Why do Goats Headbutt & 7 Ways to Stop Them

We often see goats head-butting each other. It may seem like strange behavior to us, but it’s natural for them. Yet the question arises, why do they do that? There certainly have been some studies to find the exact reasons. Most of the time, they headbutt each other while playing.

Headbutting is strange, however, is a common goat behavior. They do it because of habits like fun playing, spending calories, showing dominance, or seeking attention. However, they also attack out of fear and anxiety too.

But what would you do if they behave such with humans or other animals? Or if you see them getting injured themselves, what your best course would be at this?

As most owners are concerned about it, I’ve arranged this content relevant to this issue. Here, I will show you how to stop goats from head-butting.

Keep reading to know why they do that and how to train and control them.

Why Do Goats Headbutt?

Why Do Goats Headbutt

Headbutting is typical behavior of goats. They do it, not only themselves but also trees, other animals, even humans. There are several reasons behind it.

Let’s find out those reasons specifically.

What Causes Goats Head butt Each Other?

There are four main reasons why goats headbutt each other. Most of the time, you don’t need to take steps. But sometimes, you have to get things into notice.

For Playing

When they have a cheerful mind, they butt heads with each other. It’s just a playful fight for them. When they play, we see them doing such weird activities like this.

There are no worries for the owners about this strange goat’s behavior. Their skulls are so strong that they can easily withstand the butting pressure. So, no concern whether they can injure themselves. In fact, this activity is healthy for them.

When you see them doing it for playing purposes, and none of them are getting injured, you don’t have to do anything.

To Spend Their Calories

A goat generally acquires lots of energy while eating. When they headbutt each other to spend their calories, they usually play. You won’t see anyone getting hurt. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about it.

So, that is somehow essential for them to spend their calories. As it’s their physical process, no attempts should be made to prevent them from doing it.

To Dominant The Herd

Yet, there is another fact that a goat owner should be concerned about. Hierarchy and ritual combat sometimes lead them to attack each other. It is another biological activity for them, but it’s a little riskier.

You will sometimes notice the leader or the most stronger goats will attack the fragile ones. They do it to keep the upper place in the herd and show dominance. In this case, a few steps should be taken.

In Active Breeding Season

Also, when the breeding times come, male goats specifically get into this brawl. They don’t stop until one of them quits.

If this is the case, you’ll see a few male goats fighting to become the only contender for a female one. Noticing any of these situations, all you can do is keep them separate.

What Causes Goats Headbutt Humans?

Goats Headbutt Humans

Goats headbutt people when they assume humans are a threat. If they feel insecure from people, they will attack. Some goats also do that to gain attention and love.

They normally do it for fear or to seek attention. Mainly, these two reasons are the probable cause why they do it.

For Fear And Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are one of the main reasons. It’s their survival instinct that leads them to attack humans. If a goat is unfamiliar with a person and feels insecure, he will surely go for headbutting. So, as a person, we shouldn’t provoke a goat willingly.

It can be dangerous if they make it a habit. Goats with an addiction may headbutt kids all day long at your home. Therefore, do not show your aggressive gesture to a goat.

To seek attention

Sometimes, goats seek their owner to seek attention. Mainly the pet goats, you’ll often see them headbutting human beings around them. It can be a way to express their liking. Just like humans, they also need love.

At this, all you have to do is make them feel that you care. Rub their heads or even sometimes give them a warm hug. In that case, you don’t need to worry.

Why Do Goats Headbutt Other Animals?

Goat headbutting with sheeps

We know this is the typical nature of goats and other animals. If you notice, you’ll see numerous animals have the same psychological trait.

Especially among bulls and cows, they frequently headbutt each other. And because of this common manner of their instinct, goats often butt animals of different species.

Yet, not all the time they are fighting; there can be several reasons why goats butt head different animals.

For Fun

You may often see your pet goat is headbutting your cat. And the cat is responding similarly. It is fun why they do that. You won’t notice any roughness in your goat. So, no attempt can be taken.

For Fight

Most of the herd goats have this nature to do such things with other animals for fighting. They get this attitude from the herd, where they have to fight for a bit of space. So, when you are keeping your goats in an overcrowding situation, take more precautions.

Why Do Goats Headbutt Trees?

It is not a familiar sight for us, but a few goats often rub or butt heads with trees. Two main reasons lead them to do that.

To Release Their Energy

To relieve their pent-up energy, goats are often seen doing it with trees. This, however, is not an expected occurrence among them. If you see they are hurting themselves while doing it, you can surely take them to another safe place.

For The Habit They Made

They choose trees if they cannot find other goats to play with and practice their normal behavior. In this case, you should be very cautious of your social surroundings. At the same time, you must ensure that they do not feel secluded.

Why Do Goats Headbutt Fences?

Butting fences are another common behavior of herd goats. It is mainly frustration that makes them butt fences.

It is not their first choice, though. Yet only frustration leads them to headbutt railings, barriers, or other objects.

However, if you see your pet goat doing it, he will definitely do it for practice. As they can’t identify the risk, they may get injured doing it.

In this case, providing a healthy green environment for your goat is the most beneficial solution. You must ensure that your goat is socialized with other goats. Only then can you avoid it.

