Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dollar Store Collars

Bon Bon wearing a dollar store collar. She's just given birth to Jadzia (right) and Curzon (left).

Have you ever wanted to collar your goats for leading or identification purposes but hesitate because they might get their collars snagged on a fence or tree limb and hang themselves? Here is a good, safe solution and it costs but pennies: use el cheapo dog collars from the dollar store.

Choose dollar store dog collars with flimsy plastic buckles like the one in the picture. These break or pop open under pressure but are strong enough for leading (but not tying) purposes. Since they cost a dollar it isn't a huge loss if they break. We like these even better than the plastic link neck chains from Hoeggers that we rate as a close second best.

If you want to tie your goat, perhaps to bathe or clip her, don't use these collars! They'll break under pressure every time. Instead, buy the same type of collar from a pet store. The plastic closures on better quality collars are much sturdier than dollar store collars and they'll hold if your goat pulls back. It's important, however, to switch back to the dollar store collar when you're finished because collars with heavier fittings usually don't break or release if a goat gets caught on something, as goats often do.

Here's another way we use these handy collars. Our Bon Bon family consists of our brown Nubian doe, Earthsong Cinnamon Bon Bon, two litters of her offspring, and her daughter Jadzia's two sons. Of these eight goats, six are black with very similar markings. When we worm or give shots it can be hard knowing which of six look-alike goats milling around us have been wormed and vaccinated and which haven't. So we collar each goat with a blue dollar store collar as we handle it and remove all the collars when we're done.

Warning: don't collar young kids unless you're with them, such as for leading lessons, because they don't always weigh enough to break the fittings of even flimsy dollar store collars.

Adjust collars so they fit close to your goat's neck but aren't tight. Don't leave a loop so your goat gets easily caught on things or another goat gets her leg or horn through the loop. The collars we use on adult goats are 5/8" wide and adjust from 14-20". To launder them simply swish the collars in soapy water, rinse well and air dry.
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  1. What do you think about those fabric martingale collars? I think they are popular for greyhounds. I'm still trying to leash train the pygmy goats and I'm so afraid about tugging on their little necks even a little. I was considering fabric or nylon dog harnesses, but the goats still have a lot of filling out to do so I'd have to keep buying new sizes.

    1. I use those on several of our dogs. They'd be great for training (in fact, better than regular collars) but not full-time use because I'm afraid the loop part could easily snag on things. Also, I don't think dollar stores carry el cheapo martingale collars and the fittings on better quality collars don't readily break.