Goat (Capra hircus)

Neonatal Behavior

Kids usually begin nursing within the first two hours following birth. They butt the udder of their dam to initiate the milk letdown.

Play Behavior

Play is a behavior exhibited in neonates and juveniles. It allows kids to develop muscling, coordination, social skills, and to practice important behaviors such as fleeing, and agonistic behavior in an environment where errors are not fatal.

Aggression/Dominance Behavior

Aggression is physical hostility used to determine which goats will gain access to limited resources first. It may be in the form of a head butt, a bite, a kick, or any other form of physical hostility a goat can produce to deter another goat from getting the resource it wants. Dominance is determined as a result of aggression. A dominant animal is one that physically competes with another for resources or status and wins; it has subordinates.

Ritualized Dominance

Goats use ritualized dominance to avoid constant aggression to reestablish dominance. It is passive threats (such as a lowered head to warn of a head butt, or a vocalization) after initial dominance has been established.  This is an evolutionary mechanism to conserve energy that would be wasted fighting over food or water resources. Hierarchy is a position in the chain of command that is established by aggression and maintained through ritualized dominance. Not all goats in the hierarchy will fight one another, just those that are close in rank to attempt to overtake a rival. Size, age, and sex, are variables that tend to determine dominance. Goats also will use avoidance to minimize confrontation. Avoidance is simply maintaining a certain distance from a dominant goat, or immediately deferring when confronted.