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Facts About Goats
by Angela McKenzie-Jakes
Extension Animal Science Specialist
Florida A&M University

FACTS ABOUT GOATS
1. Goats were the first animals domesticated by man in 10,000 B.C
2. The phrase Judas goat is a tern that has been used to describe
a goat that is trained to herd other animals to slaughter while
its own life is spared.
3. Most goats can be found in Asia and the Mid-East.
4. Goats were the first animals to be used for
milk by humans.
5. There are over 210 breeds of goats in the world.
6. There are approximately 450 million goats around the world.
7. Goats were first brought to America by Columbus in 1493.
8. Goats were regularly imported into America in the early 1900’s.
9. The female goat is called a “doe†or “nanny.â€
10. The male goat is called a “buck†or “billy.â€
11. A castrated male goat is called a “wether.â€
12. A baby goat is called a “kid.â€
13. The act of giving birth is called “kidding.â€
14. The doe can have 1 to 6 kids per litter, however, 4 to 6 kids are
rare.
15. Goats do not have teeth in their upper front jaw.
16. Goats have 24 molars and 8 incisors.
17. Both male and female goats can have beards.
18. Normally goats have two teats and cows have four.
19. Goats prefer browse over grass and grass to clover.
20. Goats do not eat tin cans, clothing or
garbage, but are selective eaters when
provided with a well-balanced diet.
21. Male goats go through a period called
a “rut†when they are ready to mate. This period coincides with
the start of the breeding season.
22. The “rut†is characterized by a decrease in appetite, obsessive
interest in the does, fighting between bucks
and most notable is a strong foul-smelly
musky odor.
23. Lactating does that are kept in a pen
with a musky buck may produce milk that
taste “goaty†and can be offensive to humans.
24. Goats can be born with or without horns (polled).
25. Goats and sheep are seasonal breeders.
26. Yearlings does should be bred when they have reached 80 pounds
of body weight or when they have reached 60-75% of the adult
weight for their breed. They must also be in good body condition
and health.
27. Chevon is the French word for goat. These are animals that are
slaughtered near or shortly after weaning.
28. Goats are hollow-horned, bearded, ruminant mammals of the genus
Capra and the species Hircus. They are raised for wool, milk, and
meat in the U.S. Goats are also used to make gelatin, the manure
is used for fertilizer, they are used for research models in
biological studies, they are used to pull carts and for pack animals.
29. Goats are bovines and are closely related to cows and antelopes.
30. The natural life expectancy for goats is around 8 to 12 years and
in some cases, goats can live over 15 years.
31. Worldwide, more people eat and drink milk from
goats than any other animal.
32. The age of puberty for female goats is between 7-10 months and
4-8 months in male goats.
33. The breeding age for male goats is between 8-10 months
34. A mature, healthy male buck can breed 20 to 40 does.
35. The length of gestation (pregnancy) in does is between 146 to 155
days.
36. The traditional breeding season for goats in the U.S. is between
late August and the early part of January, however some goats
can breed out-of-season.
37. Goats do no like to get wet and prefer to seek shelter when it is
raining.
38. Goats are more susceptible to parasites and other infectious diseases
when they are mismanaged.
39. Cabrito is the Spanish word for little goat (slaughtered one week
or shortly after birth).
40. Goats deposits less fat externally and more fat internally (around
the organs) compared to sheep and cattle.
41. Estrus (heat) is the period in which does are receptive to mating.
42. The estrous cycle is between 18-22 days in does.
43. The duration of estrus is 12-36 hours.
44. Signs, of heat include tail wagging, mucous discharge, swollen
vulva, bleating, mounting or being mounted by other goats etc.
45. The normal body temperature for goats is between 101.7 to 104.5
degrees.
46. The heart rate of goats is between 70 to 135 beats per minute.
47. The normal respiration rate for goats is 12 to 15 breaths per
minute.
48. Goats are quite agile creatures and in some cases they can jump
over 5 feet.
