Wednesday 30 October 2013

Social behaviour of goats eating home made bread

Its one of those W. Highland days when Mull has disappeared behind a curtain of rain, the wind is howling in the chimney, ferries have been cancelled and I'm expecting the power to go off any minute. The kitchen and the goat house are the two places to be, both are warm and comfortable. the goats are inside. There's no point in turning them out; they'd just spend the day in the field shelter, not eating and looking miserable.
Pia, Acorn and Hebe

Their greatest treat is an old heel of bread baked dry in the oven and when I give it to them their social hierarchy is immediately evident. Pia the biggest and oldest has a sense of entitlement she's there first. Acorn is number two greedy and socially ambitious. Hebe hangs back, darts in, nibbles and drops the bread, she's nervous and knows her place because she's the smallest.

The implication of this behaviour for goat keepers is that the animals need plenty of room when they are feeding and a partition of some sort like the space between feeding buckets in the picture. If they were all fed at once in a long open trough Hebe wouldn't get her fair share.

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