Thursday, May 31, 2007

From the archives- Goats get a bad rap

I originally had a blog on FunTrivia, where I am an editor and site administrator. FunTrivia will soon be discontinuing its blogs, and these are some that I wanted to keep for posterity.

Goats get a bad rap- Originally published Feb. 26, 2006

What do you know about goats?

This little charmer is Foxcroft Strawberry Fields

Well, your thoughts probably contain at least a few of the following adjectives- stinky, stubborn, mean, voracious, stupid.

This is "Miss Kitty," our herd queen

I happen to live, right now, with thirteen goats- that number will increase greatly in a few weeks, when the spring kids start arriving! I have eleven Nigerian Dwarf Goats, miniature milkgoats with personality aplenty- and two Angora goats, the woolly critters that most people mistake for sheep. So I know a bit about goats.

They don't stink
(well, at least most of them...)
Female goats and neutered males have no bad odors- far less than a sweaty horse or wet dog. The males- the bucks- are the culprits. During breeding season, they douse themselves with urine and musk... aphrodisiacal to the does, pretty repulsive to us.

They aren't mean
Well-raised and treated goats are gentle and easy to handle. Mean goats are made that way- by mistreatment, or by roughhousing with young kids (never teach a kid a headbutting game- it's cute when they weigh 4 pounds, but not when they weigh 100!)

They don't eat everything
Far from it. They are fussy critters. No barnyard animal is pickier about hay, for example, than a goat. They'll pick the leaves off the alfalfa and discard the stems, refuse hay that's fallen on the ground, and otherwise behave like spoiled kids...well, they are spoiled kids!

Molly, one of my herd's foundation goats
They aren't stubborn or stupid
In fact, goats are smarter than any other livestock, except for pigs. Any thought of stupidity will disappear as soon as you see a goat patiently working at lifting the chain off of the gate latch so she can let everyone out for a party! As for stubborn...if you can convince a goat that what's good for you is what she wants, they are very trainable- goats are often used as packing and carting animals.

So that's the goat lesson for today...hope you learned something!

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