Years of seemingly endless weed whacking has left me with a definite thought. Every ranch needs goats!
Goats are wonderful creatures. They have a natural desire to bond with humans, they are fun to be with and they all have their own particular personalities. Goats are easy keepers, sturdy and require simple health maintenance.
Goats come in all sizes, breeds and colors and are categorized in three ways: meat, milk and fiber production goats. Boer, Fainting and Pygmy goats are meat goats, while Nubian and Alpine goats are in the dairy category. Angora goats are bred for fiber production with full fleece almost hitting the ground.
Female goats are called does. Breeding males are bucks and non breeding males are wethers. Babies are called kids.
The average lifespan of a goat is 10 to 12 years. Goats can weigh anywhere from 27 to 220 pounds. The gestation period of a doe is approx 150 days, give or take a day or three. Does, on average, can give birth twice a year. ( ish )
Health maintenance for goats is quite simple. Goats require regular hoof trimming, yearly vaccinations and quarterly de-worming. That's about it!
Nutrition is also quite simple. We feed our goats alfalfa twice a day. We have an automatic waterer for a fresh supply of clean water and we also keep a mineral / salt block in the pen. In areas with adequate pasture, the hay feed can be drastically reduced and supplemented with goat ration to ensure a healthy diet.
Goats have multiple uses. The milk produced is very healthy and it makes for great cheese. Goat's milk can also be used for making soap. The winter under- coat, believe it or not, can be used for stuffing pillows. Goat meat is also considered a delicacy. And last but not least, goats will eat your weeds!
About Myotonic Goats
Myotonic / fainting goats are medium sized critters which, on average, grow to be about knee high. They are mild mannered and somewhat timid and are great around children of all ages. They can be quite affectionate, if you take the time to make it so. Pearl, one of our females, greets us at the gate every time we walk up and follows us around like a puppy. At feeding time, she gets so exited at times that she runs around jumping up a down. She's a real sweetheart!
Now for the question that everyone asks. Do they really faint ? ? ?
The answer is...no! They do not faint.
In really simple terms, Myotonic goats have a condition called Myotonia.
Fainting goats are missing the gene that keeps their muscles flexible when stressed or overly excited. We humans, get a shot of adrenolin when we exert our muscles or become overly stressed and / or excited. These critters don't get that benefit and at times, the muscles lock up and stiffen to the point, that they appear to become paralyzed. This can happen at any time. Standing still or while running at full speed.
Do they feel pain when this happens ? Again the answer is no. Other than their pride being slightly hurt, there is no pain. The muscles stiffen up only for a few seconds, then things slowly loosen up again and off they go. I've seen them roll down hills, fall off large wire spools and just flat out keel over. They just seem to shake it off and go about their merry way. The "experienced" fainter will feel it coming and maintain balance by bouncing around like the old pogo stick.
This is one interesting critter!
If you go to Youtube.com. Type in fainter goats. You will see plenty of videos of them in action.
As mentioned, on all of our other pages. Give us a call, send us an e-mail or drop in for a visit if you have any questions. All the info is on our contact page.