Ever Wondered Why Your Goat Wags Its Tail?

When you see your dog wagging their tail, it’s easy to see how happy they are! 

However, what does it mean when goats wag their tails? 

Goats use tail wagging for a variety of reasons. Like dogs, it can denote delight or excitement. On the contrary, goats may wag their tails when they’re scared, upset, or, in adult female goats, it’s even a sign the goat is in heat.

With such a wide array of meanings, decoding your goat’s behavior can seem confusing. 

Keep reading, and we’ll look at some of the most common reasons your goats are wagging their tails.

when goats wag their tails

Why Do Goats Wag Their Tails?

There are quite a few reasons any type of goat might start wagging its tail. 

Remember, goats are fairly social creatures, so they have many different ways to communicate. 

Wagging their tail can indicate a strong emotion or a method of communication to you as a caretaker or even another goat! 

Happier Goats

For one, like many other animals, it could come from happiness. 

For instance, if you come outside and your pet goat prances over with a wagging tail, they’re probably excited to see you! 

What they want can vary, whether it’s attention or just to be nearby. 

Similarly, some goats may wag their tails when they see other goats they like in the herd.

Sometime they even lick!

Check out more in our article on why goats lick.  

Excited Goats

Aside from happier goats, you might notice your goats wagging their tails when they’re excited. 

You’ll probably see this when there’s an immediate cause. 

For example, if your goats are hungry, you might notice them wagging their tails when you come out to feed them or when they see you walking over with their food. 

Signs of Heat

If you have female goats, you might notice your goat wagging her tail when in heat. 

This is usually accompanied by other signs of heat, such as your goat sounding more vocal. 

The female adult goat will wag her tail to signal that she’s interested in mating to bucks. 

Working double-duty, this action also helps spread the goat’s scent. 

Fear or Other Upset

We mentioned before goats may wag their tails when they’re happy. 

Interestingly, this isn’t the only strong emotion to warrant this behavior. 

If your goats are nervous, afraid, or experiencing another strong negative emotion, you might notice them wagging their tails again.

To Ward Off Insects

Especially in warm and humid environments, insects tend to herd toward livestock and their waste. 

If you’re experiencing a pesky swarm, your goat may wag their tail to brush the insects away. 

This is a behavior exhibited in a lot of other livestock, such as horses and cows. 

During Nursing

Interestingly enough, you might notice your female goats wagging their tails while they nurse. 

The effort relieves discomfort for the mother while helping the baby nurse. 

Similarly, you might notice your baby goats wagging their tails while they nurse. 

After all, who isn’t happy or excited to get a bit of dinner when they’re hungry? 

How to Tell Why a Goat is Wagging Their Tail

With so many reasons why a goat might wag its tail, it can seem challenging, at first glance, to figure out the cause. 

The good news is it’s not as hard as it seems. 

The important thing is to pay attention to other signs of your goat’s current state. 

For instance, as we noted earlier, goats in heat may wag their tails. 

In addition, you’ll notice other signs, such as increased vocalizations. 

Similarly, you’ll be able to tell if your goat is wagging their tail for another reason by other associated signs. 

If your goat is scared, it may wag its tail, but it’s often accompanied by signs such as a sudden refusal to move. 

If your goat is happy, you’ll still see a wagging tail. 

Learn more about how goats show affection in our article.

However, check out the animal’s ears. 

When your goat has its ears perked and pointing forward, it’s a good sign your goat is pleased at the moment. 

The key to figuring out why your goat is wagging its tail is to take careful note of its overall body language. 

Why Do Younger Goats Wag Their Tails? 

Adult goat tail wagging and kid tail wagging share many of the same causes. 

Baby goats may wag their tails when they’re happy, excited, upset, afraid, or bothered by bugs.

Related: Can you put flea collars on goats?

However, you won’t notice baby goats in heat since the goats need to mature first. 

Still, you might see a baby goat using its tail to spread its scent. 

This occurs for a few different reasons. 

For one, mother goats use their scent to identify and find their kids, so spreading the kid’s scent helps make this easier. 

Additionally, while goats are rather social animals, they don’t like to see their kids feeding off other goats. 

So, baby goats’ scents often come with possessiveness among the herd if you have multiple goats. 

What Does It Mean When a Goat’s Tail Is Up?

If you notice your goat is skipping along with its tail up but not wagging, it’s a really good sign!

Healthy goats tend to have perked ears and tall tails. 

A high tail is an indicator your goat is happy and healthy. 

On the contrary, if you notice your goat has a drooping tail and dipped ears, it’s a good idea to take a moment to assess and figure out what’s wrong.

A big concern is taking your goat to a vet to get checked out if this behavior persists. 

Goats may let their ears and tails droop when they’re unwell. 

Why Do Goats Wag Their Tails When They Eat? 

As we mentioned before, goats wag their tails when they’re happy or excited. 

Like many other animals, dinnertime can cause excitement or happiness among your goats.  

As we’ve covered, your goats may express this excitement and happiness by wagging their tails. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?



Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through Farmpertise.com, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

Advertiser Disclosure

We are reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. To be 100% clear, you should assume that we will earn a commission on any product you purchase after clicking on links or images on this website.

Our affiliate partners include but are not limited to Amazon.com.

In addition, we generate revenue through advertisements within the body of the articles you read on our site.

Although we only recommend products that we feel are of the best quality (which we may or may not have personal experience with) and represent value for money, you should be aware that our opinions can differ.

A product we like and recommend may not be suitable for your unique goals. So always be sure to do your due diligence on any product before you purchase it.