Skip to Content

Why Do Goats Wag Their Tails?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

If you’re thinking about getting a pet goat, there’s a lot to learn about how to take care of and interact with them. Goats aren’t as expressive as a lot of other pets, and reading their emotions can be quite a challenge.

The more time you spend around goats, though, the more you’ll learn how to read certain cues to discern how they are feeling. That can make owning a goat more fun and create a bond between the two of you.

Why do goats wag their tails?

Well, goats can wag their tails as a sign of happiness or arousal. They could be signaling that they have affection for another goat or a human they are next to. On the other hand, wagging tails can also just mean that they want to get rid of swarming flies or other insects.

goat on white background

Learning why they may wag their tail and observing when they do it will help you read their mood and have a better relationship with them. Let’s learn a bit about why goats wag their tails and what it could mean.

When Baby Goats Wag Their Tails

You may be thinking that a baby goat wagging their tail while you’re around means one thing: they’re happy to see you! While this may be the case, there are evolutionary reasons why baby goats wag their tails that aren’t always the same reasons adult goats do.

When goats are born, their mothers make a mental imprint of their smell or scent. This helps them identify which kids are theirs, and which belong to another doe.

Mother goats are extremely territorial, and they will often butt away any other baby goats that come near or that try to take their food.

Baby goats wag their tails as a way to spread their scent around and let their mother know that they are part of the family.

cute white young goat on sunflower fields

When Adult Goats Wag Their Tails

When we are talking about baby goat vs. adult goat tail wagging, there’s certainly a difference. Adult goats no longer use tail wagging mainly as a way to identify themselves.

Here are some reasons why they wag their tails

To Ward Off Flies If you live in a hot or humid climate, odds are your goats have a lot of flies and insects around. They’re interested in goat droppings, and we all know where those come from.

Sexual Arousal – Female adult goats wag their tails when they are in heat and ready to mate. It’s a signal they send to male goats.

Essentially, the female is spreading her scent around and the male goats get the point. How can you tell if your adult female goat is wagging its tail because of arousal? Listen to see if they are making more noise with their mouths, and if they have a swollen vulva, you can be pretty sure it’s mating season.

three brown goats in the mountain grazing

As a Sign of Affection – Just like dogs, goats can use tail wagging as a way to show owners that they are excited to see them!

If they come plodding over with their tail wagging, you can bet that they want to be petted or played with. If you notice that they are wagging their tail faster as you approach, it’s because they are excited about some one-on-one time.

Goats can be great pets, and every year, more Americans are getting goats to have in the yard and even as indoor pets. They show emotions like dogs and can be a lot of fun to play with. They are, typically, very social and love to be around humans and other animals.