Need some advice on goat prospects.
Hi Folks.  I'm new to the forum but have been dabbling into goat packing for over a year now.  My family picked up 3 bottle fed Alpines this spring and have loved every second of them.  They all have around 50 mountain miles on them and have been on several multi night camps and have done so well.  About 2 weeks ago, our oldest boy severely broke his upper femur (freak accident) right at the ball.  The vet gave us no hope for him so very reluctantly, we put him down.  My family (and especially my daughter who claimed the goat as her own) was devastated. So now it's almost fall with very few young goats available and we feel like we need to replace this boy fairly soon. I found a couple of possible prospects but I'm unsure if the bad traits from them can be corrected. The first goat is a three-month-old oberhasli. We actually went and checked this guy out and he looked fantastic. Great lines fairly good-sized for his age and the right age. Not super friendly and not bottle-fed but okay. We could approach him and pet him but he didnt act like our goats (who think they are lap dogs).  We just about pulled the trigger on this guy until we saw one of the owners children grab both horns and start pulling. The goat responded by trying to hook the little boy and then later trying to hook one of my girls who just tried to pet his head. We walked away at that point, u sure if this behavior could be corrected. The next goat is a 10 week old Alpine that lives far enough away for me to drive and view firsthand. Great looking little guy from the pictures but has not been handled and has been dam raised so far. Sounds like it is fairly skittish around people. Any chance that this guy could be bottle-fed from this point for about a month and expected to be bonded with our human family? I'm just really struggling at this point. I'd love to get my daughter a goat to fill her void but our prospects aren't great. Do we just wait til spring when we have better options and can bottle feed from the start? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks goat friends.
Hello and welcome! I'm so sorry about your daughter's goat. That's heartbreaking.

I've not heard many success stories of people moving a dam-raised kid that age to a bottle. It has been done, but expect to put a lot of time and effort into it. At ten weeks, he's practically old enough to wean, so it shouldn't hurt him if he refuses to take a bottle at this point. I think you could still bond with him over other food such as grain. He may never be as "lap doggy" as a bottle kid, but there's no reason he can't still learn to trust you and bond with you, especially if your daughter took him on as her special project. I've found that training goats to do tricks can be a great way to bond with them and teach them to trust you. However, you'll want to spend some time with the goat and find out just how skittish he really is and whether that's something you want to work with.

It's too bad about the Oberhasli. He's been traumatized by having his horns grabbed by the kid so naturally he's defensive. I'm pretty sure his reactive behavior could be trained out with gentle and respectful handling, but he might always be a goat for grown-ups, not children.

Where are you located? Maybe someone on here could point you in the right direction. You're right that most breeders have already weaned and sold off their kids by now, but there may be a few oddballs out there like me who breed late in the season and wean their dam-raised kids in late summer/early fall. Not all dam-raised kids are skittish. If the breeder takes the time to handle them, the kids should be friendly and people-oriented just like bottle kids. I dam-raise my kids because I think it's healthier for both them and their mothers, but all that time I don't spend preparing and feeding bottles is instead spent playing with the kids and socializing them so they aren't skittish around people.

Best of luck!
Hi Nanno. Thanks for the advice. I'm in Northern Utah and my 3 boys came from Dwite Sharpe in Kansas. Amazing bloodlines for sure. I'm really hesitant to pick up another boy from an unknown, and I think after your advice I may just wait and get on Dwite waiting list for next spring. It's just a little difficult for my 9 year old to understand why we should wait. Hopefully we can find a sweet boy that will fit the bill for our family. They're sure fun when they think you are their family. We're glad to be part of this great goat community. Thanks again for the comment.
Of course, the drawback to getting a little guy next year is that your two older ones are going to beat the snot out of him. Yearlings are usually brutal and your current two will be fast friends with no desire to add a third (not to mention they'll be jealous). It seems like nothing is ever perfect, so you kind of have to figure out what drawbacks you can live with and work from there.
Yeah, I wondered about that too. I guess I'll keep looking and hope something good pops up. Thanks again for the help.
I will add a comment to the 2 older goats getting a younger goat. I had trio of a pair of 7 yr olds and 9 year old. I had to put down one of the 7 year old leaving the 2 goats that had never like each other. A very pushy alpha and the subordinate. Being the only 2 left they tolerated each other. I adopted one of Dwite's babies in 2015. From the minute these 2 goats met this baby at the Island Park Rendy and everyday after they were inseparable. If I moved this baby out of sight these usually quiet Obers would holler until I brought him back. I set up a kid pen and all the convinces a single baby goat could need. He never slept in the pen but did eat in there. He would eat out of their bowls, walk under them, sleep on top of them, and literally pull hay out their mouths and never once have ever witnessed any aggression toward him.

It was the strangest thing. At 3 months old on a back pack trip we were rushed by 2 dogs. I was out ahead a ways and could only scream at the dogs drop my pack and run at them.  My 2 older goats stood rib to rib facing the rushing dogs with that baby goat squeezed between them. I picked up a few rocks and a big stick, I scared the dogs and gave the owner quiet an ear full. 
The picture is last year with Dwites goat, Blazer, at 1 year old with Cruzer at age 8.

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Older goats are completely different from yearlings in the way they treat youngsters. After they reach maturity, most goats seem to accept youngsters willingly and will even adopt and protect them as Nancy saw in her herd. My old goat Cuzco, mean and ornery as he was, believed it was his sworn duty to protect babies even if he didn't like them. Yearlings, on the other hand, are a whole other ball of wax. In my experience, yearlings are the meanest, most brutal goats on the planet when it comes to how they treat their subordinates. Bringing in a single baby works better if you have an established pecking order with mature goats on top. The mature goats tend to keep the yearlings in line and allow the babies to reach food and shelter. In the absence of older goats, I would suggest getting two babies next spring and making sure they have access to their own space where the yearlings can't get to them. Sometimes you can put them in a separate pen and cut a hole in the fence that is small enough for your kids to pass through but too small for the yearlings. That way the babies can mingle with the older goats on their own terms and escape if the older goats get too bossy. The most brutal fights are usually over food and shelter, so as long as the kids can escape to their own place to eat and sleep, the older goats may not see them as such a threat.

I wouldn't give up on the idea of finding a weanling this year just yet. It would probably be easier than trying to introduce a bottle kid next spring. Keep your eyes open. You never know what you might find. Occasionally it's the unlikely goat that just needs a loving home who ends up being the best purchase you ever made. Wink
Got it! I'm combing the countryside as we speak. Hoping to find one (or maybe 2) cute little guys to add to the herd this fall. No luck yet, but I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep trying.
(08-24-2017, 01:29 PM)Boardergirl Wrote: Got it!  I'm combing the countryside  as we speak.  Hoping to find one (or maybe 2) cute  little guys to add to the herd this fall.  No luck yet, but I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep trying.

FYI in boise
Jimr! These guys look great! Thanks for the link. I'll give them a call tonight!

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