Ever heard a strange sound come from a goat and wondered what that was? Just like humans, goats – and baby goats – can cry, and they’re certainly not shy about doing it. Their cries are undoubtedly loud for a reason: it’s their way of communicating with the herd and you. There are many reasons as to why baby goats might cry, nine of the eleven-plus reasons kids cry include:
- Being hungry
- Feeling lonely
- Getting cold or wet
- Having an injury or feeling sick
- Adjusting to a new environment
- Not being sufficiently mentally stimulated
- Darn kid genetics
- Tension in the herd
- Addiction to grains or treats
Taking care of a baby goat can be straightforward if you take the time to understand them and their habits. They may cry, but it doesn’t always mean it’s a bad sign. Whenever you’re unsure about anything, especially if you’re new to owning a baby goat, remember to consult a veterinarian. Keep reading to know more about why your baby goat is crying and what to do when it does.
What is a Crying Baby Goat Like?
If you’ve never heard a crying goat, you’ll be in for quite the shock! The correct terminology for a goat’s cry or scream is actually referred to as bleating. When adult goats are bleating, it almost resembles a grown man’s scream. On the other hand, baby goats can sound like children screaming. When you’re not expecting it, their screams can be quite the scary sound, regardless of their pitch and volume.
Take a look at this video on YouTube, which gives you an idea of what baby goats sound like.
Aren’t they just so stinking adorable? And yes – goat kids can start walking within moments of birth. When they’re active at an early age, they’re bound to need attention, whether it’s getting fed or being treated if it’s unwell. And this is where their cries will come in! So let’s talk more about why kids cry.
Why Do Baby Goats Cry?
When animals cry, it’s generally not a positive sign. Most of the time, it’s their way of communicating with you. While a baby goat’s cry can be attributed to the fact that it’s a growing infant, it’s still within good reason to check and find out why they’re doing it. This is especially important if they seem to do it constantly. If the baby goat is accompanied by its mother, there shouldn’t be a reason as to why it’s crying. Call the vet immediately to find out what’s wrong.
If the baby goat is without its mother by its side, there would be several reasons as to why it’s crying. Below are some potential reasons that could be making it cry.
Reason #1: Lonely goat kids cry
Sometimes, all they want is some company. Goats are extremely social animals that need interaction with one another or with human companionships. If it isn’t in a herd, it will bond with its owner. When this is the case, you’ll need to fulfill its social needs. Otherwise, consider getting a second goat to keep it company.
If it cries only when it sees you, it could be a sign of them talking to you. If it’s alone, spend time with it when you come to give some food or give it a good grooming. You can even check in on them in small chunks throughout the day, which lets them know they’re not by themselves.
Reason #2: Hungry kids call for food
Baby goats need to eat often and babies love having goat milk. If the mother isn’t around, consider bottle feeding it. In addition to this, your baby goat will need to have other resources like food and water. A hungry goat will make sure you’ll know its hungry by making lots of loud noises until you get it the food and water it needs.
Reason #3: The wrong diet can cause an upset tummy (or worse)
Proper nutrition is important to keep health problems at bay. It’s important to know how much milk or grain to give them, as too much can cause problems like scours, which is a type of baby goat diarrhea. Scours occurs mostly in baby goats, as they are just starting to adjust to solid food.
It’s a good time to monitor their diet at this age to avoid problems in the future. If you’re in doubt about your feeding methods, consult a veterinarian who is able to guide you.
Reason #4: Cold and/or wet kids will cry for attention
Baby goats can be sensitive to the cold, and there have been some cases of baby goat hypothermia. When this happens, it could be fatal and you will want to make sure it doesn’t by keeping their shelter warm.
Joybilee Farm has a thorough explanation of what to do if your baby goat has a case of hypothermia, which includes bathing them in warm water (source).
If your baby goat is shivering, it can also mean that the kid is dehydrated and needs to replenish its fluids. Milk and electrolytes will be your best friend. Oh – and serve them warm. Because seriously – let’s warm up the cute little kids.
