Goats are amazing animals. Goats are tough and versatile and have more uses than you could ever imagine. Goats can survive and thrive just about anywhere. A goat is a hoofed mammal in the genus ‘Capra’. Most goats are referred to as ‘domestic goats which are sub-species of the ‘wild goat’.
Altogether there are nine species of goat in the world, however, the domestic goat is the most common. Goats are ‘bovids’ and are members of the family ‘bovidae’ and ‘caprins’ which are sub-species of the sub-family ‘caprinae’.
Like cows and giraffes, goats are ruminant animals which means they chew cud. Ruminants have a four-chambered stomach which plays a vital role in digesting, regurgitating and re-digesting their food. Goats are herbivores (plant-eaters) who spend most of the day grazing. Goats eat grass, herbs, tree leaves and other plant material. Goats swallow their food without chewing it much. Later, they regurgitate the food (then called a cud) and chew it thoroughly before swallowing it for the last time.
A male goat is called a buck or billy, and a female is called a doe or nanny. Young goats are called kids.
Just like sheep, goats are considered to be the ‘first domesticated animal’. The domestication process began over 10,000 years ago in a North Iranian town called Sangsar. The initial reasons for domesticating goats was to have easy access to goat hair, meat and milk. Goat skins were also used up until the Middle Ages for making bottles out of to hold water and wine for people who were traveling or camping.
Goats are extremely curious and intelligent. Goats are easily house trained and you can teach them to pull carts and walk on leads. Goats are also known for escaping their pens. If you have unsecured fencing, be warned your goats will be inquisitive and test it out and soon you will know where the gaps are. Goats are very coordinated and can climb and hold their balance in the most awkward places. Goats are also widely known for their ability to climb trees, although the tree generally has to be at a slight angle.If goats are raised correctly and disciplined from an early age, they never develop any bad habits. Goats will butt each other, this is quite natural and normal as they develop an order of dominance in the herd. However if corrected from an early age they never butt humans or other animals.
Click on the mountain goat below.