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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fainting Goats

Whenever I am doing dishes, weeding the garden, mopping the floor or doing some other glorified menial household task I can always think of any number of interesting dairy things to post, but when I am sitting here at the computer my mind always goes blank. I need to start writing things down as I think of them.

However. In the meantime; this farming magazine that we get had an article (that I incidentally haven't read yet) on "fainting goats." This sounded like something vaguely amusing and interesting to post about. So I went to trusty Wikipedia for more info:

Fainting Goats


A fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle.

In the past they were used for protecting livestock such as sheep by involuntarily "sacrificing themselves" to predators, allowing the sheep to escape.[3]


The origin of the fainting goat is peculiar. The goats appear to have arrived in Marshall County, Tennessee in the early 1800s, courtesy of a reclusive farm worker named Jon Tinsley who was most likely from Nova Scotia. Before he left the area, he sold his goats — three does and a buck — to Dr. H.H. Mayberry, who bred them.

There is also an International Fainting Goat Association which has more interesting information and photos as well. Their logo is cute. It would appear that this breed is a meat goat, but because they are so rare they are usually used for pets.

If I were to have a goat I think I would choose a fainting goat.

6 comments:

Solomon said...

They sound really cool. If I had one, I'd be so tempted to creep up behind it and shout "boo!" all the time. :D

C said...

I've heard of fainting goats before. Hubby was talking about them a while ago. He always has interesting things to tell me about! ;) Those poor goats! Imagine!?! LOL!

Oh, my exciting moment of the day was Hubby calling me to my mother-in-law's farm (next to ours) when I was in the garden and asking me to pull his tractor with my tractor because he had a breakdown ON THE HIGHWAY!!! Fun! Oh, my city friends and family will not believe all the excitement that goes on here! LOL!

Happy Mother's Day, by the way! XO

Amrita said...

my dogs shivered, then i found out it was worm trouble. Now its over. poor fainting goats.

Amrita said...

Do you make goat- milk cheese? In India mutton or goat meat is very popular

Calfkeeper said...

Solomon-poor goats! Hubby thinks they shouldn't be bred, thinks it's sad. I think they are cute.

c-Oh, yes, I have had to pull hubby anound with tractors any number of times.

amrita-I have never had goats and I doubt I would have the wherewithal to be able to make cheese anyway. Some neighbors make goatmilk soap. Goat meat is becoming more popular here in the US as well.

Anonymous said...

I have fainting goats! And they are simply wonderful!

I used to have pygmy goats, to keep the brush eaten down, and they were a royal pain. They were always trying to get out. They even would go around the bottom of the fence, on their knees, pushing at the fence, to try to find a weak bottom wire, to force it up.

But these fainting goats have stiff hindquarters, (like me, as I grow older,lol) and cannot jump and run like pygmies. They actually prefer to be close to safety, and do not try to get out!

They are so sweet and tame, and eat out of our hands. I trust them with my two year old. Gretchen and Heidi are my absolute favorite pets I have ever had. --from Mary in Virginia