Q: I have an older gelding and 2 goats. They get along very well and are good companions. My problem is that the goats are eating the geldings tail hair. I have tried two different sprays, but the goats continue. I'm wondering if there is something else I could do?
A: First of all, evaluate the goat's diet and make sure it is not deficient in vitamins or minerals. Goats are browsers by nature and need to keep their mouths and minds busy. If you cannot, or do not want to, separate the animals, consider options, both homemade and commercial, that will make the horse's tail taste bad.
Homemade options include a mixture of dish soap and water, Vaseline and cayenne pepper, or Listerine. Hot pepper and Listerine should not be applied to or near the skin, just to the tail hairs that are within the goat's reach. Use gloves when mixing and applying the remedy. Commercial options include "Bitter Apple", "McNasty", or a foul smelling/tasting conditioner.
There are no guarantees that any of these remedies will work. If you do find something that works, persistence and continued application will probably be needed to continue to deter the goats.
By Christie Ward, DVM and Julie Wilson, DVM, University of Minnesota
The information given is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by University of Minnesota Extension is implied.