Goat Candy

Goats investigate their world with their lips. I think that’s why they have the reputation for eating everything, from laundry to tin cans. We’ve learned never to leave an open tool box within reach. They’ll mouth everything in it – but the goats don’t actually eat the screwdrivers – they just toss them about. If a cord dangles from a sweatshirt, they’ll chew on it. Shoelaces are also fair game.

Goats will taste just about anything, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll chew and swallow. I’d heard that goats like peanuts and bought a bag for the boys. Pip munched the whole peanut, crunchy shell and all. Caper tasted one and said patooie! I’m trying to train the goats, and would like to find a treat that both like that I can use for rewards. They love goat sweet feed, but I dole it out in very small quantities – you have to be careful with wethers, who are prone to urinary calculi.

One thing I’d like to have the goats do is to walk nicely on leashes. Goats are easily distracted, skittish around new things, and really don’t like to be told which way to go. It’d help if I had a reward that would keep them focused on me.

I’ve found out which food makes their tails wag with excitement. Unfortunately, it’s on the ground. Now I really can’t get them to walk on the leash. I can’t get them past the sprouting acorns. Last fall, they ignored the fallen acorns. But, this spring green shoots have cracked the nuts open. It’s like the difference between a mung bean and a salad sprout. One is hard and bitter, the other sweet and chewy. It’s goat candy.

See the acorn in Pip’s mouth?


  1. When I was young and we had goats and they got out we used candy corn to get them back in the barn. They would follow you any where if you had candy corn. But there’s that sugar problem you mentioned.

  2. I’ve been around lots of goats and I’ve noticed they seem to enjoy bitter things…like the acorns. I understand that they adore coffee beans (decaf probably is best unless you want them up all night)and also pumpkin seeds. I’d be interested to know if your boys like these things, too.

  3. Terry, I use Blue Seal Hay Stretchers for rewards with my goats. They are a nice size to carry in your pocket too. I use them to reward when clicker training my horses too.