Goat General Knowledge: Interesting Facts

Are you an animal enthusiast who thinks that you know about the four-legged creature we call a goat? Whether you’re talking about a buck or a billy, a nanny or a doe, or even a kid, there are a few snippets of zoological and agricultural information that apply to all of them. After one read of this “baa-aahdd” (cheap humor) list of knowledge, you might look at your horned friend differently.

  • Though people will understand what you mean, it’s not wise to call male goats a “billy” or females a “nanny” when around official herdsmen and breeders. These are terms only amateurs use and will get you frowned upon (or, worse, laughed at) if trying to pass yourself off as knowledgeable about Capra hircus, as zoologists call the domestic goat.
  • It may sound crazy, but one Egyptian Pharaoh had an excessive liking for these beasts. The ancient ruler Cephranes had two thousand goats placed in his burial chamber at the time of his funeral. What was the reason for this? The creature had a special place in Ancient Egypt’s culture.
  • A buck/doe will usually have a life span similar to that of a typical domestic dog. Expect 8-12 years of life during which you will be caring for your little farmyard friend.
  • This one is not a fact so much as an interesting hypothesis. Some believe that goats were once used as a reliable way of finding out the properties of organic substances and what they could be used for. For instance, it’s said that does and bucks were observed to become very energetic and active after eating the berries of a particular plant. That plant turned out to be what Starbucks now makes millions from daily: coffee.
    (Don’t try this at home, though. Goats will happily eat all sorts of plants that humans find at best inedible and at worst highly toxic, including poison ivy!)
  • Ever seen a goat swim? Toss it in the water and you will find out how hooves are great propellers. These four-legged friends are among the best swimmers you will find on a farm, barring ducks and geese!
  • How many different breeds of goat are known to scientists? Over 200, and some are probably still out there, yet to be discovered or intermingled with other specimens.
  • The next time you wear something made of Cashmere fabric, realize you are wearing goat hair. One pound of fleece can be shaved from the back of one Cashmere goat in a year. The bulk of this luxurious fur is produced in the Far East, China to be exact.
  • A doe usually leads the herd. Just like human households most of the time, a woman runs the show when it comes to family.
  • There are numerous names that you can call a grouping of goats. The usual name for several goats gathered together is a “herd”. Call them a “trip” or “tribe” if looking for a less common collective noun.
  • If you looked at a goat, you would be hard pressed to guess the animal’s age with a glance. Professionals check the teeth grooves of the animal to detect the number of years it has been alive.
  • Goat meat is pretty good for you. When consuming this critter, feel good knowing it has a lower fat and cholesterol content than most common foods. It’s got less of those undesirable contents than beef, pork, and – more surprisingly – even chicken!
  • There are lots of other facts to learn about goats but the ones listed above are a good starting point to help you get to know your animal in depth.


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