As every goat farmer knows, goat harnesses are very handy. However, while it may seem like it, not just every harness is suitable for your goat. To get the best out of your livestock, the appropriate goat harnesses must be used to avoid damage or injuries to the goat.
You should keep a lookout for the correct goat harness and study its various methods of use so that you and your goat can enjoy a very long-lasting and productive partnership.
Leashes, tethers, and upended ropes are some of the types of harnesses observed to be common among goat farmers. However, these seemingly cheaper and more available tools negatively impact the development and well-being of your animals.
It’s also important to know that there are different types of goat harnesses for different activities. This article is going to provide information about the right kind of harness for your goat and how to put them to use for farming or taking your goat out for a walk. If you’re looking for a complete goat starter guide we also have a great article and resource as well.
Our previously used goat harness pictured above.
How To Use A Goat Harness
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Use A Goat Harness
- 2 Tips On Teaching Your Goat To Go On Walks
- 3 Harness vs Collar
- 4 Gearing Up Your Goat For Farming
- 5 Harnesses Specifically For Your Goat
- 6 Our Favorite Goat Halters
To use a goat harness, these tips are important:
1. Choose The Right Harness
As stated earlier, there are different types of harnesses that are necessitated by different purposes and their peculiarities. If you want to use your goat to pull carts or wagons when working on your farm, to drive it around while also being able to carry the cart or wagon about, there is a goat harness for it.
Therefore, the very first step in the right use of a goat harness is choosing the right one. This can make the whole difference.
2. Brush Up The Goat’s Skin
While this is a necessary affectionate action to get the goat ready to start the harness wearing and any job intended, it is also a very important precautionary and preparatory measure to ensure there are no bumps or hitches on its skin that can irritate it while wearing the harness.
This is necessary because irritation is a major bane for goats. When irritated it becomes increasingly difficult for them to follow instructions and to work as trained.
3. Ensure that the harness is over the goat’s ear
Some amateur farmers do not care where their harness lands on their goat’s face. While putting a harness on a goat, it is important to note where the harness is resting on. Care should be taken that the harness does not ruffle their ears nor drag over their eyes.
Strapping either their eyes, eyes or mouth will impede the goat causing it discomfort. It may even cause severe injuries.
4. Pull The Harness Taut
Examine for slackness, and make sure to slide the fibers taut over the rings to put each strip firmly in the place it is meant to be. For a cart or wagon drawing goat, this is specifically important.
A wagon pulling goat may tread up a hill with a load or run down a steep one with it, therefore, its harness must be pulled up taut. Failure to spot slacks and tighten them might cost the goat its health depending on the task and deprive the owner of his or her desired returns.
5. Never Pull The Harness Straight Back
This can be very dangerous. When a farmer is pulling a goat either on a harness or tied with a halter, it is advised that if you want to change the direction of the animal, that you do so in small arcs instead of yanking the rope or harness straight back.
The sudden neck-twist might get the goat slightly disoriented for a moment. Nevertheless, the real danger is in the diverse effects those brutal twists may cause in the medium and long run. In some cases, they may be spontaneous.
Tips On Teaching Your Goat To Go On Walks
These tips can make your walks infinitely more fulfilling:
Always use a very comfortable halter
Take your time to look for the halter that will suit the goat to a comfortable degree. You will not want your goat to not enjoy or even hate his lesson. The halter you are using on it is irritating him or strangulating him. This might make him never really love your idea of walking.
Find the halter that blends with his head and jawline and use it on him.
Never allow the goat to lead you
Goats like to lead. If you let them have their way they will try to turn the head and drag you towards the direction they want to go. That is why, especially on the first walk, you allow it to throw tantrums, twist and turn rebelliously, then resolutely try to make it walk normally again.
Walk a few steps then pull on the halter.
When trying to teach a goat how to walk, there are simple methods that greatly improve the process that is often overlooked by farmers. When you drag the goat on from the leash right on from the instant, it gives a start that this is violence and it reacts accordingly.
However, if you nudge it first from behind, allow it to take a few steps first before pulling from the leash, it makes the whole process a whole lot smoother.
