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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently my son and I stood by as my wether and his dry doe (the wether's aunt) had it out. He encouraged me to let this take it's course as the wether's (Forte) horns are still fairly short. He felt that this pecking order must be established in order for me to hike with all 3 goats. Forte has been kept from his mom and the other doe for the most part until now. The sparing did stop within 15 minutes ,no one was hurt and the doe was the obvious winner. However when I took everyone out again today the head butting began again. Is this a natural thing that needs to take place for the pecking order to be established?Forte has never in the 19 weeks of his life shown agression towards any human. He did teach our dog about his personal bubble though :? If I keep him on a lead and just get to walking they are distracted and I just change direction with him to avoid her. But my goal is to be a unit not a pin ball machine.

Help: Co. Dawn
 

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Hello,

calm down. Your goat is a young one that has to learn how to behave around other goats. Having him kept apart didn't help your issues, it may have aggravated them because now he has to learn in large leaps what he would have learned from day one in little steps when being together with goats all the time.

He may try to challenge you some day - puberty is coming - but it's not out of aggression but out of his need to find HIS place in regard to everybody around him.

Check the forum, there are excellent topics on goat behaviour and how to deal with a goat that's challenging you.

But at 19 weeks he's still a very young animal with a young brain.

Did you seperate the goats after the fight and then let them come together again for the hike? If so, you can expect fights every time for quite a while because pecking order is not something "for the hike only" it permeates a goats life from who's first on the water trough, the feeders, who sleeps where and with whom, who has right of way over whom, etc. If the can't establish that order for normal live on a constant basis, they either have to fight it out every time or you forbid every (!) interaction between them while hiking (the way horses learn to quit any social fighting while under a saddle).

Do you plan to keep him seperate from the other goats?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Sabine. I am not sure if I should keep them separate.We only have the 3 goats. The 2 does are dis budded. And the whether is not. I know this is a hot topic in regards to the horns. But planning to pack him in advance we decided to leave his horns on. If the fenced pasture is large enough do I really need to separate them? I see horses and other livestock penned in large pastures around here a lot. Folks here use goats to keep their horses company.These goats have horns as well.I did put him back in his pen when their head butting did not subside after 10 minutes or so. They continued to squabble through the fence.Then I put the girls back in their pen. Both pens are within eyesight of each other If I can pen them together that would be great.But I want to get this finding their place in the herd over with responsibly.And as safely for all 3 goats as possible. I hope I haven't blown it already.

Dawn.
 

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Hi- I am no expert at all, but have a herd of four wethers, two with horns and two without, and they can all be together now but it was really rough for the first four days when I introduced the first dehorned wether. I ended up taping pipe insulation to the horns of the big bully guy because I couldn't stand it and was worried. The rearing up and smashing downward didn't worry me as much as the head down and then thrusting upwards maneuver that looked like he was trying to disembowel the other guy. I duct taped tennis balls to the tips of his horns. I don't know if anything like this is recommended, but I felt better. And everyone survived uninjured. Now they are best friends.
I think horns will always trump no horns, so my guess is your does are going to have to drop down the ladder of dominance before the fighting stops. Make sure they can't get cornered anywhere or pinned into a tight spot if the fighting is intense.
 

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Hello,

if you keep him seperated, he will have a poor goat life. Either you get him a horned companion or you integrate him with the does. Horns a no "devil's tool", I have horned and polled goats run together for years with little injuries. Most common is a bit "bloody head" when the polled wethers play head-butting with the horned wethers.

What I don't like to do, is giving a young wether a doe group of his own too early in his life. More than one time I heard from people that now have problems with one wether among does that the wether is acting out, mobbing the does, not respecting the people because he was introduced to the does at a young age and now has an over-blown ego. In nature a buck has to leave the herd when he reaches maturity and to live in bachelor groups until the age of 3 years or so before he will be old enough to successfully fight for his own doe group. The living with the other young bucks teaches him that he will loose some fights and has to defer to other/older goats. In short, he will learn manners that sometimes does can't teach him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the sound advice. Thursday we had planned on moving the wether to his own larger pen. He is currently in the kid pen. But after re-thinking this and watching them a little closer, two things need to change. They all need to be penned together in a large pen. In our case pasture. We plan to put the two shelters they currently use in and let them figure it out.And the other issue is the head butting. He originally spent time with both does browsing once a day until our other spring kid was sold about a month ago. I stopped browsing the does because of some bitter milk. We thought it may be a particular weed.. Anyway.That is when the contact was cut off. I like the idea of horn covers.As his butting has turned into that disemboweled motion you spoke of.The funny thing is that the doe he always goes head to head with is not the queen. His mom is. And the other doe is his mom's sister. She is most often the instigator.She taught him yesterday three quarters into our hike where he was to walk. She very much wanted to hold her place next to her sister. I agree another wether or pack doe is in order. Only no one breeds pack goats her in Co. (Time to go shopping ;) )

On the feeder issue we use a two keyhole feeder for the girls. I will keep his feed separate and see how it goes. Any other advice will always be greatly appreciated.

Co.Dawn
 
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