Halter-Breaking a goat refers to the process of teaching them to accept a halter and lead. This is an important skill for goats, as it allows them to be safely handled and transported.
If you’re new to raising goats, you may be wondering how to go about halter-breaking them. This is necessary if you plan to harness or pack your goat. It is also helpful for exercising dairy goats.
Generally, the training should begin before the goat kid is weaned. Older animals may find it difficult and scary to accept being tied.
It’s a necessary step if you want to be able to take your goat for walks or tie them up.
Here’s a brief overview of how to halter break a goat:
- First, you’ll need to purchase a goat halter and lead. You can find these at most farm supply stores.
- Once you have your supplies, put the halter on your goat.
- Ensure that the goat’s neck is properly fitted with the halter. Let them be comfortable wearing a halter.
- Then, pick up the lead and give a gentle tug. If your goat resists, continue to hold the lead and try again a few times.
- With patience, your goat will eventually learn to follow the lead.
1. Start with a goat that is comfortable being handled
It is easier to halter break a goat that is used to being touched and doesn’t mind being restrained. So, you need to choose one that is comfortable being handled.
Besides, if you are willing to pack them, they needed to be comfortable around you. If not it will be harder to teach your goat to follow you.
Among domestic animals, goats are known to be the most loyal and hassle-free pack animals. Specifically, you should pick dairy breeds since they are larger and have longer legs. The Oberhasli, Nubian, Saanen, Alpine, Toggenburg, La Mancha, etc can be the right choice for you.
Generally, baby goats are easier and more comfortable with humans. However, you can also pick adult goats, but it can be hard and may require more time and help.
2. Introduce slowly
Finding the right chain can be challenging. You should choose one that is comfortable for both you and your goat. Choose one that fits comfortably in your palm.
To ensure that your goat is comfortable with the chain, select one that is the right length. Basically, it needs to work for both of you.
When you are ready to start the halter-breaking process, slowly introduce the halter to your goat.
- Let them sniff it and get used to it before putting it on.
- Once it’s familiar with the halter, it’s time to tie it up.
- Making sure the goat’s halter fits snugly around its mouth and ears is the first step to preventing escape.
- Tie its head so it cannot move and put it in a comfortable position.
- A loose belt increases the chance of being injured by hooks, branches, self-caught scratches, etc.
- Besides, it shouldn’t be too tight. Muzzles and nosebands should have a two-finger gap.
- Once the halter is on, don’t try to do too much too soon.
- Just let them get used to the feeling of wearing it.
- Gradually increase the amount of time they wear it each day until they are comfortable wearing it for longer periods of time.
Note: You should check the goat’s collar often to make sure it is still in proper condition and the right size (as the goat grows).
3. Train Them to Obey Your Command
After your goat is accustomed to the chain, teach it to walk on it. It should fit snugly under the goat’s jaw. As soon as your goat learns to walk, you can start teaching it to stand squarely on the chain.
Getting a goat used to handling and being calm is the first step to training them to pack. The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your training
- Teach them to accept being tied: There are a few different methods to do that. The best way to get your animal to brace is to push into it rather than pull on it, according to Bounds. It is better to press into the goat’s chest rather than pull on its neck to get a stronger brace. Another method is to tie the goat’s lead rope to a solid object, such as a fence post. This will give them some resistance to pull against.
- Teach them to Lead: Take a few steps forward, pulling slightly on the lead. If the goat stops after a few steps, stop, and then try again. To teach your goat to lead, you can use a goat halter. If your goat doesn’t give well to pressure, you should lead by the head, as this makes handling them much easier.
- Teach them to follow you: In this step, you will teach them to follow you. So while training them to walk with you don’t let them pass you. Apply light pressure to the chain. It’s important to let the animal get used to the feel of the chain.
- Slowly add packs: Now it’s time to teach them to carry things. Pack goats can carry 30% of their body weight. To do this, tie the empty pack on their back. You can begin putting things inside them once they are comfortable. Besides, make sure each pack weighs about the same.
4. Desensitize the goat to new environments
The process of halter breaking a goat can be made much easier if the animal is previously desensitized to different environments.
- Slowly introduce the goat to new surroundings, such as taking it on walks in different areas.
- Allow them to spend time acclimating to the new surroundings.
- Try walking them on different surfaces, such as grass, dirt, gravel, and pavement.
- Pay attention to how your goat reacts to each surface.
- If your goat knows she can leave at any time, she’ll be more willing to explore the new situation. Avoid restraining her if she wants to escape. You hope that her desire for the reward will overcome her reluctance about the new scenario.
5. Reward the goat for good behavior
When you’re halter breaking a goat, it’s important to reward them for good behavior. This will help them to associate the halter with something positive.
You can reward her in other ways besides food, such as grooming, scratching certain parts of her body, playing, or simply paying attention to her.
Give them a treat when they first start wearing the halter. This could be a piece of fruit, a handful of grain, or even just a few scratches behind the ears.
Tips on halter train goats
The process of halter-breaking a goat is not difficult, but it does require patience and consistency.
To ensure your goat is comfortable with the halter, you will need to work with him every day.
It is never a wise idea to leave a halter on a goat while you are not training it. A goat can be injured if the halter and goat get caught on something.
Besides, don’t stop practicing.
The goat might start coughing or resisting as it adjusts to being lead differently. Don’t worry about it. They may need time to adjust.