Gauteng Smallholder Gauteng Smallholder November 2011 - Page 45

SMALL STOCK From page 42 retain her position until she dies or becomes infirm and another doe wins the spot. When a new herd queen does emerge, it's usually a daughter of the original queen (often the eldest), since her daughters have been groomed to the position from birth. Younger members of the Indigenous goast on the move in a group family or tribe are differences. submissive to higher-ranking Goats dislike people grab- females. It is quite common bing, holding or tugging their for a doe that has recently horns. In a group, goats use kidded (or sometimes right their horns to test strength before she kids) to try to and protect themselves. If you "upgrade" her status in the behave in this way your goat herd in order to secure a may think you are challenging higher status for her kids. or threatening it. Goats use their horns along When mixing a new member with head butts to sort out into the herd expect disputes their social status. to occur for a few days, in the In farmed milking goats, you form of rearing and butting. see them bunting and biting This is whilst the new goat each other in the milking establishes a position amongst shed to sort out their the herd. Normally the lower status goats will be the first to argue with the newcomer. Although this can appear rough, it is just natural goat behaviour. Obviously, from a distance, keep a watch on the mix. Another important goat habit is that of the kids – they love to hide. They tuck themselves away under bushes or behind objects and very often the mother will not know where they are. 43 www.sasmallholder.co.za It is a good idea to put very brightly coloured collars on young kid to help make them easier to find. Also, when looking for a kid, keep in mind that they can squeeze into very small places (the smaller the better as far as they are concerned). You will find that goats do not push well. If you push them to get them out of your way, they will lean into the push. It you want them to move, pull them.