Bonding of goats to sheep and cattle for protection from predators

TitleBonding of goats to sheep and cattle for protection from predators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsHulet, Clarence V., Anderson D.M., Smith J.N., Shupe, W. Larry, Taylor, Jr. D.A., Murray L.W.
JournalApplied Animal Behavior Science
Date Published1988

Fourteen 5-month-old mohair goats previously confined with heifers for 60 days were randomized into two groups. Group 1 was confined with two heifers for an additional 14 days. Group 2 was confined with eight previously cattle-bonded sheep and a heifer for 14 days. A third group of six non-bonded sheep and seven goats, and three heifers with calves served as a control. The three groups were randomized among three brushy range pastures averaging 190 ha and rotated whenever a goat or sheep was found dead or missing. Control goats, control lambs and Group 1 goats were observed to move independently of the cattle. Group 2 goats consistently stayed with the bonded sheep and cattle. Sheep and goats which did not stay with cattle were killed by predators starting 5 days after going to pasture. Within 10 days all goats, one lamb from the control group and six of the seven goats from Group 1 were dead, wounded or missing. Only the smallest goat in Group 2 was lost. This group was rotated among the three pastures for an additional 21 days with no further loss.