The Natural Lives of Goats and Their Kids

Dairy Goat Journal Preview Story from the March/April 2017 Issue

The Natural Lives of Goats and Their Kids
Despite thousands of years of domestication, goats still retain most of their natural behavior when learning, exploring and socializing. I expect you’ve noticed how a dam leaves her kids asleep in a safe place while she feeds, then as they grow they follow her around or, if handraised, try to follow you as much as they can. This is because goats are naturally a hider species, which means that the mother leaves them hidden in the undergrowth between feeds until they are old enough to keep up with her. For the first few days of life, kids need rest, warmth, and milk. Mother, on the other hand, needs nutrition. She balances their needs with hers by ensuring that they are hidden before she goes off to browse, returning periodically to suckle them. How does she find them in the undergrowth? Individual recognition is established by smell at birth, and a

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