Goats are delightful creatures but occasionally display inappropriate behavior. Although most of these behaviors are reversible, Puget Sound Goat Rescue receives many goats each year that with a little work could become wonderful companions. If you are finding your goat hard to live with, look below for advice on common behaviors and their solutions. You can also request a consultation.
Grain Brain: Yelling, jumping on people, standing on gates
If your is yelling at you, standing on your gates, jumping on you or just plain stalking you, your goat may have “grain brain”. We coined this term after noticing dramatic behavioral changes in some goats after they started getting grain, hay pellets or goat chows as part of their diet. Although there are circumstances in which goats receive grain as a supplement to their diet (milking, pregnant, show goats) it is not necessary or healthy for most pet goats. With ample browse and good quality hay, their nutritional needs are most likely being met.
“Grain brain” is usually easily remedied by discontinuing (cold turkey) the grain and/or treats. Yes, some goats even get “grain brain” from apples, carrots and other tasty treats. It could take days or weeks for the switch in their brain to “turn off”. They will be more relaxed once they are not fixated on getting grain.
aggressive Behavior and unpleasant Smell
Intact male goats (bucks) can have a strong, unpleasant odor and can sometimes be aggressive towards people and other animals. This is easily fixed by neutering, which can be done at any life stage. Both the aggressive behavior and odor will disappear in about a month from the procedure. Puget Sound Goat Rescue receives many well loved pet goats that are "badly behaved" or just plain "stinky" each year. A simple procedure done by your vet will reverse this behavior and allow you to keep your pet.
Crying and Trying to Escape enclosures
Happy and well-fed goats are natural homebodies and do not tend to try to escape a well fenced enclosure. A goat that doesn't have companions will cry and often escape to search for companionship. Also, if they are not getting proper nutrition, goats will sometimes test (and beat) fencing in an attempt to get more food. Good food, fenced pasture and companionship will keep a goat healthy, happy and too busy to explore the wide world.