If you’re new to raising goats, you may be wondering how to go about halter-breaking them. Breaking a goat refers to the process of teaching them to accept a halter and lead. This is an important skill for goats, as it allows them to be safely handled and transported.
This is necessary if you plan to harness or pack your goat. It is also helpful for exercising dairy goats.
The training should begin before the goat kid is weaned, ideally even before it can wear a halter. Older animals may find it difficult and even dangerous to learn how to walk with a halter on.
It’s a necessary step if you want to be able to take your goat for walks or tie them up.
Here’s a brief overview of how to halter break a goat:
- First, you’ll need to purchase a goat halter and lead. You can find these at most farm supply stores.
- Once you have your supplies, put the halter on your goat.
- Ensure that the goat’s neck is properly fitted with the halter. Let them be comfortable with it.
- Then, pick up the lead and give a gentle tug. If your goat resists, continue to hold the lead and try again in a few minutes.
- With patience, your goat will eventually learn to follow the lead.
1. Start with a goat that is comfortable being handled
Pick a goat that is comfortable being handled. It is easier to halter break a goat that is used to being touched and doesn’t mind being restrained.
If you have a baby goat, it may be easier to wait until it is a little older and more comfortable with you before attempting to halter break it. However, you can also pick adult goats, but it can be hard and may require more people to help.
2. Introduce the halter slowly
When you are ready to start the halter-breaking process, slowly introduce the halter to your goat.
Let them sniff it and get used to it before putting it on. Once the halter is on, don’t try to do too much too soon. Just let them get used to the feeling of wearing it.
Gradually increase the amount of time they wear it each day until they are comfortable wearing it for longer periods of time.
After your goat is accustomed to the chain, teach it to walk on it. It should fit snugly under the goat’s jaw. As soon as your goat learns to walk, you can start teaching it to stand squarely on the chain.
Making sure the goat’s halter fits snugly around its mouth and ears is the first step to preventing escape.
Once it’s familiar with the halter, it’s time to tie it up. Tie its head so it cannot move and put it in a comfortable position.
A loose belt increases the chance of being injured by hooks, branches, self-caught scratches, etc.
However, it shouldn’t be too tight. Muzzles and nosebands should have a two-finger gap. You should check the goat’s collar often to make sure it is still in proper condition and the right size.
3. Allow the goat to Be Comfortable With The halter
Allow the goat to get used to the halter by putting it on for short periods of time at first. Let them wear it around the house or in their pasture. As they get more used to it, you can leave it on for longer periods of time.
You may begin teaching the goat to lead after a week of getting used to the halter. Others may require extra encouragement, while some goats may come naturally to this behavior.
4. Begin leading the goat with the halter
There are a few different methods you can use to halter break a goat. The most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your training.
One method is to start by putting the halter on the goat’s head and letting them get used to the feeling. Once they seem comfortable, you can begin leading them around with the halter.
The best way to get your animal to brace is to push into it rather than pull on it, according to Bounds. It is better to press into the goat’s chest rather than pull on its neck to get a stronger brace.
Another method is to tie the goat’s lead rope to a solid object, such as a fence post. This will give them some resistance to pull against as they learn to lead.
Whichever method you choose, the key is to take your time and be patient. Goats are intelligent animals and will eventually learn to accept the halter and lead.
5. Desensitize the goat to new environments
The process of halter breaking a goat can be made much easier if the animal is first desensitized to new environments.
This can be done by slowly introducing the goat to new surroundings, such as taking it on walks in different areas or letting it explore a new pasture.
Each time the goat is exposed to a new environment, it should be allowed to spend some time acclimating to the new surroundings before being moved to another area.
Start by walking your goat on a leash around your property. Then, try walking them on different surfaces, such as grass, dirt, gravel, and pavement.
Pay attention to how your goat reacts to each surface. If they seem uncomfortable, go back to walking on a surface that they’re more familiar with.
6. Reward the goat for good behavior
When you’re halter breaking a goat, it’s important to reward them for good behavior. This will help them to associate the halter with something positive, and make it more likely that they’ll cooperate with you.
Once they realize retreating won’t relieve tension, acknowledge their progress and praise them.
You may gradually increase your forward progress pace as they become accustomed to the lead/pressure. When you apply pressure, they will follow you forward! Feed them a snack as a favor.
One way to do this is to give them a treat when they first start wearing the halter. This could be a piece of fruit, a handful of grain, or even just a few scratches behind the ears. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something they really enjoy.
Whenever they resist, stop, hold your position, and maintain your hand on the halter until they go one step forward. Start with a bonus. Teaching kids won’t take too many tries.
Tips on halter train goats
Halter-breaking a goat is not difficult, but it does require patience and consistency. You will need to work with your goat every day, for at least a few minutes, until they are comfortable with the halter.
Once they are used to the halter, you can start working on leading them around and teaching them basic commands. With time and patience, you will have a well-trained goat that is a pleasure to be around.