To this day, some myths about goats continue to persist. Even I, the Goat Whisperer, find myself having to time and time again refute these myths.
It gets a little frustrating at times! Ignorance is never a fun thing to come up against. But ignorance can be remedied, if people are willing.
So let’s take a look at a few of those myths and I’ll give my unique point of view on them. Won’t that be fun?
1. Goats stink. Now here’s a fun one. It’s both true and false. My does (female goats) and wethers (neutered male goats) absolutely do not stink. They have a pleasant subtle smell if you stick your nose in their fur. However, bucks (intact male goats) absolutely do stink for part of the year. They go into rut, a state of heightened sexuality, where they urinate on themselves and their faces. They emit a powerful odor to make themselves sexy to female goats. It works.
To someone not used to the smell, it can just about knock you over. It sticks to you and is difficult to remove. So yes, buck goats stink. Don’t want smelly goats? Don’t keep a buck.
And of course, if a person locks any animal in a small enclosure and don’t clean it, it will stink.
2. Goats eat anything. Very false. Due to cartoon stereotypes, many people think goats can eat anything and everything and will be just fine with some moldy hay they wouldn’t give cattle.
Goats have stomachs far more delicate than cattle. They are more on the level of horses, despite having a chambered stomach and rumen. They cannot eat poor forage and absolutely do not eat trash or tin cans. And most won’t.
My goats and many others won’t even touch something that fell on the ground. If I give them the best hay available, they pick out the best and anything that falls out of the feeder is stomped into the ground and laid on. Wasteful creatures. If I give them slices of apple, any that are dropped are left to the chickens. Goodness forbid these prissy princesses eat something with dirt on it!
Feeding goats insufficient and even moldy feed has cost them their lives, when they eat it out of hunger.
They will mouth and play with things they find, which is where the myth began.
3. Goats will mow your lawn: True and false in it’s own way. Goats are browsers, not grazers. They prefer to eat from high up, like trees and bushes. They will clear that out first before they touch grass, and even then they’ll be picky. You won’t get a nice smooth lawn, that’s for sure. If you can keep them in your pasture anyways.
However, goats make excellent land and brush clean up crews, and are even employed to do so by some cities.
4. Goats are impossible to keep penned up: Absolutely true! Ahem. Well, both true and false again to be honest. Goats are clever creatures who are quite certain that the trees are always greener on the other side. To keep goats in, you need fencing made for Fort Knox, and even then, you’ll need to watch, if there’s any weakness, they’ll find it.
Strong, properly installed fencing will deter them from escaping.
5. Goat milk tastes “goaty”: Absolutely false. “Goaty” or musky tasting milk is the result of poor handling, not the milk itself. Goat milk is naturally homogenized and more delicate than cow’s milk. It needs to be strained and cooled as soon as possible and not overly shaken about. Which is why goat milk in stores tastes so poor, it’s been pasteurized to death and then shipped, which breaks it down. Goat milk I get from my own animals tastes just fine, like whole milk, perhaps a little sweeter, and definitely way better for us.
6. Goat meat is a poor man’s meat: Are you aware that over seventy percent of the world’s population eats goat meat? It’s a wonderfully lean meat, very healthy. It’s molecular structure makes it easier to digest than most meats. Goat meat is so popular that our country cannot keep up with the demand and imports much of it for those of us who eat goat meat.
Did you know that the goat was one of the first domesticated animals, if not the first? They are amazingly diverse creatures. They can be used for milk, meat, fiber, packing, carting, weed control, pets; the list is nearly endless. Goats are intelligent, as intelligent as most dogs. And people wonder why I’m so fascinated with them.
I’ll leave off there for now. Have you any myths you’ve heard? Have you discovered that they are true, or false?