Have you ever wondered why the pupils in goat’s eyes are horizontal?
I have always been fascinated by the shape of goat’s eyes. One of the most common questions we get asked by the general public at shows is why are goat eyes so strange?
So I decided to share some of the reasons just in case you get asked the same question.
It is all about survival: Because goats are grazing animals they have to be constantly alert in the event of an attack. Amazingly they are able to swivel their eyes 50 degrees. They can look up without moving their heads. This enables them to see approaching danger whilst still eating.
Sideways eyes (eyes situated on the side of the head not the front) provide much wider vision enabling them to have 280 degree vision around their bodies and the flat pupils do not absorb as much sunlight meaning the goat is not blinded by the sun. They are not colour blind and can see Blue green violet yellow and orange.
Hello my name is Victoria, I live with my sister Red Rose and 6 other pygmy goats. The grey and white goat is called Hedd, he thinks he is in charge; he can be grumpy with us! He is a castrated male goat called a wether.
Last year Rosie and I were kids now that we are over a year old we are called goatlings. We will be goatlings until we are 3 years old, or until we have our own kids. Our day begins early in the morning when the human wakes us up and opens the doors of our sheds. We all get breakfast of some goat mix and some nice fresh hay- which is our favourite.
When we have finished our breakfast it is time for us to play. We are lucky because the humans put things into our field to run around, to jump on and climb up. We love to run and jump and climb.
After play we find more things to eat. Some humans think we eat grass like sheep …but we don’t really like that much, we like to browse; so we eat leaves twigs bark weeds infact we eat most things. I love to nibble coat toggles, buttons, trousers, sleeves or anything a little naughty if I can. Pandas the black and white goat favourite is headphone cables. He thinks it’s really funny to chew them. The human gets red faced and angry when he does that.
Once a week our human cleans out our sheds, Red Rose and I love to help out if we can.
We need to check our own bedrooms so they must all be checked for cleanliness.
We then start to look forward to tea time. Pygmy goats need a varied diet so most keepers feed a variety of foods including horse feed and goat mix. We should have fresh fruit and veg as well in our food.We also need access to water, which must be checked regularly by us in case the human forgets.
We are lucky goats though as we get chance to go out, sometimes we all go to shows and fetes so that more humans can see us. We all like it. Red Rose and I have even been to a theatre show! Some days we have proper shows. Here we are awarded prizes for being a beautiful goat and having the correct attitude with humans we are walking with.
Our goat-keeping history Neville and I actively kept goats from 1993 to 2006. Most of that time we had a small dairy herd of goats, having had a dairy built and were selling raw goats milk and cheese through two local health food shops. Earlier we just had pet goats. In about 2003 Charlie Bull at a show one day said on spur of moment to try Malibu our big BT milker in harness. She took to it that moment as though she had done it all her life. Likewise her daughter just like mum accepted harness without a qualm. Would that they were all like that.!!- Although over the years it has been fun getting our other goats in harness. Neville made a small milk cart which they pulled at first. Malibu and Martini quickly progressed as a pair pulling one of Angela’s big Victorian Wagonet. When both Neville and I became too ill me through a severe back problem, Neville through Cancer we decided it was time to give up our smallholding. The dairy goats went to a friend starting up in the Cotswolds and Malibu and Martini to Jean Bamford temporarily. Then Angela and Peter Rickerby offered to have them – that was great for as Neville became clear of Cancer, we were able to work our two again. Later Malibu died followed a year later by Martini. However Angela encouraged us to get some more and train them, Neville used a single Liverpool gig and I managed a pack goat at a slower walk. At the Three Counties Autumn shows we regularly helped with the Harness Goat Society stall, often winning a-prize for best stall. One year Neville made a model goat and Carriage , for the stand to illustrate how they are harnessed up. Sadly old age has crept up on us (2020). We still have three goats – Bramble, Hazel and Ivy , living with Angela but no longer have the strength to show. We still love them dearly though and visit often – and must thank Angela for the great care she gives them. We are still stalwart members of Harness goat Society and were Vice presidents of Worcestershire Goat Society until its demise.
