Handling Angora GoatsMonday, 13th May 2019
By Dr Mackie Hobson
Angora goats should be handled quietly and calmly to keep stress to a minimum.
Angora Goats are creatures of habit, and have a very good memory. Once they are familiar with a set of pens or handling procedures they will expect to be treated the same way each time.
Low stress handling - work slowly and quietly - avoid noise.
Allow the goats to become familiar with their immediate surroundings to settle before pressuring them to move. Working calmly and slowly will avoid panic behaviour.
Remember the importance of visual stimulus and work from behind when getting a goat to move where you want it to.
Goats will need to be caught for various husbandry procedure such as dosing, hoof trimming, vaccination and shearing.
The goats are first moved into facilities that allow calm and quite handling.
The facilities must be designed to allow the flow of the goats through the pens with a minimum of stress.
The catching pens ‘kraals’ must not have sharp objects, must allow sure footing and must be in good repair so as to prevent injury or discomfort.
- Goats may be caught above the hock or by the base of the horn.
- They must not be caught by the fleece, tip of horn or below the hock
- Once the goat has been caught it should be restrained by holding it by the base of the horn and the other hand hold beneath the chin.
Or restrain the goat with one hand/arm in front of the chest/neck and the other wrapped around its rear end. Use an open hand to hold firmly and do not hold onto the fleece.
- The goat should be moved with one hand/arm under the neck and the other around the rear.
If two people are moving the goat then one can hold the base of the horn to restrain the head and the other handler move the goat with an arm around the rear and the other around the neck/chest.
- It is unacceptable that goats should be moved by dragging by their legs , fleece, tail, ears, head or neck (horns)
- Tails should NOT be lifted or twisted when moving goats.
Turning a goat
When a goat is ‘turned’ for a procedure such as hoof trimming or shearing it must be done in a calm and controlled manner.
- With the goat standing against you pass the one arm around its neck to keep the goat restrained while the other arm is passed over/around its back to grasp the hind leg closest to your body as high as you can preferably above the hock.
- The front arm can hold a front leg above the knee or support of the neck as you lift the hind leg.
- The goat is lifted and turned making sure you are in control to set it down gently. The goat must not be dropped.
- The goat should be seated on its bottom with its back supported between your legs
Remember kids are very vocal by nature. Kids will bleat excessively even when there is no pain or apparent reason to stress due to the unfamiliarity of the process. Lambs being handled just as gently and calmly will be much quieter.
Lift the goat kid by placing your open palm under its chest/sternum and let its back end rest in the crook of your elbow. You can press the kid against your body and wrap your other hand around its body to make a sandwich. Hold kids tightly, with their legs hanging, and they will relax and feel secure.
Do not lift kids by their legs or carry them by the legs.