Only stop a few steps after the goat has stopped.
Here the second tip also comes into play. You have to make it known that there is still more to come. Therefore, you have to add a few steps after it has stopped. This also gives you the edge as it will make the leash grow tighter from your end so that whenever you resume the walk it will have to be you leading and not allowing it to deviate.
Increase the number of steps only gradually as the lesson progress
At first, a goat that has never undergone any training may be able to move three to four steps, except in exceptional cases. However, you don’t have to rush it. To teach a goat how to go on a walk, you will need to have patience in bulk, training a goat requires patience and not a little of it.
Therefore, you have to exercise patience as you make progress from the baby steps to a trained goat that can go on a walk.
Offer rewards intermittently
Goats love rewards and praise, therefore make sure to give it to them whenever they achieve or accomplish a task. They love lovely pats on the back and hair brushing. This can even create bonding as scientists recently claimed and it will aid you immensely in getting the best out of your goat.
Therefore, after a few steps into the process, or reaching a certain destination, it is recommended that you reward your goat as this will go a long way to spur it on to walk for you.
Once every five steps, widen its legs to assume the proper walking posture
Once every few steps, make sure to stop leaning back and widen his legs so that it will always assume a correct walking posture. In addition to this, touching their legs and hooves makes them grow accustomed to the fact that it is okay to touch their legs and hooves without the instinctive kicking following.
Make the walk a routine and a consistent part of your schedule
It is necessary to continue the process till the goat has mastered going on a walk. If the training is erratic, the goat may never come around to grasp the whole etiquettes of going on a walk. Therefore, a schedule should be drawn to ensure this.
How To Protect Yourself On A Goat Walk
Goats ordinarily are aggressive, therefore here are a few tips to bear in mind to protect yourself when taking a goat on a walk.
Always make sure the head is up
If it lowers its head make sure to always pull it up. This is because most times when a goat lowers its head, it is preparing to charge. It is no longer comfortable with being led around.
Trim the hooves
The hooves are powerful protective instruments that goats possess. It is advisable to trim your goat’s hooves before commencing training. This is so that danger can be avoided when you are trying to position your goat’s legs right during work.
When leading goats to territories unfamiliar to them, you must become alert as goats always become tense when in an unfamiliar surrounding and can become violent without any warnings.
Harness vs Collar
These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of harnesses and collars
Pros of a Harness
- It spreads the pressure to other parts of the goat. It does not concentrate pressure on the neck region as the collar does.
- A harness allows for more comfort on the goats’ part. It does not apply pressure on the goat, if it stops, wriggles, and wants to be physical. It controls the limits of the animal gently.
- A harness helps not to give the goat the impression that it is being pulled or dragged. This makes the goat more obedient and less violent.
Cons Of A Harness
- It is generally complicated. Harnesses are complicated. Strapping and buckling in many places makes it a time-consuming process.
- May take time for the goat to get used to a harness. Some goats take to harnesses more than others. However, it takes a longer time for a goat to get used to a harness than a collar.
Pros of a Collar
- Easy to wear. Slipping the collar over the neck of the animal is not a big deal. It’s way faster than fastening and strapping a harness around a goat.
- Comfortable for non-violent goats. It is easier to use if the goat in question is a meek type and doesn’t pull and trash often like a violent dog.
Cons of A Collar
- Collars apply a lot of pressure on the neck of the goat. This can affect the windpipe of the animal wearing it and may cause serious injuries if it is a violent type. That is why it is advised that a baby goat harness is to be used for all baby goats if need be.
- It is a generally unpopular option for goats. For one thing, goats are more comfortable with a harness than with a collar when they get used to it. So, it might pay more to help your goat get used to a harness than hang a collar around its neck.
Gearing Up Your Goat For Farming
To prepare your goats for the farming experience, there are key things that must not be left out or the experience will turn out abysmal.
- First, you must allow the goats to mature. At least the goat must be two years before being introduced to the farm.
- Secondly, you must teach your goats how to go on walks. If the goat can’t walk properly, it will be harder for them to pull a cart or be a pack goat.
