Goats play a lot as human kids do. Goats like to be physically and mentally stimulated with exercise and goat “carousing.” Goats love to play with balls and children’s playground equipment; of course, they headbutt each other.
Goats play by headbutting and climbing mostly. They will headbutt each other or items in the pen like balls and will try to climb almost anything you put near them. Goats may also play by trying to escape if they are not stimulated enough.
When your goats headbutt and play with each other, ensure they do not get too rough and cause any damage, as dehorned goats are at a disadvantage. Read on if you want to know how goats play and what to watch out for.
Signs Your Goats Need to Play
When it comes to regular goat play, you need to know what to look for when your goats need to play. Goats can become bored quickly if they are not stimulated mentally and physically. You must know when your goats are trying to tell you they are bored, anxious, or just plain frustrated by lack of play.
The following includes the signs you need to watch out for when it comes to your goats needing to play:
If your goats are bored, they may turn destructive. There are many things a goat will do when they are frustrated from boredom:
- Knockdown fences, leading to escapes
- Chew on posts, causing mouth injuries
- Climb onto unsafe surfaces, which leads to slips and falls
- Becoming aggressive or combative with other goats
A bored goat may also resort to bullying or antagonistic behavior that can harm other animals. They may challenge other animals, which is all about hierarchy and dominance. You must entertain your goats with toys to keep them safe and happy.
Goats are happier when they have things to play with. Look through these Goat Toys on Amazon for inventive feeders and large balls or toys for your goats.
Stress and Anxiety
A bored goat may suffer from increased levels of stress and anxiety. It can trigger health problems and lead to decreased milk production due to stress or illness. If your goat is stressed, it can also lead to poor nursing care. When goats are entertained and having fun, they get adequate exercise and have better lives.
I didn’t have a choice but to share this compilation video of goats playing:
What Are Signs of Play?
Goats enjoy moving around and getting exercise. You want to ensure that you have a fence at least four feet high. You must protect your goats by keeping them in a safe area where they cannot wander off and get hurt. You should also supervise playtime. Goat toys may not be readily available in the stores, but with a bit of creativity, you can have your DIY goat toys and activities:
Most goats are incapable of climbing trees. However, some goat species do it. The Moroccan goats like to climb trees and eat the fruit on them. They cannot graze on the land, so the trees seem to be their best bet. It is part of their nature to climb, and they climb almost anywhere they can. They do it because they like it.
Scaling the Fences
If your goats are scaling the fences, they are trying to escape. They may be either bored or just not mentally stimulated, which is also essential for goats.
The lack of mental stimulation may lead one or several of your goats to pack up their things and leave. You can prevent this by switching up different toys daily to keep them happy and challenged.
Younger goats head butt each other for several reasons:
- Release pent-up energy
- Establish dominance
- Relieve stress
- Send a warning to a rival
While head butting is an everyday occurrence in the goat world, you must ensure that your goats do not play too rough with each other. You do not want repeated headbutts with horned goats to cause any damage to the goat’s skull. Headbutting can be playful for the goats.
Goats will start to mount each other even when they are just a few days old. They are attempting to establish dominance. They are playful with this move, but it can turn ugly if you do not supervise your goats. As the goats age, mounting begins to take on a more sexual meaning.
What Can You Provide to Encourage Goat Play?
There are some things goats do to entertain themselves, and as you can see, when they are bored or stressed, they can get into mischievous ways. See below for some things you can provide to encourage your goats to play.
Basic Kids Playground Equipment
There is a lot of playground apparatus that can work as goat toys:
- Plastic slides
You can repurpose any children’s piece of exercise equipment and make it appropriate for your goats. You can create the ideal playground for your goats.
Other items can benefit a goat playground. It can lead to years of fun and excitement for them. Goats may like to play with:
- Tractor tires
You can also try putting logs on the ground as a collection of log rounds at different heights. Pallets can be screwed together to make different shapes. Big rocks are also a great idea. Old wooden tables with the legs buried to prevent tipping over may be helpful. (source)
You can do different things with each piece. For example, you can utilize a large tractor tire as a bridge and a tunnel. You could use smaller truck-sized tires that can be anchored in the ground to give the baby goats equal playtime.
Goats love to jump, and they will love a good trampoline. Your goats will bounce around on their little hooves and enjoy a good leap. They will also figure out how to bounce higher and higher. Baby goats jumping on trampolines sounds incredibly cute! Just make sure to supervise to make sure the babies are safe!
You need to give your goats different enclosures to keep them stimulated. Your goats will enjoy climbing into the wheelbarrow and looking at their little world below from up high. You can use any old wheelbarrow for this purpose; make sure it is sturdy.
Believe it or not, there are specially made inflatable balls for goats. However, a regular exercise ball will do the trick. They will love kicking, pushing, and moving it around. They will find any ball amusing, as you could also use a soccer ball and accomplish the same thing.
YUYUSO Goat Feeder Ball Toy
This item is a special goat feeding treat ball, like This Treat Ball from Amazon. You can fill it with hay and treats and give your goats something to headbutt! If your goats are penned up all day, this ball will provide countless hours of entertainment.
Old Brooms and Brushes
Goats are good at scratching themselves when molting; these supplies can help relieve themselves of a constant itch. You can nail an old brush or broom to a post or wind it into a fence. This is a toy that will be stimulating mentally and physically for them.
Piles of Sand or Dirt
A pile of sand or dirt can spark the imagination of any goat, as it is a great way to get them to sink their hooves into something. The little ones will climb the top and jump off, as the older goats will enjoy rolling around.
Goats are funny creatures. They are like human kids who require entertainment to thrive. Your goats need exercise and fun. The above are some ideas and things to watch out for when it comes to goats and playtime.