Despite popular belief, goats can get attached to humans and develop genuine affection for their owners and caretakers. This is true even of wild mountain goats that may start following people around, though there’s not much chance of them licking you.
Goats May Lick You To Show Affection
One way that goats show affection is by licking and grooming. We can see this in the way that goats act toward each other. They will often lick and groom one another as an act of trust, kindness, and love. So there’s a strong possibility that your goat is licking you because it likes you. However, that’s not the only reason, as we will soon see.
So how do you know if that’s the reason why it’s licking you? Apart from licking you, goats also show affection in the following ways:
- Staring into your eyes. This is not a clear sign on its own, but if it accompanies some of the others, it’s definitely affection.
- They will rub against you to get you to pet them.
- They may bleat when they see you.
- They will try to play with you.
- They will follow you and stay with you for the most part.
If more than one or two of these are true of your goat, you can safely assume it’s showing you affection by licking you. Return that affection by petting and stroking the goat, but be warned that it could lead to even more licking.
Goats May Lick You For Salt And Minerals
Goats need plenty of salt and other minerals in their diets. In their natural habitats, they can get these by licking different rocks and stones, so it’s an instinct for them to lick areas with a salty taste, like human skin.
It’s crucial to provide your goats with plenty of loose minerals, but you can also satisfy this licking need by placing a pink salt block somewhere in their pen. They should go and lick the block several times per day.
Another great trick is holding some Himalayan rock salt in your hand for the goat to lick as you pet it. Goats love this double treat, which can often be a great way to get a goat to accept and even like you.
However, even when you do all of this, there’s still a chance that the goat will continue to lick you apart from simply showing affection. This is normal and actually very common, as many goats will start to see you as their preferred source of salt and minerals, especially at the end of a sweltering day in the sun. Sweat is an excellent source of salt and minerals, after all.
Goats Lick To Explore And Discover
Their tongues are critical to goats. Much of their communication and sensing happens by licking people, other goats, or objects.
You can see this when you place something new in a goat’s pen. The goat may spend hours walking around the new object and licking every inch of it, often poking it to flip it around and then licking it again. It’s how they get to know their environment and explore new things.
A goat may simply be licking you to get to know you, and it comes instinctively to them.
Should I Let My Goat Lick Me?
It’s up to you, as no harm should come from your goat licking you, except in a few isolated cases:
- Don’t let your goat lick you if you are covered in a substance that might be harmful to goats, like medicinal chemicals.
- Don’t let goats lick you if you have open wounds, as this is dangerous not only for you but also for the goat.
- Goats have very coarse and rough tongues, so their licks can get irritating. People who are ticklish or have sensitive skin might like it even less. Goat licks were even used as a torture mechanism in the past. If you find the licking unbearable or irritating, you may prefer to discourage them from doing it.
- You may be allergic. It’s not extremely common, but some people are allergic to the proteins in a goat’s skin cells and spit. You shouldn’t let the goat lick you if that’s the case.