Hey friends, happy Monday! I feel like I’m still recovering from our hectic holiday schedule. Anybody else feel the same way? We had our last (belated) family Christmas party over the weekend. I’m hoping to settle back into a normal blogging schedule over these next few weeks.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or checked into the blog lately, then you’ve probably seen that we officially welcomed our new goat, Fran, to the farm! Below are some tips and tricks for introducing a goat into a new herd.
Daytime is best
Moving homes is stressful for any animal. In hopes of a smooth transition, we picked Fran up first thing in the morning. Ample daylight allowed our new goat the opportunity to explore her new environment.
Introduce in a neutral environment
When introducing a new goat into a new herd, it’s always a good idea to use a neutral environment. We decided to close off the chicken coop (so the goats couldn’t sneak in and eat chicken feed), open up the goat gate, and let the goats roam freely with a bit more neutral space.
Penny and Lucy are the sweetest and most gentle goats, but we weren’t 100% certain how they would react to a new goat. Luckily, they ran around the farm overwhelmed with excitement immediately when they saw Fran.
Fran, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as excited to meet the existing herd. She kept her distance from the goats and head butted them when they got too close. She also slowly explored her new environment in a safe manner. Fran established herself as the herd queen, but all three goats are quickly becoming best friends.
Although we can easily watch our animals from inside the house, we frequently went outside to check on everyone. Fran was used to being handled (and even spent time at a Montessori school!) We’ve been sure to give her a little extra love and attention lately.
After putting our girls to bed, we also checked on them to make sure that everyone was getting along. We’re very grateful that introducing a goat into a new herd went incredibly smooth for us.
Separate space (only if needed)
After introducing a goat into a new herd, you might want to consider sectioning off a space within your goat house during the evening. We initially considered adding a barrier within the goat house to separate Fran from the existing herd, but we decided against this option. Our girls all seemed happy and adjusted well to the transition, so we made the decision to skip it. Seeing as we have limited space, it would have been nearly impossible to 1)effectively create a barrier and 2) create a barrier that wouldn’t be destroyed by curious goats (or end up in a goat injury.)
(As a side note, we’ve used a similar method when introducing new chickens to our flock. It works great!)
If introducing a new goat to the herd doesn’t go quite as smoothly as you hoped, then creating a separation barrier could be helpful. Make sure to keep the goats within the same space so they can still see each other, but they can’t actually touch each other. Always avoid separating a goat completely. Goats are herd animals, and should never be left without another goat buddy.
Avoid creating a separation barrier unless you are certain that it’s safe and “goat proof.” Goats are naughty and will escape (or hurt themselves) on just about anything.
Do you have any other tips/tricks for introducing a goat into a new herd? Have you ever encountered any challenges with the transition?