You can often find goats headbutting with each other. It might seem strange and scary. But are there any ways to stop a goat from head butting? You can stop your goats from head butting by adopting certain measures that prevent a situation that calls for headbutting. You can take charge and handle the goats calmly and confidently and prevent them from engaging in the act. Find out more ways that work in stopping goats from head butting.
Is Head Butting Normal in Goats?
Head butting is a normal habit of goats. You can see goats head butting while they are playing, seeking attention, and showing dominance. It is one way for them to keep themselves entertained and engaged. It is also a way for them to communicate their distress and an effective stress buster for them. Kids often play head butting with their companions, and it is not harmful to them as they are doing it for fun. Their skulls are thick enough to take the pressure and are, in fact, a healthy thing to do. But when adult goats head butt, they can turn aggressive.
Female goats or does, usually head butt as a means to compete with others in the herd. But if the competition turns aggressive, it can cause severe injuries and can even lead to miscarriages in pregnant does. Adult bucks head butt with other goats to show their dominance among the herd. This often turns really bad and is advised that you keep mature bucks separately from the herd and other bucks. Head butting is also a way for goats to spend the calories they gain from eating. During breeding times, head butting in adult bucks sometimes indicates that they are competing over some female goats.
Why do Goats Head Butt Trees and Fences?
You may sometimes find your goats head butting trees and rubbing their heads on the trees. Though it is not a sight you can often see, if you find them hurting themselves in the process, it would be better to keep them away from things that could injure them. Head butting trees are sometimes associated with them releasing their built-up energy. They might also engage in head butting trees if they find no other goats with them to play the game. Their habit makes them do this.
Goats can also be found head butting fences and other barriers. And this rises out of frustration. This habit, if continued, could also hurt them in the process. Hence, it is important that you take note of their changes in behavior and things leading to actions that have grave consequences. Providing them with greener environments and assisting them in socializing with others in the herd can help during these situations.
Do Goats Head Butt Humans?
Goats head butt humans usually for two reasons. One is when they are scared or find humans a threat to them, and the other is to seek attention and love. Head butting is both their way of attack and love language. It is also an expression of their fear and anxiety. When they feel threatened or insecure before someone, they will resort to attack by head butting, which is their survival instinct. And at other times, you can find them, mostly pet goats, head butting around you for a little more care and attention. You can satisfy them with a pat on their head or a hug to make them feel loved.
Though head butting is a cute gesture towards seeking attention, take caution to not make it a habit with your goats. Sometimes the habit might grow to be aggressive and result in damage to you and people around the goats. Some goats, mainly intact Billy goats, are very powerful and do not mind hurting you. So, when head butting begins to get out of hand or if you find them doing it purposefully to hurt you, know that it is time for you to take charge and pull the chains. Even if the goats are dehorned, the impact of the pressure will stay the same and will be enough to injure you.
Ways to Stop Goats from Head Butting
Head butting is a normal behavior in goats but something that can cause damage to themselves, others, and property. Hence, to prevent these from happening, you will have to adopt strategies and measures to stop them from head butting. The following are some ways with the help of which you can minimize damages.
Dehorning the goats at a very young age can reduce atrocities significantly. Since horns are not an important part of their body with which they cannot survive, dehorning is an efficient way to prevent the goats from getting hurt and stop them from injuring others. Dehorning pet goats too is advised.
Presenting yourselves as a calm and confident owner is key to handling goats, especially while controlling over a herd. Do not be afraid and show them that you are the person in charge and it is you who controls the herd. It would be better if you learn to handle the goats and be prepared to face anything that comes on the way. A strong-willed owner is necessary when there arise situations where there requires an intermediary person.
Introducing new goats directly into the herd is not a good idea. Rather, let them see each other through fences or house the new goats inside a barrier within the herd for them to see and familiarize themselves with the others. This can prevent head butting and other sorts of fights. While doing this, it is always better to introduce two or more goats together than bringing in a single goat. And to establish the order of the herd, goats will inevitably engage in head butting, which is harmless most of the time. But it would be good if you could keep an eye on the newly introduced goats and how well they are adjusting to the herd and separate them if the dynamics are not working the way you envisioned.
Does normally engage in head butting while fighting for food. Such a scenario is common when feed is on a single pan which requires all the goats to come together and have food from the same point. This will only result in chaos and the feed going to waste with all the fight over it. To prevent this, use a long trough, and place it above the ground at a height where it requires the goat to raise its head at shoulder level to eat. Also, remember to have enough space for the goats to eat peacefully.
Rewarding good behaviors and scolding over non-desirable actions are a way to familiarize your goats with good manners. A pat or treat for behaving properly and some shouts at them when doing mischief will teach them better.
These tips and tricks will help you in controlling your herd and stop them from head butting. If you have read this far, you must know how head butting is a normal behavior in goats, but that can also turn gruesome. So, interfering in and taking matters into your hands is often necessary. This can help you keep the environment on your farm peaceful.