Goats are everywhere these days, from internet memes, to Facebook videos, to the hot new game “Goat Simulator”. Goats are cute and a lot of fun to watch, but they’re interesting in a lot of different ways that not a people know about as well.
As a new goat keeper, I’ve learned a lot of things in a very short amount of time. Here are the top 15 facts I’ve learned about goats that most people don’t know:
- Goats have no upper front teeth
- Goat kids are born with teeth
- Goats have a 4 chamber stomach, much like cows, that ferments their feed
- Goats are “browsers” and eat more like deer than other livestock who graze. They like to eat from trees and eat brush and poison ivy. They also like raspberry bushes and roses.
- Goats rumen (fermenting stomach chamber) maintains a very delicate balance and can be very easily disturbed, causing bloat and a quick death
- Goats will not eat trash or other non-food items as long as they have enough to eat – they are actually very picky eaters. Goats do not like to eat soiled food or food that has hit the ground
- A goat’s body temperature is quite high, from 102 -104°F. When the weather is cold, they like to drink hot water to help stay warm
- Both male and female goats can have beards
- Most goats, both male and female have horns, unless they are polled, which means naturally hornless. Most goat kids are disbudded within a week of being born, the horn buds being removed with a very hot iron to halt growth.
- Goats are “sun worshipers” and love to lounge in the sunshine, but absolutely hate being wet
- Goats can have anywhere from 1 – 6 kids per kidding
- Goats are very social animals and get very distressed when alone
- Goat milk gets its “goaty” flavor from having an intact male goat on site. The milk of a goat from an all-female herd tastes very similar to cow milk
- Many people who are lactose intolerant can digest goat milk
- Recent studies have revealed that goats are much smarter than anyone thought, with problem solving abilities much higher than dogs