Rules for working with goats

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Deborah Haney, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    I have 2 goats and I'm temporarily boarding 4 more. Right now it's 3 Nubians (a horned, three legged recent wether, a disbudded herd queen, and their 2 or 3 month horned doeling), a disbudded pygmy doe, and my two disbudded ND 4 month olds. It's been a bit rough but we're working out the kinks.

    There is a 12-year-old girl in my city who apparently loves goats but is unable to get her own. Her mother posted to Facebook asking if anyone who has goats would be willing to have her help with goat chores or just hang around (funny, I thought that only happened to horse people) so we contacted them and we're setting something up. It occurred to me: I don't have any safety guidelines for goats. When I'm with them I just try to use common sense and think ahead but I don't know if that would be sufficient for a child.

    Does anyone have rules for their kids or visiting kids with their goats?
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Maybe at least start with that she can only be in the goat pen with an adult.
    mariarose likes this.

  3. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    You are so amazing for being willing to do this!

    I don't have much to offer, except to explain to the girl these are not dogs. They don't have the kindness of dogs, they don't have the same desire to please that dogs have.

    They have their own wonderfulness, they are quick, and capricious, and strong.

    I know she's going to have a great time at your farm. Ask her to spend some time just watching and learning before she starts in. In other words, to look before she leaps. Then as she starts to interact, she'll be more aware and safer.

    I hope that made sense? It's been a long, wet, physical day and I'm really fuzzy headed.

    I'm so glad that your goats have you, and that this girl has you.
  4. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    Great thoughts above. And a couple of quick start rules. NEVER leave a gate open that is shut. Don't shut a gate that is meant to be kept open. NEVER feed a goat anything without your permission.
  5. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Good input! This can be a great teaching tool in responsibility; ie always close gates, do not feed anything without your permission, to always have an adult human along.
  6. SeventeenFarms

    SeventeenFarms Active Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    Southern New Jersey
    I have had a few teenage persons help at my place with mowing, upkeep, putting away hay, etc. Basically the rules for myself and wife are not to leave anyone alone with any animal until we can trust both with each other. And that means teaching, and working with the person to respect and understand the animal's behavior, basic care, etc, whether its a chicken, goat or horse. It means that the person is never left alone with any animal until we know that both are safe to be around each other. It takes time, patience, and work on our part, but its worth it.
  7. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    I don't think there's any way to cover and think of every little thing from the start. Your probably going to have to just go with the flow and see how much common sense the kid does have. I mean let's face it some people are very much lacking that.
    I think the gate and not feeding is probably the most important. I also agree I wouldn't just turn the kid loose with the goats no matter the age. Just stick with her and when you see something that is a no no let her know and why. I think the why plays a huge part in it because she will start to figure things out on her own as well if she happens to be totally clueless.
  8. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    Thanks for all the replies. I didn't even think about the gate thing as it is second nature to me now. I was trying to remember the ones I'd learned from horse camps and barns I'd worked at growing up but they don't really work with goats. You can walk behind a goat and goats aren't as prone to biting or rearing. I was also trying to think of some horn - specific guidelines like "be aware of where horns are" and "never grab a goat by the horns".
    ksalvagno and mariarose like this.
  9. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Good on you for giving this girl such a wonderful opportunity! In regards to horns, I like to explain to people that a goat's horns are his protection. Grabbing a goat by the horns is like walking up to a stranger and grabbing their sidearm. They're going immediately peg you as the enemy!

    I also like to teach horn safety. Horns should never be taken for granted. I wear eye protection when medicating a horned goat and I generally try to keep my face away from those horns at all other times. I'll kiss a horned goat on the nose or forehead, but I don't give him a side hug because that would put his horn close to my neck or face. I try to avoid leading a horned goat directly by the collar. A twist of his neck could injure my wrist if I got my arm or hand between his horns. Horns are beautiful and I love them, but it's important to give them the respect they deserve. The gentlest, best-mannered goat in the world can still cause an accident if he spooks, so it's important for us to watch out for ourselves. Best of luck to you!
  10. Martha Trujillo-Cody

    Martha Trujillo-Cody New Member

    May 18, 2018
  11. lifesabtchlearn2deal

    lifesabtchlearn2deal Active Member

    Mar 26, 2018
    The main rule i have with my nieces and nephews is to never chase any of my animals. If they want petted they will come to them and if they need to be caught I just get some of their treats n they come running. That's for the rare times they're not already under my feet.