    Jan 29, 2020
    Gallatin TN
    Yes that is a very good way to build their trust
     
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  17. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    35
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @goatblessings @Ana When I take the homework out to sit out with the goats and do, they leave me. Is this still an effective way to build trust in this case?
     
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  18. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Oklahoma
    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
     
  19. Caileigh Jane Smith

    Caileigh Jane Smith Well-Known Member

    509
    Dec 1, 2019
    Missouri, USA
    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.
     
  20. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    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.