AND OTHER SPECIAL SENSES
have prominent eyes, a panoramic field of
320°–340° and a binocular vision of 20°–60°. Tests
have been done on male goats to determine their
capacity for colour vision and they have been found to
distinguish yellow, orange, blue, violet and green from
grey shades of similar brightness (Buchenauer and
Fritsch, 1980). They have a well-developed sense of
smell and a new food is investigated by sniffing it.
ORGANISATION, DOMINANCE AND LEADERSHIP
In a herd
of feral goats it is a large male that is dominant
and maintains discipline and coherence of the flock
(Mackenzie, 1980). He leads the group but shares leadership
on a foraging expedition with an old she-goat
(flock queen), who will normally outlast a succession of
is a rank symbol and can designate dominance
without combat. It has been suggested that
scent urination, a ritual where a male goat urinates on
his beard, is an indicator of rank and physical condition.
O'Brien (1981) has reviewed some aspects of social
organisation and behaviour in the feral goat, including
the importance of olfactory communication.
Agonistic encounters can be "non-contact" threat
which includes staring, a horn-threat with chin down and
horns forward, rush or rear as a challenge threat.
agonistic encounters include pushing the forehead
against another goat, butting (in which interactants
engage horns), and the rear-clash, which is a high intensity
groups, the group size and composition is
highly variable and unstable. Family groups may include
a dominant male, and a small number of adult females
and their offspring. Males form large bachelor herds
during non-breeding periods.
almost impossible to drive goats and when danger
approaches, goats scatter and face the enemy,
depending for safety on agility and manoeuvring
behaviour is highly developed. The female
stands rigid in a typical nursing posture with ears
towards the source of alarm. This stimulates the young
to run to the female. She may snort loudly several times
to alert other goats. Depending on the source of alarm,
the group may either take flight, move away slowly or
return to previous activities.
Leadership. Early work (Stewart and Scott, 1947)
showed that leadership orders did not seem to be related
to age or dominance. Donaldson et al. (1967) found
milking order was consistent, and that there was a
correlation between entrance order and
tests the urine of the female and performs
flehmen. He then approaches the female with a slight
crouch, head slightly extended, horns back and ears
forward, the tail vertical and often with the tongue
extended (Coblentz, 1974). The female either remains
still as the male approaches or begins to move away
depending on her state of receptivity. If she is receptive
the male does the ‘rush-grumble’, where he rushes
towards the female and vocalises. He then nuzzles her
flank, back and anogenital area with his tongue extended.
female signals her willingness to copulate
by standing still with her head lowered
and tail to the side.
few minutes after parturition the mother begins
actively licking and grooming the kid. This not only
cleans the kid but probably provides cues for neonate
recognition by mother. These cues are a complex interplay
of vocal, visual, olfactory and gustatory stimuli. The
maternal–offspring bond is very individually specific and
the female aggressively rejects the suckling attempts of
goats hide the neonate to prevent attack by a
predator. This is similar to cattle behaviour, but the
young of the sheep are followers.
Buchenauer von, D. and Fritsch, B. 1980. Zum
Farbsehverm6gen von Hausziegen (Capra hircus L.). Z.
B.E. 1974. Ecology, Behaviour and Range
Relationships of the Feral Goat. Ph.D. thesis. University
of Michigan, Michigan.
Donaldson, S.L., Albright, J.L., Black, W.C., Ross, M.A.
and Barth, K.M. 1967. Relationship between entrance
order and social dominance in dairy goats. Am. Zool.
D. 1980. Goat Husbandry. 4th Edition.
Revised and edited by Jean Laing. p.66-85. Faber and
Faber, London and Boston.
P. 1981. Some aspects of social Organisation
and behaviour in the feral goat, Capra hircus L.: A
review. University of Queensland, Psychology Dept.,
J.C. and Scott, J.P. 1947. Lack of correlation
between leadership and dominance relationships in a
herd of goats. J. Comparative Physiological Psychology