Retraining bottle baby behavior

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by NDinKY, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. NDinKY

    NDinKY Well-Known Member

    645
    Aug 3, 2019
    Kentucky
    Two of the goats we picked up Sunday were raised on the bottle. We’ve never dealt with bottle babies before, we dam raise and the goats we’ve purchased previously have been dam raised. These two goats (doeling and wether, both 9 months old) are super sweet and friendly but absolutely obnoxious with chewing on you and jumping up. How do you train this behavior out of them? I assume it is because they think humans are mom and act accordingly. We’ll probably be selling the wether since we don’t need him, but the doeling is super nice and a keeper. She just would rather be with humans than the doe herd. Any advice is welcome, our goats are all friendly but these two take it to another (unwanted) level.
     
  2. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Consistant, repetitive correction. Water bottles or squirt guns with a stern NO. When you enter their pens and they start the jumping, etc. do your correction, if they stop the bad behavior, pet and don't make a big deal of it. If they keep acting up, leave. They need to learn that you won't put up with all the physicalness.

    I'm sure others have better or other suggestions.
     
    Sfgwife, Dwarf Dad and healthyishappy like this.

  3. NDinKY

    NDinKY Well-Known Member

    645
    Aug 3, 2019
    Kentucky
    So similar to training a dog. We’ve not really trained our goats to do anything other than jump on the milkstand and that was just bribery with food. Thanks!
     
  4. Morning Star Farm

    Morning Star Farm Well-Known Member

    375
    Sep 26, 2018
    My entire herd was made up of former bottle babies and I didn't mind the jumping and chewing from the Nigerians, but I did with the Nubians. They were just way too big! When they would jump on me, I would hold their front hooves away from me and tell them no. Goats don't like standing on their back legs with their front hooves held and they learned quickly. It doesn't hurt them and you only have to hold them for a few seconds. If you use a water bottle, you will have to carry it with you all the time. They are smart and know that if you don't have it, you can't spray them. I tried that and some didn't even care about getting sprayed with water, so it didn't work for me. As for the chewing, that can be harder, everything needs to be tasted after all. I had some that were horrible biters, not gently nibbling or chewing, BITING, as in take a chunk out of your arm. With them, I would tap them on the nose and pry whatever they had out of their mouths and hold their top lip for a few seconds while telling them no. They figured it out pretty quick. Again, you are not trying to hurt them, it is more of a restraint and they usually don't like any restraint. Whatever you do, make sure it's consistent every time they jump or bite. Goats are highly intelligent and will quickly associate the behavior with your reaction.
     
  5. alwaystj9

    alwaystj9 Active Member

    114
    Apr 10, 2019
    Zachary, Louisiana
    Biting is awful. I have a 2 yr. doe, not bottle-raised, that will bite to get to feed or get attention. She will actually run at you or another goat with her mouth open and evil intent on her face. I sold her once and two days later she was tied in my yard by the front gate. They didn't even want their money back. We have to really watch out for her. I carry a PVC staff, 4 ft. long, not just for her but general safety when dealing with a herd. I have mostly used it on roosters. She'll be headed off to the sale barn after I get a female baby off her because she is an awesome doe otherwise.
     
  6. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Before using water and other tough methods, do try "Gal's Lesson": When they approach, do caress them, and let them get as close as you want. Instantly when they pass your limit, just get up an walk away. If they want the closeness, this non-closeness is awful enough!

    ("Gal" was my doeling who wanted to be alone in my lap, and bit the ears of the other kids. After some three or four times of my Lesson, she stopped biting, but very obviously still wanted to! The whole kid was shaking with the inner conflict. But the other goatlings could lie in my lap as they, too, wanted.)
     
    Morning Star Farm likes this.
  7. NDinKY

    NDinKY Well-Known Member

    645
    Aug 3, 2019
    Kentucky
    The jumping thing is a problem because of my human kids. She well outweighs my 3 yr old and my kids love to go “help” with the goats. I like the idea of holding her legs up.

    As far as the biting, she’s not mean biting, more sampling everything. She’s pretty sneaky about it. I’ve just never had a goat this mouthy before. I’ll try a gentle tap to the nose and walking away. She’s the most human oriented goat I’ve ever had by far!
     
    Trollmor likes this.
  8. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    For the biting you can try pinching her bottom lip when she does it. I don’t mean pinch like try and pinch the lip right off but just a good pinch until they stop and as mentioned keep being consistent. Bottle babies are such a pain in the behind and it does seem like they will just never learn to be good normal goats but as soon as they realize they are goats and in a goat herd it will get so much better.
     
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  9. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Now, this sounds wonderful! :) But, a 3 year old will easily be tipped over by a half grown goat, so to steer this behaviour towards undangerous ways of getting attention and caressing seems important. Difficult case, when the human kid already loves it, and probably often gets behind your back, out of your immediate sight.

    But a goat who thinks humans are just wonderful, that is a treasure! (And can be extremely practical in different kinds of emergencies. You never have to run after her when she needs medical help!) Good luck with this very nice problem!!! ;)
     
  10. NDinKY

    NDinKY Well-Known Member

    645
    Aug 3, 2019
    Kentucky
    Just gently grabbing her lower lip when she nips seems to be working well. She’s not near as mouthy but is still very sweet and attention seeking. The jumping has improved with stepping back and turning away from her.

    Thanks for everyone’s help! I didn’t expect her to be so easy to retrain. I think her old owners let her get away with murder. Her wether brother is also doing much better and not jumping on my kids.
     
    Trollmor likes this.
  11. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    It's hard to visualize that cute tiny baby that climbs all over a person and jumps on them, etc. a full grown goat. (I have full size goats, a 200+# buck would not be fun to have try and climb on a person!)

    You are good to try and correct the misbehavior now.
     
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  12. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I do agree.

    A squirt gun or spray bottle may work as well.
     
  13. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    I would call it uneducated rather than misbehaviour! She will learn what is prosperous = what gives caresses and closeness. :)
     
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