Pigs aren’t the only farmed animal that have a reputation that is not only underserved but wildly inaccurate, too! Goats are known for a lot of things…being aggressive and having a fondness for eating tin cans immediately come to mind. These behaviours, along with many others, are simply not true.
Please pass the Grey Poupon
Goats can be incredibly picky eaters. What they’re not particularly picky about is what they put into their mouths. And there is a difference. Goats simply love to nibble and chew on things. Pretty much anything – hair, zippers, gloves, etc. But that’s where it ends. Eating – that is actually swallowing an object, is strictly reserved for food. And not just any food, either. Our goats show a very strong preference for melons, apples, celery and lettuce but turn their adorable noses up at other fruit and veggies and they will absolutely refuse to eat any veggies or hay that have touched the ground! We have had to create a trough for their food to ensure that it never hits the ground or that’s where it stays.
Hey…that’s not our hay!
Not surprisingly, our picky goats have also shown a very strong preference for second cut hay. This is hay that has a finer texture, greener colour and heavier leaves than first cut. It is also more dense and has a lot of protein. And, of course, any hay that has touched the ground isn’t passing their lips either! To ensure that no hay is wasted, we use hay bags to feed them. They can be such divas!
You talking to me?
Simply put, goats are not aggressive by nature, in fact they are really quite friendly, but they are more reactive and inquisitive than, say, sheep. Whereas sheep tend to be fearful and shy and flee from attackers, our goat friends tend to face their attackers when threatened and they will demonstrate dominance in social groups more than sheep, too. They do this by lowering their heads and pointing their horns in the general direction of whoever is…wait for it…getting their goat!!! Which brings us to their horns.
The horns of plenty
A goat’s horns are more than just an adorable physical accessory, they are very important to the health and wellbeing of the goat. Filled with nerves and blood flow, a goat’s horns are very sensitive and can cause them great pain if they are injured or break. Like your ears…or nose…a goat’s horns come in all shapes and sizes and can grow to varying lengths. But regardless of what a goat’s horns look like, each goat is very aware of their own horns and knows exactly how long they are and where they are in proximity to their surroundings. In fact, horns are used by goats to navigate the world around them as well as to regulate their body temperature.
Eye see you…and you…and even you!
Have you ever gazed into a goat’s eyes? If you have, then you will have noticed that they have very unusual pupils. Their pupils are rectangular in shape. This odd feature, also seen in sheep, helps increase their field of vision so that they can better navigate their world and protect themselves from predators.
There you have it. Goats are picky eaters, quite friendly and inquisitive and they have a distinct advantage in spotting you if you’re playing hide and seek with them!