George Bistransin is retired and lives on three acres in Amenia, New York, 85 miles north of New York City. He has five goats and is training his two bucks and wether to be harness and pack goats. He also has two does and is starting to make goat cheese. Over the years George worked as a Guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Latin Teacher, a Park Ranger in Boston and Docent. He started Theater Ludicrum and using his own translations, produced the Roman comedies and musical comedies of Plautus as a field trip opportunity for high school Latin students. He was active for many years in the Village Playwrights in New York City where several of his short plays were produced.
I have always wanted goats, having listened to my mum telling me about her childhood, when she had a large white goat which took her to school each day in a cart. Tony, my husband, thought goats were a lot of trouble and refused to have any. My aunt left me a small legacy and I decided to ignore his arguments. After a lot of research I bought two pregnant golden Gurnsey goatlings from Heather Pink in Kent. Pinkybaa Caramel (Melly) and Fudge. Within a month tony was asking why I had left it so long before getting goats!! He was as smitten as I. Melly had twins, Gig, a beautiful kid who was only beaten once into second place in the show ring as a kid and goatlings. Derry her other kid was destined to be sold as a pet but he grew on us and we decided to try and train him to pull a carts he was quite big for a golden Gurnsey and strong. Derry proved a natural when I started training him, but we had to stop training when he developed a cough which lasted for a year. With a lot of help from Sally last year we made his be but in the show ring pulling one of sally’s carts. This has given him a lot of confidence, he does enjoy showing off. This led us to try and breed a bigger goat without losing the GG gentleness and milking ability. Melly was the ideal goat to use as she is large and a good milker,being awarded her R117 for producing 1179 litres in a year. She was mated with a British Gurnsey in the hope that we would get at least one large male kid to train to a cart. So we come round to her kidding. Out popped one girl, kitty-wake (kitti), a few minutes later Kiwi arrived, another girl, quickly followed by a third kookaburra (kookie) this was quite a surprise, three British Gurnsey girls and no boys! At the moment we are just enjoying them, and who knows, one of them may be ideal to pull a cart.
Flip through the slide show to see some of the amazing goat coats Marion has made from recycled materials over the years. These coats were exhibited at her exhibition in Devon. An amazing display where Marion raised in excess of £500 for the charity MIND.
Sampson and Julian, twin Golden Guernsey wethers born in May 2020, were my firstborn kids. Their mother, Peaseblossom, was one of my first two goats. Now, I can’t comprehend anyone turning living goats, with their huge personalities, into anything as boring as chops and steaks, but I do think that animals should have a job to do in the human world. So harness goats were the obvious solution.
I have only kept goats since 2018. That is hard to believe, as it feels like a lifetime! Having retired and owning a house with a little land, I have been able to indulge my lifelong wish to keep lots of animals. I am afraid I am quite impractical about it and make no attempt to make the animals pay their way. As well as the goats, we have Ouessant sheep, ducks and hens.
I first met members of the Harness Goat Society at a show, before I even had goats, and joined the Society soon after. Sampson and Julian were encouraged to walk on the lead from a very young age. Training is currently proving a little difficult, as they are very lazy and dislike walking on wet grass.
Interviewed about his career plans as a harness goat, Julian thought his best gait would be the Stand and Look Noble. Sampson said he planned to specialise in the Sit, especially when combined with the Eat. (I think that is what he said – it filtered indistinctly through the hay that was filling his mouth.)
My name is Debra Chennels, I started rescuing goats some 25 years ago whilst working with mental health. I found the goats gave people great reward just seeing them and being able to walk them. I started therapy goats 3 years ago but I’ve always used goats for people with any kind of illness. I started taking them to care homes which have been amazing- the reaction I’ve had.
I’ve learned so much about goats over the years but you never stop learning –they are amazing animals and understand more than we realise.
I have now moved to Wales & plan to open up a therapy camping site for colleges where people can spend time with the goats getting plenty of therapy and chill out when they need to with these lovely animals.
Cider was our first Harness Goat and he brought us great pleasure. He loved his work and was super intelligent (not always a good thing)! He started a string of 8 Harness Goats over the years and we now have Mungo who is our remaining goat. We have had some fabulous experiences and met some great people, some of whom we meet on a regular basis. We have had some memorable experiences including driving down a village street and navigating the traffic, taking a Bride from the church and doing a dog agility course, much to the organiser’s surprise. At the moment we have 2 ponies, 3 alpacas, 3 sheep, Mungo goat and a dog, so there is never a dull moment.