Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lambs Are Driving Me Crazy

I will say it out loud.....THE LAMBS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY. I have always been very sound sensitive. As a little girl my hands were over my ears at any hint of a loud noise and although I don't have my hands over my ears now I am still super sensitive to noise.
These lambs are noisy. They are screaming at me constantly when I am down at the farm. It has been about 10 days since their last bottle and it hasn't gotten any better. I expected them to have a bit of an adjustment period but this is getting on my nerves. Even with their mouths full of hay they are maaaaaaaaaing at me.
And it's loud!
My bottle goats have been friendly and love to be handled. The bottle lambs are still a bit wild even though as I fed them their bottle I touched them all over. They are hard to catch and hate to be petted. I am thinking I'm not a sheep person. There are dog people and cat people and I am noticing that there are goat people and sheep people.
I'm a goatgirl!

Any advice?

14 comments:

Holly said...

yep, what would you do as a clicker trainer? Not reward that behavior.

find what they want

require quiet to get it.

Esther Garvi said...

Not sure I am a lamb person either! Now how do you clicker train a lamb?! Has anyone tried clicker training a goat?

goatgirl said...

Holly, I know what they want...a bottle and they aren't going to get that no matter how quiet they are. The sight of me triggers that response in them. They are quiet when they don't see me but as I work around the farm they see me move and they start in. I don't think a clicker would work in this instance. I am trying to ignore the undesirable behavior so it extinguishes. With that method the behavior gets worse before it gets better but some behaviors are so ingrained and part of the hardwiring that it is difficult. The sheep farmer that I got them from said that the white one was the noisiest lamb she had ever had. I should have not taken her after hearing that. I don't know if I really want to figure them out because I am finding I am not a sheep person.

Esther, Clicker training is basically the same idea no matter what you use it on whether it be fish or child...yes child. I once clicker trained a group of first graders to sit still.
I have seen a clicker trained lamb and I'm sure that a goat would also respond.

Lisa T. said...

A clicker trained goat? Really? My goats are more "Git the heck out of that!", slap on the butt, tug on the collar, tackle and topple trained.

It's ok that you're not a sheep person. I almost got into an argument with a little hippie girl at the whole food store last month over Sheep v. Goats. She was pro-sheep and anti-goat. I'm sure there are some lovely sheep out there, they are so cute and all, but me? Well I like me some goats.

Perhaps it's time that the little dears find a sheep-loving momma who will love them without going crazy. You have given them a very nice start. Then just chalk it up to a very valuable lesson learned.

Good luck...
Smiles,
Lisa

goatgirl said...

Lisa, I got a chuckle out of your comment because that's pretty much how things go around here with my goats. I took your advice this morning and sold the little white lamb. I have another gal that wants the other two but just finding a good home for the loud mouth one has brought peace back to the farm.
Lesson learned.

Holly said...

well never mind then....

I was going to comment on your extinguish reply but you already fixed it!

goatgirl said...

No Holly I want to hear what you have to say....
I used to train all the time and wanted to train but I just don't really want to anymore. I used to train dogs every day and teach classes and work with a 4H group but now I am lazy. I have really gotten rusty. I am the kind of trainer that does really well with teaching obedience exercises and preventing problems...I'm not so good with behavior problems once they are here.
So yes the noisy lamb is gone but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you have to say.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I'm sorry, Wendy. Bye Lucy...
I heard from a lady over the weekend that she had sheep first, couldn't connect with them ("They'd sooner die than come to me or have me touch them"), sold them, purchased Nigerian Dwarf goats and has been in love ever since. But it's true, some people are sheep people, others are goat people. There's a reason your name is goatgirl, right? :-)
And what wise commenters you have on this post...I hope the conversation continues...

Holly said...

alrighty then, if that lamb had been here, and I had not already shipped it somewhere else, I'd train it like I do crate screamer foster dogs. I'd have the bottle of milk, and quiet (even a sucked in breath of quiet) would be marked, and *one suck* on the bottle would be given. Any hysterical bleating or baaing would get the bottle behind my back (out of sight).

OR....I would wean them little by little. Giving less milk every other day till there was no more.

but if I wanted to train it away, I'd use the crate screaming training (it would just be w/o a crate!).

goatgirl said...

Oh man Holly where were you about 15 years ago? I had a Flat Coated Retriever that I couldn't crate train. He was a screamer. That was before I was clicker training. I could have used this on him! That dog needed Prozac. I always said that it was a good thing we had him or he would have gone through 5homes. He was my son's 4H dog and a good 4H dog he was.

I did gradually take the bottle away over about 2 weeks but it didn't help. She would holler every time she'd see me even with her mouth full of hay. So now she has 6 grandkids to play with her and maybe someday I will see her in a live Nativity.

So what would you do for a miniature horse that doesn't want to be caught? With the clicker? I have been then making him keep moving until he gives up and stands to be haltered. Is that right?

Wrensong Farm said...

bottle fed babies....I personally learned my lesson with Nubian babies!! They could scream too!! My neighbor called worried I had a wildcat down at my barn!! :)

goatgirl said...

wrensong, I know! Noisy bottle babies....and Nubians are known to be a noisy breed of goat to boot..hahaha what a combo.

Help me though I saw some darling Jacob babies on craigslist. I am forbidden to look on craigslist. I have taken it off my favorites!
But Jacob babies...have you seen them??? All those spots?? Only kidding!

Holly said...

"So what would you do for a miniature horse that doesn't want to be caught? With the clicker? I have been then making him keep moving until he gives up and stands to be haltered. Is that right?"

I have found that +R only doesn't work so well with equines. You need some -R too. So I would do that, but every time he allowed me to catch him I'd pop up with a very special treat too. I'm working with a gelding right now that is difficult to catch. I'll let you know how it goes.

goatgirl said...

OK thanks Holly. Keep me posted.