Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Introducing new goats  (Read 188 times)


  • Joined Jan 2019
Introducing new goats
« on: October 19, 2020, 03:54:51 pm »
Hi.  I need advice.  I have 3 Golden Guernseys; two of whom are horned.  The matriarch has curved horns which curl down almost to her back.  One of the smaller goats has straighter horns, her sister is unhorned. I have rescued 5 Golden Guernseys from an elderly couple who can no longer cope with them, two nannies and their three kids, born this year.  They are all unhorned.  I know horned and unhorned goats should not be mixed but it’s a bit of a fait accompli.  Normally, I would let them get on with it, after showing them to each other for a period, the new goats in their shed, the established goats talking them through the gate, and then letting them sort out their hierarchy.  However, I’m worried about the kids and also potential damage.  Would it be better to put them into adjacent fields so they can see each other through the fence for an extended period or will they still have to sort it out physically themselves? If so, how can I limit the damage to them?  The new goats are incredibly tame and affectionate as is my old goat who’s the matriarch.  My two younger goats are very timid.  I know this is not an ideal situation but I need to sort it out.  Any advice would be very gratefully received.


  • Joined Jun 2012
Re: Introducing new goats
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 06:48:17 pm »
Hi Festus,
you've probably got this already - but escape areas are brilliant for bullied goats. The best thing about raised sleeping areas are actually the areas under them, where smaller and older goats can hide. I've also got some separations in the goat house where the young ones can go under while the big folks need to jump.

Good luck,   :fc:



  • Joined Jan 2019
Re: Introducing new goats
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2020, 08:00:27 pm »
Hi Christian.  Many thanks for your reply. Yes, I have raised sleeping areas but they haven’t managed to get close enough to get under them yet. My daughter suggested pool noodles on the horns of the goats which sounded like a good idea. I know they’ll scrap but if their horns are covered with foam it should go some way to protecting the others.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Introducing new goats
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2020, 09:26:36 pm »
Leave them in separate fields, possibly for a long time. I would not risk fights where the current herd queen is horned, and the newcomers are not. I take it they have separate housing/pens. Also no collars on any of the goats, if there is even a minute chnace of them interacting, collars get so quickly caught by horns with disastrous consequences.

Are you planning on keeping both groups long-term?


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Introducing new goats
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2020, 06:11:02 am »
I would keep them separate for a few weeks (at least) to see how they get used to each other. If they can interact through the fence that would be better so they can get used to their smell etc.


  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Introducing new goats
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2020, 11:16:51 pm »
Firstly, from a bio-security perspective you want to keep them apart until you know what they're carrying (lice, mites, worms, cocci, Johnes, CLA, CAE etc

Secondly, you haven't said if the "new additions" are all female... if not then have the males been castrated or will they be serving everything (from about 4-6 months that's feasible and rut has started) in Northern hemisphere now.

Thirdly, there are good reasons why you shouldn't keep horned and disbudded/polled together unless they have grown up together and there are likely to be injuries if you put them together - regardless of how long they've seen each other through a fence.  If you're intent on doing it then yes, guard the horns although pool noodles look better than they work (I use them on my males at the height of rut to prevent too much blood, but they don't last long even if duck taped on).  Give plenty of "safe places" for the timid ones to escape bullying and be ready with a water pistol to intervene with bullies.  Ideally let the "new" goats get familiar with a territory and then introduce the "established" goats to the new goats territory rather than the other way around.  Be sure to have the vet's number on speed dial!  If you've got the space for it, it may be worth introducing your matriarch to the matriarch of the newbies and letting them sort out the pecking order between themselves on a 1-2-1 basis.  Likewise "pair up" others so that at least it's not a gang fight.  You may find if they sort things out hierarchically at this level there will be less scrapping when they're all in together.. and if there's only 2 of them then they may set aside their differences in the interests of having a pal.

Looking on the bright side, at least they're all the same colour!  Goats can be incredibly "racist" when it comes to introducing something that doesn't 'look like them'!
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.


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