Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Few Goat Myths - Busted

1. Goats will eat anything. Definitely not. They are, in fact, quite finicky. They don’t like food that’s touched the ground. They pick through their hay, plucking out the leafy soft bits and leaving mountains of stalks and stems. They spurn green grass in favour of stripping the bark from our cedar hedge. A new bag of goat chow with a slightly different taste will result in five noses turned disdainfully to the sky and a dish full of uneaten kibble. Apparently, though, even the foulest tasting anti-chew sprays will not deter a goat who is determined to have a drink of her own milk.

2. Goats smell bad. Not true. Well, billy goats have a distinctive and quite unpleasant odour. But wethers (neutered goats) and nanny goats don’t smell at all. Like any livestock, as long as their pens are kept clean, their living accommodations don’t smell either.

3. Goats are stubborn. This one kind of depends on what it is you are expecting your goat to do. A well-trained goat is actually pretty amenable to all kinds of things – hopping up on the milking stand, pulling a cart, enjoying a belly rub. An unruly goat whose feet you need to trim is nothing short of insane. An annoyed goat is strong and more like a bulldozer than a cute little animal from Old Macdonald’s Farm. A head butt from an angry goat will land you in the dirt faster than you can say ‘Goatee!’ And if you are a small puppy who does not speak the language of goats, look out! Lying on your back, peeing in submission will not protect you from being catapulted through the air and thudding into the barn wall when an angry goat charges and flings you aside. I tried to explain this to Pippi BEFORE she failed to run away from Casey’s determined charge, but puppies don’t do so well with English, either. Fortunately, no ribs were cracked and, even better, Pippi now has a healthy respect for all things caprine.

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