7 Easy Ways Of How To Stop Goat From Head Butting

How To Stop Goat From Head butting

Now the question is do you need to train them to prevent such behavior. Yes! if you find them hurting themselves or people around them. Otherwise, is you don’t need to.

Head butting can sometimes be dangerous. So, now I’ll let you know a few more reliable solutions to stop them. Keep scrolling to learn more.

1. Dehorn All Yeanling When They Are Young

Dehorning bucks is the most effective solution. Although dehorning them won’t prevent their behavior, it will diminish the risk of harm. On the other hand, horns are quite unnecessary for goats. So, you can dehorn them, even your pet goat, when they are young.

2. Be Confident And Calm

Controlling herd goats is more complicated than pet goats we know. But if you are frightened or nervous around goats, you shouldn’t pet them. Learn how to handle goats and maintain a calm, confident demeanor all the time.

3. Carefully Introduce New Goats

Whenever we introduce goats in a herd, the old ones always come for head striking.

So, allowing new goats to get to know each other through the fence is a smart idea before letting them interact directly. You can keep new goats in a separate barrier beside the herd for a week. Hence, they will get to know each other and no more head butting.

It’s also good to introduce two or more new goats to a herd at once rather than a single one.

4. Understand The Order Of Goat Herd Pecking

When fresh goats are brought to a herd, a fight is unavoidable. It is relatively harmless, though (particularly among dehorned goats). But, goats with sharp horns are harmful. So, keep an eye over newly bought goats and separate them if needed.

5. Use A Trough For Feeding Instead Of A Single Round Pan

If you place all the goats for feeding in a single round pan, you’re mistaken. This is simply setting up a situation in which they will compete for the meal. Even your pet goats will headbutt each other to get more meals. The outcome will be mayhem and trampled feed. So, using troughs will be a pretty good idea.

6. Avoid Feeders that Require Your Goat to Put its Head Inside

Compressed feeders obstruct the goat’s view and cause them to get into a brawl. So, using a wide container is a proper solution to this.

7. Apply Proper Behaviour Management

Keeping proper behavior management is essential from the very beginning. Whenever you get the desired posture from your goats, pat their heads. Give them rewards with a sweet, charming voice of yours. Let them know what you like and expect from them.

If you notice some unusual things, say “NO!” loud and firmly. Start it when your goats are young. If they are too stubborn, you can give them a push by your hands as punishment.

The same thing goes for the goats in a herd. Teach them manners when they are young. Thus, they will learn which actions are acceptable and which are not.

How To Know Your Goat Is Okay: Is it a Normal Goat Behavior?

Understanding a goat’s normal behavior will assist you in keeping the herd healthful. Or, if you have goats in your house, you can make sure they are okay if you know their normal behavior.

Here is some usual behavior of ordinary goats you should know.

  • Biting: Biting is a rare form of communication for goats. Some bite very little, while others bite a lot.
  • Butting: Goats sometimes butt for a purpose. They do it to push others out of the way and establish their place in the herd. Even as a game or fight, they frequently butt during the rut.The most prevalent motive for butting is to establish a position in the herd (as high as possible). When a new goat is introduced, the lower-status goats are often the first to fight. They want to keep or gain ground in the herd.
  • Mounting: As young as a few days old, goats begin mounting on one another. They pretend to be grown-up goats while simultaneously striving to assert dominance. The mounting goes into sexual purpose as they get older.

Nowthen, you may understand what types of headbutting are normal for them and what’s not.

Now here is some other common question that you may have.

Common Questions About Goat Headbutting

Does headbutting hurt them?

As it’s a rapid, effective, and risky maneuver, a misplaced attack might cause injuries. A forward, rising, sideways, or backward headbutt can all be effective from different stances. So, yes, butting definitely hurts them if they are rough.

How do you discipline a goat?

Goats certainly have the ability to learn. But they are not like other intelligent animals. To make them disciplined, you have to treat them in their way.

Carry a spray bottle with you. Squirt a goat whenever she intrudes or butts. Smacking her face can feel like butting, which she might interpret as a challenge.

If she keeps persisting, grab her and flip her on her side. Keep doing it until she understands you are in charge. However, never hurt them at all.

How do you deal with an aggressive goat?

Dehorning or putting a sponge on their horn is the permanent solution for aggressive goats. But if you are trying to feed them to calm them down, then you’re mistaken.

Feeding them while they are aggressive is like rewarding them for bad behavior. Give them rewards when they behave well.

How to safely be around goats?

Goats have a flight zone, as most herd animals. It’s the intimate environment that makes them feel safe. Several goats have different-sized flight zones. Especially if they’ve come from a traumatic past, a fearful goat may have a large flight zone compared to a docile goat.

If you get too close to a goat’s flight zone, it will most likely walk away. Even they may bolt or show symptoms of fear or agitation, which you must avoid for the comfort of the goat.

Last Words

Goats, unlike cats and dogs, should never be kept alone. If you see any unexpected behavior among them, such as fence butting, you should navigate it. As you’ve learned how to stop goats from headbutting, I hope you will have no problem dealing with them.

You should keep your goats in a natural, green environment to engage in physical and mental activities while eating a healthy diet. Thus, you will be able to say that they live a long and healthy life.

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