49. Goats have a four chamber stomach that contains fermenting
bacteria and protozoan that aid in breaking down their food.
50. Most medications that are currently used on goats were developed
for use in other livestock species (i.e., cattle and swine).
51. Bucks can be quite aggressive to their handlers during the breeding
season.
52. Depending on the breed, adult female goats can weigh between 22
to 300 pounds and adult males between 27 to 350 pounds of body
weight.
53. A large group of goats is called a herd.
54. A hermaphrodite is a goat that exhibits both male and female
sexually characteristics and organs.
55. Azalea bushes are poisonous to goats.
56. Vomiting in goats is almost always due to poisonous plants.
57. Goats can become lame after an injection has hit the sciatic
nerve. This nerve runs from the hips down to the leg.
58. Blood in the milk or “pink†milk may be a sign of udder trauma and
not mastitis.
61. Before coins were used for money, goats were
traded for silver because they were so valuable.
62. The pharaoh Cephranes thought, so much of his goats that he had
2,234 buried with him.
63. Goats are very social creatures.
64. Wattles are those little tufts of hair that covers the skin that
dangles from the throat of some goats. Wattles serve no function
and are thought to be remnants of gill slits that mammals shared
somewhere back down the evolutionary tree.
65. A ruminant is any hoofed animal that digests its food in two steps.
First by eating the raw materials and regurgitating a semi-digested
form known as “cud†then eating the cud. Ruminants include goats,
sheep, cattle, deer, camels, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalos etc.
66. Goat’s milk is easily digestible and less allergenic than cow’s milk.
67. Goat’s milk is higher in calcium, vitamin A and niacin than cow’s
milk.
68. Goat meat is lower in fat and cholesterol compared to beef, pork,
mutton and poultry.
69. 12,000 year old paintings of goats have been found on the walls of
caves in Europe.
70. Goats are one the cleanliest animals and is much more selective
feeders than cows, sheep, pigs, swine and even dogs.
71. Dairy goats have little subcutaneous fat.
72. Goats do not like eating food that has been soiled, contaminated
or has been on the ground.
73. Mahatma Gandhi consumed goat milk everyday for more than 30
years.
74. Carl Sandburg loved his goats so much that when Life Magazine
(1938 issue) asked him to pose for a picture with his favorite dog
he insisted the picture be taken with his goats.
75. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized and it can be digested in less
than 20 minutes where as cow’s milk can take almost all day.
76. Meat goat production is the fastest growing livestock industry in
the U.S. today (2005).
77. The top ten states with the largest population of meat goats are
Texas (1,010,000), Tennessee (98,000), Georgia (77,000),
Oklahoma (65,000), Kentucky (63,500), North Carolina (52,200),
California (50,000), South Carolina (41,000), Alabama (37,800)
and Florida (36,000;NASS, 2005).
78. The top ten states with the largest dairy herds are Texas (30,000),
California (30,000), Wisconsin (28,000), Iowa (13,000), New York
(13,000), Philadelphia (13,000), Ohio (9,500), Oklahoma (9,000),
Indiana (8,800) and Missouri (8,600; NASS,2005).
79. Ethnic consumers are the backbone of the meat goat industry in
the U.S. Demand for goat meat will continue to increase as the
population in the U.S. becomes more ethnically diverse by consumers
who traditionally eat goat meat.
80. At this time, the marketing infrastructure of the goat industry in
the U.S. is relatively disorganized. Nationwide there are no
mechanisms in place by which the animal is moved from the farm,
to the processor and the product is accessible to the consumer.
81. To check for dehydration, pull the skin that is over the shoulder
area. If the skin snaps back quickly the animal is adequately
hydrated. If the skin does not snap back quickly and remains
erect the animals is dehydrated.
82. Goats are herbivores (plant-eaters) that spend most of their day
grazing.
83. Goats are usually between 17 to 42 inches tall from the shoulders.
84. Approximately 1.5 million pounds of goat meat is imported into
the U.S. every week from Australia and New Zealand because
domestic production and processing systems in this country can
not keep pace with demand.
