Imagine being a prey animal: always alert to potential predators, ready to react immediately to any sign of danger. In the wild, danger can lurk around any corner, so prey animals must frequently go on high alert.

Goats are prey animals. Vigilance and reactivity are part of their nature. One might think that these traits aren’t necessary in a fenced in goat yard, but think again. There is a lot of “nature” around. Hawks can be seen on chimneys and telephone poles, waiting for an opportunity to strike. (In fact, hawks stole a couple of chickens before we covered their yard with netting.) In the soil, mud, and snow we find tracks from other predators, such as coyotes.

As Queen of our goat herd, Ionia’s job is to keep a watchful eye out for danger and react as needed to protect her herd. If you observe her carefully, you will notice when she goes on alert: she focuses intently on the potential danger, adopts an alert stance, and communicates nonverbally in a way that brings the rest of the herd in formation behind her. She is stressed, and lets her guard down only when sure that danger has passed.

What does this have to do with dogs?

Dogs, small and large, are predators. In fact, attacks by dogs – including mild-mannered pets – represent one of the biggest health threats to goats. Domesticated dogs have been known to decimate entire herds of goats.

Therefore, even if your dog is small, sweet, and outside the fenced yard, Ionia and the kids will perceive him or her to be a potential threat. We don’t want to bring this type of stress to our goats when they are in their own home. So, for the comfort of everyone, we ask that you not bring dogs to the LexFarm Goat Yard.

We and our goats thank you!