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In Reply to: Bucky acting Doe???? posted by Karen on December 15, 2001 at 10:22:53:
Hi Karen and Linda,
What I'm finding so far about this behavior follows:
The degree of sociality of mountain goats varies throughout the year. They tend to form large groups during the winter and at salt licks in the spring, but they form smaller groups or are solitary in the summer. They are active from sunrise to mid-day and again at dusk. Mountain goats establish dominance hierarchies at a young age, by means of the kids' playing behavior. Males are dominate during the breeding season, but the non-breeding season hierarchy is quite unusual. At this time, adult females dominate, while adult males are subordinate to females and juveniles. Prior to and during the breeding season, males compete for females. They do not fight head-to-head but rather stand side by side and stab at each other's flanks. Thick skin in this area protects them from serious damage, but deaths have been reported and are usually associated with wounds to the chest, neck, or abdomen.
This is pretty much all I could find that made sense. But for good measure (and just to satisfy my curiosity) I have sent in this question to PhD John Stellflug with the USDA-ARS - his specialty is Reproductive Physiology and Endocrinology. These guys and gals at the ARS are generally pretty receptive and responsive to questions if it falls within their area of research. So I'll be sure to let you know what he writes back.
The cysts are not out the question either. I do know that not every goat owner sees this particular behavior in their herd so it very well may have something to do with that. It just seems that it may be more common in certain breeds of goats than other - and from what I am reading so far, probably more likely dairy than meat goats.
I did read too that the "natural temperate zone" has alot to do with "behaviors" in general. For example, goats that originate from the equatorial regions may exhibit one specific behavior whereas goats from the northern or southern regions won't. I know it sounds like an "easy answer" but I tend to think that goats are really no different than people (or any other animals as such for that matter). People have different behaviours based upon their own heritage and regional origins. Behaviours have always fascinated me - humans and animals alike.
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