I can't tell you how many times I've been asked how I get my goats so friendly. The answer is ridiculously simple. I spend time with them. Not even tons of time but a good bit of time. I have the time spent when MiniMe milks and I go in the pen and when I milk she sits in the pen. Every nice day I make a point to go sit in the doe and kid pen for a bit. I usually stay way longer than I planned, because the cuteness is off the charts!
We just sit in the kids normal area and let them approach us. This never takes long for a few reasons 1) the does are always there and waiting to get scratched 2) kids are insanely curious! MiniMe allows them to jump on her and bounce off her lap or back and never tries to grab them so they get attached to her pretty quickly. I deter jumping by standing instead of sitting or bringing a chair so they can only jump on my lap. When they must be caught I usually wait until they are laying around and scratch them for a bit and then scoop them up.
When kids are around two or three months we teach them not to jump on us anymore. A firm "down" with a raised knee or blocking arm works very well. We never raise our voice or hit at the kids. They wouldn't understand and last thing we want to do is break their trust, especially those few timid kids. We also teach them to walk with us and lead nicely. MiniMe does most of this as she shows. We start by simply leading them with their dams from the night pen to the pasture in the morning and back again at night. Kids learn very quickly and after a few tantrums that don't change anything they learn to lead well.
Our kids grow up happy and healthy but almost more importantly, with a great fondness for us and an easy way with people as well as excellent manners. When I sell a doe she knows the routine and what to expect at feed time, milk time, and how to behave herself when being worked with. There is a great demand for good milk does and good manners go a long way. It's one more step in guaranteeing her a long and happy life with no sale barns or meat buyers on her horizon!
MiniMe, the Kid Whisperer!
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