- Moreover, they are supposed to have been open to affection. A goat that is open to affection and understands gestures more will be more efficient than one which isn’t. Let them create a bond with you, it will help them and also help you.
Harnesses Specifically For Your Goat
When it comes to wagon carrying, some harnesses suit different types of goats and the kind of wagons they can carry.
It is not hard for a goat farmer to find a harness suitable for his or her goats when he looks for it. Even baby goat harnesses are also out there in the market and online. It is a matter of choice.
Goat harness is not a million-dollar commodity in the market, it is relatively affordable and easy to learn how to use. Depending on the level and type of harness that is needed, price and availability may vary depending on the region. Meanwhile, the need for a goat harness is deciphered by the nature of the particular goat and the form of use it will be put into. This implies that it is not the same harness that a goat meant to pull carts will wear with a goat that is ready to go for a walk.
Also, the size and shape of a goat are considered when manufacturing a harness, therefore, you should take into account the nature of the goat, its size, and body shape.
This also means that it is not advisable to use a dog’s harness on a goat. This is because the general shape of a dog and a goat varies in certain aspects, therefore, a dog’s harness on a goat might not fit correctly or cause irritations to the goat on which it is used thereby leading to an overall bad experience.
Our Favorite Goat Halters
The Weaver Leather Goat Multipurpose Halter cum Harness is one of the best harnesses livestock farmers can get.
Easy to adjust, the Weaver Leather Goat Halter can be used in teaching your goat how to go on a walk and also draw a wagon.
Despite what some farmers may consider a bunch of tangled straps, the Multipurpose Weaver Leather Goat Halter is made to be superbly gentle on the goat wearing it.
There is a reason we chose it as our favorite goat harness. It is because no other harness suits the small, the big, and the temperamental goats like the Weaver.
Like everything else, the best product for you is that which suits your needs the most within the limit of your pocket.
Some halters are like a noose. If your goats are violent, this type of halter might do it for you. It clips around their jaws and holds them firmly to avoid snooping out from the leash.
There are also collars available. Collars will be more gentle and snug on the goat. But like earlier said, they may be more threatening to the trachea and windpipe of the goat.
However, collars also suit some goats better when they go on a walk, mostly those of a specific breed.
That is why when choosing a halter, the nature of the goat must be first considered before anything. Consider his previous behavioral traits and tendency to go rebellious.
Can You Use A Dog Harness On A Goat?
It is not advisable. Though some do try it, it is not remotely the ideal or right thing to do. While a dog and a goat may look alike in the sense of shape and size, there are key differences in their physiques that make it unsuitable to inter-user harness between them.
A dog’s chest area and streamlined body are different from that of a goat, therefore, a harness that might appear snug and cozy on a dog will most times ultimately be slacking or killing the goat while wearing it.
For instance, a pack goat that is meant to carry burdens will lose its efficiency and comfort if arranged with a dog harness.
You should only use a dog harness for your goat if you can add a butt strap to the harness. Also, tighten or readjust the front straps to hug your goat in the right way.
Can Goats Pull A Wagon?
Yes. Goats can pull a wagon. Though the load a goat can carry is dependent on the size and strength of the specific goat. In other words, a six-month-old goat will not carry the same level of load a mature two-year-old will carry.
Moreover, different breeds of goats possess different degrees of natural strength. For example, a small Swiss Alpine goat might never possess the same amount of strength as the Wild Boer, even if they are the same age.
For pack goats, most times a wagon is not needed. Pack goat harness is most common and more appropriate when utilizing pack goats.
However, there is a rule of the thumb when it comes to fixing a wagon to a goat. Before fixing a load to a goat, check the goat’s weight and then multiply it by two. This will give you the approximate weight you may allow the goat to carry, this includes the wagon.
Therefore, in full answer to the question, a goat can draw a wagon or cart, but with strict limits.
Do Goats Wear Halters?
Yes. Goats wear halters. Goats need halters when they are led.
A harness can do, so also, a halter. Sometimes, it depends on the personality of the goat, for a goat will not pull and try to extricate itself often. A halter might be a wonderful alternative to a harness.
There are halters designed for goats, and they are wonderful when used correctly on them.