Youth Livestock Safety - 1 - Goat Safety: Take Good Care of Yourself

Meat Goat Safety

4-H Lifeskills: Managing self, solving problems, making decisions


Meat goat project members will:
  • Describe how you can be hurt while working with meat goats.
  • Recognize how work habits affect personal safety and the animals you work with.
  • Demonstrate use of appropriate personal protection equipment and clothing choices for working with meat goats at home and at shows.
  • Understand how to keep yourself and others safe at public shows.
  • Be familiar with how to include members with disabilities in goat project activities.
  • Meat Goat Safety Lesson 1: Take Good Care of Yourself

    Livestock are involved in many youth injuries every year. Because goats are small animals and tend to tame down easily their potential to cause injury may be deceptive. Young people who raise or purchase goats to show must keep in mind that regardless of size all livestock are capable of causing injury. This lesson is designed to teach best practices for personal safety when working with meat goats raised or purchased for the purpose of showing at livestock exhibitions. It should be used with other meat goat project materials.

    Safe working habits include protecting yourself, your animals, and others.

    The most common injuries from working with and showing meat goats are:

    Slips / Falls Bruises, cuts, and scrapes from being hit by a jumping goat, kicked, or stepped on Muscle and/or back strain Blisters and burns from lead ropes or chains and electrical appliances such as clippers Rare injuries from working with and showing meat goats: Breathing problems from inhaling dust, animal dander, or grooming products Serious injury – such as broken bones or puncture wounds Practice personal safety by using personal protection equipment and developing safe working habits when working with meat goats. Personal protection equipment includes: Closed-toe shoes or boots – sturdy, preferably leather with non-slip soles Gloves – Different jobs require different gloves Leather gloves protect hands from rope burns or pinches from chains while leading your meat goat at home. They also protect your hands while clipping. Latex or rubber gloves protect your hands and forearms while washing, grooming, or doctoring. Long sleeves and long pants protect your skin from being exposed to too much sunlight and dirt and dander from your meat goat. Safety glasses protect your eyes from hair clippings, dirt, and grooming products. When working in bright sunlight, try tinted safety glasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. Ear plugs protect your ears when using motorized equipment, such as the clippers or blower and when working in an enclosed area where noises are loud. Sunscreen will protect exposed skin from sun damage. Frequent hand washing with soap protects your skin whenever you work with livestock. Animals can easily spread disease to humans. Frequent contact with the animal’s hide, dander, and feces – especially from feeding, washing, and grooming tasks – creates an opportunity for disease to pass from your meat goat to you. An example is ring worm. Learn first aid and keep a first aid kit in your show box and in the barn or building where you house your meat goats.

    Do I Really Need Protection? – How You Can Be Hurt Working with Meat Goats

    The goat can be frightened and run, jump, butt, or kick. You can slip, trip, or fall over things left laying around, on a slick walkway, in a pen, or on an uneven surface (such as in sand in the show ring or uneven surfaces in the lot). You can get kicked, stepped on, butted, or tripped while leading, moving, feeding, or grooming your goat. You can get a burn from the lead rope or pinched in the links of a neck chain. You can be burned by the hot motor of clippers or blowers. Your fingers can get pinched in a gate latch; poked by a wire, the blades on the clippers, or the teeth on a scotch or curry comb. You can strain muscles in your arms, legs, or back by carrying heavy show boxes or buckets of feed. Washing and grooming can cause muscle strains from frequently repeated movements, as in the up and down, back and forth of clipping and combing.

    Try This!

    Practice safe lifting and carrying to protect your back. Here’s how:

    Stand close to object to be lifted; Spread your feet wide enough to straddle the object; Squat, bending your knees and hips; Keep your head up and your back straight; Hold in your stomach muscles; Lift using your leg muscles; Keep the load close to your body with a firm grip; Turn your feet, not your back, in the direction you are going

    Did You Know?

    Ergonomists (scientists who study work and the human body) say the three worst problems for agriculture are: full body stoop (bending forward and down from the waist, as when picking up feed bags, buckets, or show boxes); lifting/moving heavy objects (greater than 15% of body weight, i.e. feed bags, show boxes, pulling on a show animal’s lead rope); and repetitive handwork (washing and grooming).

    You are more likely to hurt your back when:

    Lifting more than 15% of your body weight Carrying a load more than 10-15 yards Use wheels to help carry loads; such as a wheeled dolly, a feed cart, a wheel barrow, or a wheeled utility cart.

    Discussion Questions

    With your project group members, discuss how you stay safe working with your meat goat.


    How did you feel the very first time you worked with your meat goat? What do you wear when feeding your goat and why? What do you wear when showing your goat and why?


    How can you be injured when working with your meat goat?

    How do you keep yourself and people helping you safe while working with your meat goat?

    Determine how much you can safely carry without hurting your back. Hint: 15 % of your body weight is the most you should lift.
    ________ X 0.15 = ______________
    Example: 100 lbs. X 0.15 = 15 pounds


    Why is protecting yourself important?

    What other activities do you participate in that require you to protect yourself and how do you protect yourself?


    How can you use what you’ve learned about personal protection to help you in other activities?

    GO ON TO GOAT SAFETY LESSON 2: Behavior Basics: Getting to Know Your Meat Goat

Handlers of goats, youth