Reason #5: Sickness will make kids cry
Like us, a sick baby goat will want to let others know that it doesn’t feel well. If your baby goat is normally quiet and is now abnormally crying, it could potentially be injured or ill. When this happens, thoroughly check it for signs of injury and sickness. Keep in mind, though, that a sick baby goat can be seen as more quiet than usual (or lethargic) or unwilling to eat. In general, you should always call the vet if your animal is behaving different or odd, but especially so in this case.
Reason #6: Kids cry when in a new environment
Did you just bring a baby goat home? It’s always uncomfortable for an animal in its first few days in a new environment. It just takes time to adjust and this can take from a few months or two up to a year or so. A younger goat can also take a longer time to mature.
This is doubly true if your kid is not only in a new environment, but is also newly separated from mom. Because now it not only has to deal with being in a new place, but also being lonely, scared, and not having momma goat there with them. They may also be missing siblings. So make sure your goat always has a herd.
Pro tip: ideally, you only bring new goats into your herd in pairs or small groups. That way, new goats won’t get bullied. But don’t bring in a whole new herd that’ll overwhelm the existing herd of goats. Otherwise, it’ll be chaos for a bit until the herds mix and figure out who’s in charge (besides you, of course).
Reason #7: Bored kids need something to do
Similar to other pets like dogs, goats will need to be entertained every so often. When they’re bored or not mentally stimulated, they can whine to get your attention. It helps to have pasture or toys around to keep them busy on their own, until you can come around to give them walks.
But seriously. Give those goat babies something to do. Because if they’re bored enough, they’ll just cry for a playmate all day. Or if they get really bored… then they’re gonna scream. So let’s talk about screaming.
Why Do Baby Goats Scream?
Yelling and crying for baby goats is not unusual and they will do so for plenty of reasons. For instance, goats can scream when they’re expected to get fed – especially when they see their friend getting fed before them. While this is one example that’s bound to happen, below are some more reasons as to why your baby goat may be screaming.
Reason #8: Some kids are born to be noisy
Let’s get this one reason out of the way – some breeds of goats are simply born to be louder and more vocal than others. Before owning a goat, it could be useful to find out what breed they are, especially if you don’t want to have a loud goat as part of your herd.
For example, I’ve heard that Nubian goats are known to be louder, while Boer goats are quieter.
We had Nigerian dwarf goats. When our goats wanted attention (usually to be milked and get grain), their small size didn’t affect their vocalization skills. Goats can be noisy!
Reason #9: Addicted to the good stuff (grain)
Grain is simply a delicious part of your goats’ diet and it’s no surprise that they love it. However, grain can become addicting for goats and it shouldn’t be had too often.
That being said, hay quality can diminish in the winter, which can result in you relying on grain to feed your goats. Be prepared that when they finish their portion of grains, they have the potential to scream for more.
That’s why we keep our grains away from the goat feeding station. That way, when they’re done they’re done. And they can’t sneak into the stash when our backs are turned.
Reason #10: Kids are trying to communicate
Goats of all ages will scream to communicate to one another, as well as you – the owner. They will scream to tell you that they don’t like getting their hooves trimmed or to let you know they’re hungry.
Baby goats may scream for their mother if she’s not around and goats, in general, can scream to let each other know where they are. They’ll also communicate other things, though much of what we think they’re communicating may be total conjecture on our parts. Yes, I pretend to talk for my animals. I totally did that even before Frozen made it even cooler. And yes, the animals have their own accents. 🙂
Reason #11: Kids scream when there’s discord in the herd
Goats can bleat when there’s tension between other goats in the herd. While baby goats are still too young to make any enemies, there’s still a possibility that they don’t get along with another goat in the herd. A general uncomfortable feeling is enough to make a goat scream.
How To Stop a Baby Goat from Crying
Having a crying and whining goat all day and night long may not give you the best reactions from neighbors. Once you’ve established why your goats may be crying, here are some tips to keep them quiet.
