Myotonic goat, also known as Stiff Leg, Wooden Leg goats or Tennessee fainting goats, is one of the two strains of the same animal. Most Myotonic goats are found in Tennessee and eastern US are smaller than the ones than can be found in Texas. Those found in Texas are larger because of selective breeding in that area. Some ranchers have renamed this breed Tennessee Meat Goats to avoid confusion from the other strain of Myotonic goats and also because they are bred more for their meat.
The Myotonic goats are also used as pets because of their uniqueness. When these goats are frightened or excited, they faint. They often fall over their side and lie very stiffly for a few seconds.
No one really knows the origin of these goats but there are a few theories. One theory is that a man named John Tinsley brought four goats when he arrived in Nova Scotia. When he moved away a year later, he left his goats behind. Some think the Myotonic goats trace their origins back to this four. The other theory is that there was a mutation of a herd in Tennessee around the year 1885. The mutation resulted into the Myotonic goats recessive gene.
Most Myotonic goats used for meat production usually have large rumps and deep chests. Most goats have black and white coats but multi colored goats are also not uncommon. These goats are bred seasonally. They are very prolific. They can produce two kiddings a year. They also have good milk production. Myotonic goats are good mothers so more often than not, a bonding pen is unnecessary. These goats are easy to keep track of because they are not good climbers and jumpers. These goats are currently listed as rare with a population under 10,000 goats.