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I feed my small herd of pet San Clemente Island goats some alfalfa pellets and some goat tex twice a day. At first, I used to put out a bucket for them to share. I quickly learned that some goats are better with the concept of sharing than others. Usually the goats at the bottom of the pecking order are more keen to share food than the queen goat. So, realizing that I had no idea how much each goat was getting, I decided to give them each their own bowl. This was a great idea - in theory. It seems that goats, much like some people, assume that what others have must be better than what they themselves have. Thus begins the great round-about. One goat chases the next goat from her bowl and she in turn chases the next goat away. So, they all switch bowl every few seconds. Though an improvement, no to mention entertaining, the food distribution was still skewed and inevitably some of the bowls were knocked over.

The solution was simple. Secure the goats and secure the bowls. I use metal loaf baking pans as food bowls. Since they are rectangular and small, it was easy to attach holders for them around the walls of the barn, about a foot off the ground. I also attached a strap with a carabiner at each food station. The first time was great confusion as I tried to get the goats to their correct spots (they were still pretty wild at that time). They did not like being tethered, but they did eat their own food. On the second try, they were a little skittish about the tether but they could not resist the food. Amazingly, on the third try, everyone went to their assigned station and I have not had a feeding problem since.

It has turned out that there are several benefits to this method.
1. You know who is getting what food and no food is wasted.
2. There is no pushing or fighting over food and calm oozes through the barn.
3. You can see who is eating how much. Their eating habits can change quite drastically from day to day. You know right away if one is not eating and you can keep an eye on her.
4. Forces you to have equal contact with all goats. This has helped to tame mine a lot.
5. Provides opportunity to examine any goat - whether she wants to be examined or not.
6. Other chores can be done with doors and gates open and there is no concern about wandering goats.

I started with three goats, but have tethered up to eight.

Just wanted to share what I've learned. Maybe it will be helpful to one or two people. I know circumstances vary and this would not be practical for everyone especially not for larger herds.
 

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There are many techniques that don't shift well between tiny herds and large ones. Thank you for sharing what has worked so well for you. That's using the power of habit and working smart, not hard.
 
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Picture in your head everyone in a row at a fence, each tied with a short chain or rope, far enough apart to not bully one another, each goat at the same place every day so that they learn they must go there and nowhere else. The feed pans are in front of them. They are only fed there, in that order.

When finished they are released. The smallest, or weakest, or the one most bullied (however you want to say it) is unchained or untied first, and then the next one above her, and the next above her, and so on up the chain of command, until you finally are able to release the herd boss. That is because if you release the boss first, she'll likely ram the ones still tied, because they can't get away and she'll know it.

It will be seen, since goats love routine and habit above all, that this is the only way to be fed, decreed from on high.

As he pointed out, this can only work with a small herd.
 

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I love your organization! I tie Elvis & Oliver as well. Elvis eats very fast and would be done in minutes while Oliver takes his time and eats tiny bites while looking around a lot. Then Elvis would push him out of the way and devour his as well. It took about 3 times but they figured it out after that. They eat at opposite ends of their barn, breakfast and dinner and now run right to their spots. It also works great for emptying their water bucket cleaning it and refilling it without any spills because they are out of my way! I can get a lot done while they are separated and busy and I know they won’t be under my feet for at least 5 minutes or more. They each have a leash with a collar attached, I set their dishes down attach the collar and hook the leashes to the wall. It’s also taught them to be patient while on the leash which has helped when trimming their hooves and brushing them out. So its a win win!
 

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I feed my small herd of pet San Clemente Island goats some alfalfa pellets and some goat tex twice a day. At first, I used to put out a bucket for them to share. I quickly learned that some goats are better with the concept of sharing than others. Usually the goats at the bottom of the pecking order are more keen to share food than the queen goat. So, realizing that I had no idea how much each goat was getting, I decided to give them each their own bowl. This was a great idea - in theory. It seems that goats, much like some people, assume that what others have must be better than what they themselves have. Thus begins the great round-about. One goat chases the next goat from her bowl and she in turn chases the next goat away. So, they all switch bowl every few seconds. Though an improvement, no to mention entertaining, the food distribution was still skewed and inevitably some of the bowls were knocked over.

The solution was simple. Secure the goats and secure the bowls. I use metal loaf baking pans as food bowls. Since they are rectangular and small, it was easy to attach holders for them around the walls of the barn, about a foot off the ground. I also attached a strap with a carabiner at each food station. The first time was great confusion as I tried to get the goats to their correct spots (they were still pretty wild at that time). They did not like being tethered, but they did eat their own food. On the second try, they were a little skittish about the tether but they could not resist the food. Amazingly, on the third try, everyone went to their assigned station and I have not had a feeding problem since.

It has turned out that there are several benefits to this method.
1. You know who is getting what food and no food is wasted.
2. There is no pushing or fighting over food and calm oozes through the barn.
3. You can see who is eating how much. Their eating habits can change quite drastically from day to day. You know right away if one is not eating and you can keep an eye on her.
4. Forces you to have equal contact with all goats. This has helped to tame mine a lot.
5. Provides opportunity to examine any goat - whether she wants to be examined or not.
6. Other chores can be done with doors and gates open and there is no concern about wandering goats.

I started with three goats, but have tethered up to eight.

Just wanted to share what I've learned. Maybe it will be helpful to one or two people. I know circumstances vary and this would not be practical for everyone especially not for larger herds.
That works for me, too! Especially being able to push my wheelbarrow out of the gate.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I really like this idea and its something we use to do with our horses in the past. This is an idea we plan to put into place with our goats that way I know for sure who got how much rather than who can eat the fastest and push others away.
 

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Yes, goats do follow routines, can be read also in MacKenzies book. Another way to get the same effect is to do all this on the milk table. This was my method for many years. It took some time every spring/summer to get the youngest (to be milked first for hygienic reasons) to understand they were no more supposed to come in with their mothers, but come first, but, as has been nicely described above, they quickly learn, and then follow the new routine.

[This was also the place I usually shot those who must go into the freezer. Only the treat (much for once, they got excited) was placed on the floor, for my convenience and for security. Still the biggest problem was to hinder the others to come in, not to get the one I wanted into the box. Only beware of gates opening inwards; then you will for sure get the whole flock in!

A little tricky when time for the vet; the goats did follow the routine even then - those who were not scared by the vet's rattling clothes.]

Another method that can work is to always offer the nice food in more bowls than there are individuals in the group. There will still be a lot of "belief that other goats have got something better", but the lower ranked will always have more than one bowl to go to, and the bullying will not be so prosperous.
 

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I don't know why I am using those little leash clips, your caribiners look awesome to use.
 
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I don't know why I am using those little leash clips, your caribiners look awesome to use.
One thing I have been thinking about with the caribiners is the strength and weight of them. The lighter weight ones may bend easy and the heavier ones may be too heavy for some breeds. I'd guess the type of clip you use will vary a bit based on what kind of goats you have.

Something I plan to do (just because I have a bunch of them already from the horses) is use trailer ties. These have a clip at both ends and some of them can be adjusted. Then I can just put some rings on the wall. This will give me a lot of options for moving the ties around as needed or depending on where I am feeding I can move them so the goats can't get to them when its not feeding time for example.
 
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