85. Goats are able to consume 3 to 5% of their body weight in dry
matter (perhaps more if the forage is highly digestible). To
consume this amount of forages, goats must be pastured in an
area with a large quantity of available vegetative forage. Goats
will eat less when they are moved to poor quality pastures.
86. In the biblical town of Jericho, people kept goats as long as 6,000
to 7,000 years before Christ.
87. Healthy kids can stand within minutes after birth and are able to
move with the herd almost immediately.
88. In many parts of the world, goats are economically valuable for a
variety of purposes such as skins for leather and the pelts are
used for making rugs and robes.
89. The early explorers used goat skins for water and wine bottles
when they traveled.
90. During biblical times, goat skins were used for parchment for
writing.
91. Does can produce 3 litters of kids every 2 years.
92. Older animals store more body fat if nutritional conditions are
favorable.
93. Plant poisoning most often occurs in goats in the spring after the
herd has been released into a new pasture.
94. Goats do not grow as fast as sheep nor can they utilize feed as
efficiently.
95. Goats do not have tear ducts.
96. Some does and bucks that are
naturally polled are also infertile.
They are of no use to the owner, either
as breeding stock or milk producers.
97. Goats and octopus’ pupils of their eyes are rectangular.
98. Boer goats are considered the leading meat breed in the U.S.
today. Mature males can weigh between 260 to 380 pounds and
the females may weigh between 210- 300 pounds.
99. The Tennessee Stiff-Leg also known as the wooden leg or fainting
goat is native to the U.S. This breed suffers from a recessive
trait called myotonia. When frightened this animal will experience
extreme muscle stiffness causing extension of the neck and hind
legs before it topples over onto the ground.
100. Colostrum is produced in the first milk of the doe and it contains
high levels of immunoglobulins (antibodies), vitamin A, minerals,
fat and energy. Newborn kids must ingest colostrum within the
first 24 hours of life to help protect them against diseases.
101. The larger the scrotal circumference of the buck, the higher his
libido and fertility.
102. Coffee was first discovered when goat herders noticed the animals
acting very energetic after nibbling on coffee beans.
103. Abraham Lincoln’s sons had two goats that lived in the white
house with them.
104. In earlier centuries, goats were often used to nurse babies.
105. China has the most goats (over 170 Million).
106. According to Roman history, on February 15th, young men would
run around wearing only the skins of goats they sacrificed
earlier and hit women with strips of goat skin, known as februa,
to promote fertility. It is from these purification instruments
that the month of February gets its name.



References
1. Campbell, L.S. 1981. The Whole Goat Catalog.
2. Connor, S., Feb., 2001. Goats were Man’s First Livestock.
3. Animal Corner. Jan. 2007.
4. Hunter, P. 2005. Statewide Goat Program Newsletter.
5. Luginbuhl, J.M., J. P. Muellier, J.T. Green. 1998.Breeding and Kidding Management in the Goat Herd
6. Life Magazine.1938, issue. Carl Sandburg.
7. Microsoft Cliparts, 2007.7. Megalomedia. A Brief History of Coffee.
8. Pfalzbot, G. 2007. Goat Facts
9. Shurley, M. and F. Craddock. US Meat Goat Industry Past,
Present, Future. International Kiko Goat Association, Inc.
10. Thompson, P., Ag. Facts. Goats. Oklahoma Ag. in the
Classroom.
11. USDA/USDA. 2005. Sheep and Goats.
12. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2007. Domestic Goats.
13. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2006. Cabrito.
 

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i do not agree with some of those... our fence was 6 ft high and some of our dairy goats just flew over it without a thought! and the frequently got out and if there was laundry out they would go staight to the clothesline!!! we had a boer female once, her fur was more like and angora! it would get so curly in the winter i wanted to shave her in the spring and try to spin it. she also had four teats. she was really skiddish and never bred. i'm not sure if they were fully developed- the front ones were smaller and more in-front then under.
 
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