Tip #1: Implement a routine
A strict routine teaches them to understand when feeding and watering times are. This way, they’ll know exactly what time you’ll come and won’t make a fuss at any other times in the day. Unfortunately, it won’t be pretty if you do stray away from the routine.
So stick to the routine. Trust me.
Tip #2: Be firm – and don’t always cave
When you’ve established a routine, and know exactly when they’ll make a fuss, you know they’re fine and just want a little attention. Unless it’s feeding time, you don’t have to tend to them every time they throw fit.
When you do give in, the goats will very quickly learn that creating a ruckus will summon you to them. It’s fine to ignore their screams as long as their needs are being met.
We like having a camera installed specifically so we can check in on the goats remotely – so that we don’t reinforce the bad screaming habits. But then if there is a problem? We’ll know, thanks to the video camera system.
Tip #3: Give your goats some treats
Treats are a great tool to train animals as positive reinforcement. When given to them in moderation and in accordance to their strict routine, treats can help them to stop crying.
Choosing when you give them treats depends on you and your schedule, but make it something your goats look forward to. Try to avoid giving them treats as a solution to stop them from crying, as they’ll think that it’s the only way to get them.
Instead, find a time when your goats are quiet. Then give them the treats as a reward for good behavior. Goats are smart. They’ll figure it out – that good behavior gets the goodies.
Tip #4: Encourage exercise
After a long walk or hike, your baby goat will come back home tired and fulfilled. They’ll want to rest up and won’t have time to whine! A walk several times a week can do the job, but if you’re more time-restricted, keep them active with toys.
Seriously. Collar and leash train your goats and take them on a walk. It’s a blast.
Now, if you aren’t a fan of taking your goats on a hike, you can still encourage them to get exercise. Just set up a fun obstacle course in their paddocks and pastures. That way, they’ll have things to do – and keep active. This will help your kids stay active, get exhausted, and not scream.
Tip #5: Put on training collars
Training collars are a hot and iffy topic. I know. But if you’ve exhausted all other options and they’re still crying? Then it’s time to try something a little bit more.
You can try putting on training or e-collars on your goat. If you’re not sure, consult a trainer on how to put them on effectively. These collars work by releasing vibrations around the collar, which often works in keeping them quiet. Depending on how stubborn your goat is, this could be an effective solution.
Just make sure you’re only using these training collars when your goat is being actively monitored and that you’re using them appropriately. Always consult the manual. And if you need to talk to your vet about collars they recommend? That’s a legit reason for a consult with a veterinarian in my book.
What You Shouldn’t Do to Stop the Crying
Hearing screams from your baby goats can do your head in. Especially if you have small children and you think it’s them screaming.
Sometimes, the above tips may not work and your goats could be having a bad day. However, it pays to be patient, especially in the early stages when you get to train them.
Regardless of their stubbornness, never resort to violence when trying to stop the crying. Lashing out on your goat will only make them afraid of you. This can also cause other issues, but more importantly, they’ll still continue to be just as noisy!
You should also never withhold feed and/or water from noisy goats. Hungry goats get noisier and more likely to attempt daring escapes to get food. Even kids will go crazy to get food. So don’t withhold food or water.
At the end of the day, you will know your baby goat better than anyone else. By spending time with them day in and day out, you’ll be able to gauge whether their cries are a call for help or if they just can’t wait for their next meal. It’s best to recognize early on that goats will bleat from time to time, and figuring out their habits will be useful to know in the long run.
Should you be concerned or unsure about what their cries mean, make sure to consult with your veterinarian, as they’ll be able to give you some ideas and peace of mind.
In the meantime, though, make sure you check out our goats on YouTube. Clover and Katana are amazing – and you’re sure to love them. Even if they were noisy stinkers for the first few weeks when we got them. Be sure to give them a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel.
Cite this article as: “11 Reasons Baby Goats Cry – and What To Do!” Backyard Homestead HQ, 3 June 2021, backyardhomesteadhq.com/11-reasons-baby-goats-cry-and-what-to-do/.