Are Goats Always Loud and Noisy?
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
. There is a reason that Screaming Goat Videos have gone Viral – it can be a bit surprising to hear these odd noises if you have never heard the sound before. The quick answer to our Title Question is - No - Most Goats are generally a quiet animal.
So what is behind these various behaviors?
A Goats “bleat” is the English term for the normal call a goat makes, it is a means of communication. A Dog has a "bark" and a Goat has a "bleat".
Goats may bleat to express impatience, or as a way of calling to one another when they are scared or even when they are bored.
Also - just as humans have individualized ranges in their vocalizations, so do goats.
Some goats may have a louder bleat than others, and this can sound similar to a human screaming or yelling. Lets explore some Common Reasons for Bleating / and or Screaming.
Goats can be Loud when their Hormones Fluctuate
Female Hormones -- Female goats who are in heat will often bleat, or scream, while trying to get the attention of a male goat. Likewise, male goats will scream when around a female that is in heat, especially if he is penned away from her. The more sexually frustrated they become, the louder they will call out to each other. This generally will last for up to 3 days, when the heat cycle ends for the female, or until the couple has completed the mating process, (whichever comes first)
Male Hormones - A Male Goat, during courtship will have a Huge variety of high, low, and singing sounds, accompanied by spitting and a stomp of one of his front legs.
(they also pee on their own face -- but we can talk more about that in a different post)
It is quite comical, and his shenanigans do work to get her full attention.
Pregnancy Hormones - Just as being in heat, or being around a female in heat, may cause goats to scream – so do the hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy. A female goat may begin bleating more frequently and much more softly after she becomes pregnant, and many theorize this is her way of communicating with her pre-born baby.
Goats Bleat To Express their Impatience / Usually Food !
Food - You may hear your goat bleating when they are feeling impatient – especially when feeling impatient for food. Just as your dog will whine when it is dinner time, goats get excited to eat too! If they have seen you come out to the Feeding Shed or Barn to do the regular feeding time routine, their impatience will show in vocal sounds as their excitement rises towards the feeding ritual.
Routines - Goats are highly intelligent, and they will know when it is feeding time. As feeding time approaches, they will likely head to the fence and call for you – yelling to make sure you don’t forget. If you are late feeding them, their polite calls may become louder, making their impatience and frustration known. Goats live to eat, and it is not easy to ignore a hungry goat. If your goats are bleating in anticipation of feeding time, the most effective way to curb this behavior is to have as regular a feeding time as possible. Choose a time of day that will allow you to be as consistent as possible and try to stick to it - 7 days a week.
Baby Goats - It’s also important to note that a bleating kid could make these vocalizations when they are hungry. If you have a kid goat that constantly seems to be screaming, it can be a sign that their mother is not allowing them to nurse.
Goats Scream To Call To One Another
Separation Anxiety - Goats will not be ok alone. Goats are social animals, and will become stressed out when they are isolated from the herd. When they are separated, they will bleat to call for one another.
There are thought to be two different types of bleating when a goat is isolated. One is a frequent bleating or yelling that is used to maintain contact with their herd. This is used when they are separated physically, but can still hear one another. They will bleat back and forth to maintain contact.
The second type of bleating is when they are isolated and cannot maintain contact with their herd. They may become distressed and will bleat at high-pitched levels, essentially screaming, as they attempt to reach their herd.
Mother to Babies - You may also hear a mother yelling for her baby, or vice versa. Mothers and babies do not like to be separated, and will become distressed when isolated from one another.
Herd Animals Need Each Other - You really can’t keep goats from communicating with one another, however you will be able to reduce the loud bleating if your herd feels safe and comfortable. Our Herd stays very quiet most all the time, but we keep them together or at least within visual sight of each other.
Keep multiple goats together as much as you can. If you are a small homesteader, make sure you have a herd of at least four goats. They do best in multiples of two. This way if you have to separate one for medical or other reasons, everyone has a friend, Even a fence between them is better for reducing their stress of isolation than complete solitary confinement.
Goats Scream When In Pain If you notice your goat bleating with unusual frequency or volume, it would be a good idea to give him a quick head to toe health check. If a goat is in pain, either due to an injury or illness, he may bleat loudly. If this is the case, you can assume that your goat is feeling quite poorly – as prey animals, goats will attempt to hide their pain or discomfort so as to make themselves appear less vulnerable. If your goat is in so much pain that he is screaming, it is likely time to call in the vet.
Goats Scream To Express Emotions Goats will also bleat when they are excited, scared, or if they are experiencing social issues. When a goat is startled, they will often bleat out of fear. This is not only used to express their surprise and distress, but to alert their fellow herd mates that there may be an imminent threat. This puts the rest of the herd on high alert.
Goats may also bleat with excitement, and not only at the prospect of getting a treat. Goats may also bleat for attention and affection when you come outside, or they may bleat to express their joy at seeing another member of their herd who was previously isolated. We had a goat that would scream at us anytime anyone walked out of the house. I believe that the goat was simply happy to see us!
Goats may also bleat if there are problems within the herd. If your goat is bleating more frequently than usual, and you cannot pinpoint the cause, try spending some time watching the herd and how they interact. The bleating goat may be the victim of bullying and while goats can usually work out their social hierarchies themselves, your intervention may be necessary if the bullying becomes a danger to the goat or is excessive.
Do All Goat Breeds Scream? All goats communicate by bleating, and especially loud or quiet goats can come from any breed. However, there are some generalizations that can be made.
Nubian goats are considered to be a particularly vocal and loud breed, and if you are concerned about screaming (or loud bleating), you may want to look into a different breed.
On the other end of the spectrum, Boer goats are generally known to be a quieter breed. They still bleat, but often their bleating is quieter and less frequent. Of course, these are only generalizations and you may certainly end up with a loud Boer or a quiet Nubian.
A Normal Behavior For Goats Bleating is a goat’s way of communicating and is usually not cause for concern. If your goat is bleating more frequently or more loudly than normal however, you will want to give her a once over to make sure she is feeling okay, and check her environment. A consistent feeding schedule and limited stress may help with excessive bleating as well.