We don’t usually start talking about goats around here at the Arboretum until the fall. We look forward to our furry friends from Green-Goats Farm in Rhinebeck, NY returning year after year, to help us clear the overgrowth in the daffodil bowl. But I think about goats year-round! In fact, I have a collection of goats here in my office – photos, figurines, stuffed animals, etc. I also decorated a goat tree last year for our Festival of Trees event. Everyone here knows I am the goat lover!
If you would have mentioned goats to me several years ago, I would have had no reaction, no interest whatsoever. I never lived on a farm (I hail from Brooklyn, NY), and I had certainly never met a goat until that first October after I started working here at the Arboretum. Our new Director of Horticulture at the time, Marc Montefusco, had the wonderful idea of “renting goats” to help “mow” the overgrown daffodil bowl. I thought it sounded crazy but was certainly curious! And that was that. From the moment those goats arrived I was smitten. They were so friendly, so social, so lovable…and very entertaining! Any minute I could steal away from the office, I was in the daffodil bowl hanging out with those adorable creatures.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about goats and what makes them so cool. Below are some interesting facts I thought you might enjoy.
- There are over 200 different breeds of goats, ranging from small Nigerian dwarf goats to large Nubian goats weighing up to 250 pounds. Some are fluffy with long soft curly hair (Angora), while others have short stiff hair. Ear sizes are a noticeable difference between breeds as well. Nubians and Boer goats have long floppy ears (great to pet by the way!), while Lamancha goats have very small ones.
- Baby goats are called kids, a female goat is called a doe or nanny, and a male goat is called a buck or billy. Both male and female goats can have beards – no kidding!
- Goats are browsers or foragers. Their very strong upper lip helps them sort through vegetation and pick what they like. They do NOT have ANY teeth in their upper jaw! It is a hard dental pad that helps them break down what they eat.
- Goats are extremely sociable and live in herds. They love to socialize with other goats, animals and humans, and prefer to spend time with happy people! 😉
- My favorite fact about goats is that they have rectangular pupils! This allows them a wider field of vision. Without having to move they can basically see 320-340 degrees around themselves!
- Goats do talk to each other through sounds called bleating and each goat has its own distinct call.
- Need a climbing partner? Then goats are a safe bet! Some can leap up to 12 feet in a single bound! Goats have great balance and can often be observed climbing trees or ANY nearby structure.
Interested in meeting our visiting goats? They will be arriving mid-October (check our website for updates) and will be our “featured guests” at Celebrate Fall on Sunday, October 16, 2022. They are usually here for about two weeks, so be sure to stop by! Did you know you can also sponsor a goat? For $25 you can help send a goat to the Arboretum for our environmentally friendly vegetation removal initiative. This allows for the annual restoration and replanting of our famous daffodil bowl. You’ll receive your very own certificate of “Good Goatsmanship” too! How cool is that? Cute and environmentally friendly!
And last, but certainly not least, we are hosting our first ever “Goat Yoga” event on September 17, 2022, at 10 AM. Come join us for this super fun morning and hopefully you will agree that goats are the G.O.A.T.!
- Doreen, Just a girl who loves goats (and Manager of Special Events & Social Media)