Will friendly Goats turn into Mean Goats?

Generally, goats are energetic, social, friendly and docile in nature. When the Goat that was friendly started to be mean to you or everyone or even in the herd, its something to be seen seriously. You should worry if the goat starts to be aggressive and mean. Taking a soft approach to the problem will alleviate, need to step up.

The underlying aggression and meanness can be related to one of these problems:

  • Dominance
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Illness

Dominance – Beating Pecking order

Every goat has a place in the Goatherd hierarchy. A social hierarchy or pecking order is present in the herd. The herd will be headed by herd queen. She gets the desired food and place to sleep. The rest of the does in the herd has a specific dominant order. Based on their hierarchical position they get access to things.

Generally, goats get to the top of the hierarchy by head butting or rearing. Usually, the queen will be big, old, may contain strong horns and have produced multiple kids. The queen is the one which leads the herd out to the pasture and guides what to be eaten.

If the new goats are added to the herd, they may be beaten up by other established goats until the new ones are established their position in the herd. Some times the younger ones challenge the queen it takes its spot, the queen has to defend. Until someone gives up and know what their place in the herd.

Most of the times the Hierarchical dominance will subside and settle down. You will have a peaceful goat herd. But there are times one Jerk goat starts to dominate over the owner. This behavior needs to be tackled, it’s not healthy behavior.

There are situations when a friendly goat turning out to be a mean goat. Owners who have raised their goat from a kid well behaved and suddenly started to be aggressive. Anytime it saw the owner it would chase and headbutt. The owner would have thought to get rid of the Goat. But understanding the goat’s behavior, the aggression in Goat can be checked.

A member of the packgoatcentral has clearly shown a step-by-step process of how goats figure out their place in the herd hierarchy and with the owner. It’s better to understand the behavior of goats and take actions well before its too late or serious. Take note of some of these steps, some may be relevant and some may not. But each goat is different most of the below steps hold good.

  • Goats not showing general respect to the owner. Consider not standing still while trimming feet or medication. Sometimes moving past your personal space by ignoring you.
  • Being pushy while feeding or trying to jump out of the pen when trying to get in. Being restless when you approach.
  • The behavior escalates when not checked, builds up confidence that it can do anything. Becomes aggressive towards other goats when you enter the pen.
  • Now the goat has advanced its tactics. After the play fighting sequence in the previous step, now it’s ready to do actual fight with you. While fighting the goat comes closer to you to check your reaction.
  • Now the goat moves closer and closer to check what your reaction can be. The posture of the goat will be changed to fight mode.
  • This is the time you need to handle the situation if it’s ignored. Then the goat starts cutting you off when you walk by turning sideways in front of you. This intentional blocking the path to making you walk around is considered rude behavior. The dominant goat will not take it from a subordinate goat.
  • Now the friendly goat has turned into a mean goat. This goat is rearing up and stomping down in your direction.
  • The goat may push you with the head or “run-by”, hitting you while it’s playing.
  • The last take is the goat is now ready to give head butts. As we have ignored all the signs it was giving us. Now the goat will think it is dominant. It will never stop this behavior unless we take action.

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Teaching Goats Manners

Teaching the goats with basic manners will eventually subside goat behavior. Few of the tricks to be enforced on the mean goats:

  1. Tie the goat for long periods of time, it should learn patience.
  2. Make sure to lift and hold their feet for some time, let it know this will be done often to administer medication.
  3. Water is best while working with goats. Have a bucket of water ready, when the goat not obeying your command or act restlessly when you enter or leave the pan use the water with the command. This will show you are in charge of the situation.
  4. For the goat which is crossing your path or blocking the way, give a head butt to their ribs. Even use the stick between its hind legs, to make it uncomfortable.
  5. The last resort is tipping the goat, hold it down for about 10 minutes. The goat should give up its struggle and surrender. Only then you have won the war and consider dominant.

Warnings will not work, deal with the problem the first time you encounter. Do now wait for the last stage.


Stress can slowly kill anyone. Goats are not different, they get easily stressed by many factors. Stress can be due to change in the Goat house, any new predators around, bringing in a new pet dog or even children approaching the pen with a loud noise.

Even if the goat is moved to a new place, it gets stressed out. Goat is a social animal, it will be comfortable only with they are in a herd.

Find out what is causing stress in Goats, because it leads to diarrhea and later to dehydration problems. Stress makes goats aggressive, restless and weak.


Goats can live around 10 to 14 years. Most of the older goats have lived their life by producing kids or milk. The goats would have been exhausted at that age. Older goats do need to care and attention when they are aggressive and mean.

As the goat’s age, the vision and hearing are affected. So if someone approaches the goat, they get scared and start to defend. The aggressive behavior is only due to their getting scared.

Older goats can be kept in separate pens, give proper vaccinations and a lot of love. As they served their prime life for you.


Anyone will lose patience when they are ill and someone causing discomfort. Even the goats behave the same. The docile goat will act mean if it’s ill.

Goats are a hardy breed, yet sometimes their health is affected. The ill goats tend to isolate from the herd, stops eating, stops drinking water and looks tired. If you go closer to that goat, it may act aggressively.

There may be a lot of reasons for the goat to get sick. Taking action by calling a veterinarian is the right choice. The illness can be contagious, where it may affect other goats in the herd. Isolate the ill goat and call the veterinarian.

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