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The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of '' C. aegagrus''
domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that seco ...
from the wild goat of
Southwest Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant region, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and ...
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and s ...
. The goat is a member of the animal family
Bovidae The Bovidae comprise the biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant vertebrates that includes bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle. A member of this family is called a bovid. With 143 ext ...
and the subfamily
Caprinae The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant family Bovidae, and consists of mostly medium-sized bovids. A member of this subfamily is called a caprine, or, more informally, a goat-antelope; however, this term "goat-antelope" does not mean tha ...
, meaning it is closely related to the
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species in the genus ''Ov ...

sheep
. There are over 300 distinct
breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In literature, there exist several slightl ...
s of goat.Hirst, K. Kris
"The History of the Domestication of Goats".
''
About.com Dotdash (formerly About.com) is an American digital media company that publishes articles and videos about various subjects across categories including health, home, food, finance, tech, beauty, lifestyle, travel and education. It operates brand ...
''. Accessed August 18, 2008.
It is one of the oldest domesticated species of animal, according to archaeological evidence that its earliest domestication occurred in Iran at 10,000 calibrated calendar years ago. Goats have been used for
milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is calle ...

milk
,
meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbits, pigs and cattle. This eventu ...
,
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair that covers the skin of many different animals. It is a defining characteristic of mammals. It consists of a combination of oily guard hair on top and thick underfur beneath. The guard hair keeps moisture from reach ...
, and
skins
skins
across much of the world. Milk from goats is often turned into
goat cheese Goat cheese, or chevre ( or ; from the French word for ''goat''), is cheese made from goat's milk. Goat cheeses are made in a wide variety of styles, from soft fresh cheese to hard aged cheese. Properties Cow's milk and goat's milk have simila ...
. Female goats are referred to as ''does'' or ''nannies'', intact males are called ''bucks'' or ''billies'', and juvenile goats of both sexes are called ''kids''.
Castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which an individual loses use of the testicles: the male gonad. Surgical castration is bilateral orchiectomy (excision of both testicles) ...

Castrated
males are called ''wethers''. While the words ''hircine'' and ''caprine'' both refer to anything having a goat-like quality, ''hircine'' is used most often to emphasize the distinct smell of domestic goats. In 2011, there were more than 924 million goats living in the world, according to the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency of ...
.


Etymology

The
Modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English and Old English) is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed in roughly 1 ...
word ''goat'' comes from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th centur ...
''gāt'' "she-goat, goat in general", which in turn derives from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from pre-Proto-Germanic into three Germanic branches ...
*''gaitaz'' (cf.
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
/ Icelandic ''geit'',
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language * Germanic peoples * Ger ...
''Geiß'', and Gothic ''gaits''), ultimately from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed features have been derived by linguistic reconstruction from documented Indo-European languages. No direct record of Proto-Indo-Europea ...
''*ǵʰaidos'' meaning "young goat" (cf.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
''haedus'' "kid"). To refer to the male, Old English used ''bucca'' (giving modern ''buck'') until ousted by ''hegote'', ''hegoote'' in the late 12th century. ''Nanny goat'' (females) originated in the 18th century, and ''billy goat'' (for males) originated in the 19th century.


History

Goats are among the earliest animals domesticated by humans. The most recent genetic analysis confirms the archaeological evidence that the wild
bezoar ibex The bezoar ibex (''Capra aegagrus aegagrus''), also known as the Anatolian bezoar ibex, Persian ibex, or (by Anatolian locals) ''dağ keçisi'' (Turkish: 'mountain goat'), is a wild goat subspecies that is native to montane forests from Turkey to ...
of the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyayên Zagros;) are a long mountain range in Iran, northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey. This mountain range has a total length of . The Zagros moun ...
is the likely original ancestor of probably all domestic goats today.
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
farmers began to herd wild goats primarily for easy access to
milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is calle ...

milk
and meat, as well as to their dung, which was used as fuel; and their bones, hair, and sinew were used for clothing, building, and tools. The earliest remnants of domesticated goats dating 10,000 years
before present Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred before the origin of practical radiocarbon dating in the 1950s. Because the "present" time changes, stan ...
are found in
Ganj Dareh Area of the fertile crescent, circa 7500 BC, with main sites. Ganj Dareh is one of the important sites of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The area of Mesopotamia">Pre-Pottery Neolithic">fertile crescent, circa 7500 BC, with main sites. Gan ...

Ganj Dareh
in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by ...
. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in
Jericho Jericho (; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governor ...
,
Choga Mami Choga Mami is a Samarran settlement site in Diyala province in Eastern Iraq in the Mandali region. It shows the first canal irrigation in operation at about 6000 BCE. It is no longer clear which way cultural developments were flowing in the 6500 to ...
, Djeitun, and
Çayönü Çayönü Tepesi is a Neolithic settlement in southeastern Turkey which prospered from circa 8,630 to 6,800 BC. It is located forty kilometres north-west of Diyarbakır, at the foot of the Taurus mountains. It lies near the Boğazçay, a tributa ...
, dating the domestication of goats in
Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant region, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and ...
at between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago. Studies of DNA evidence suggests 10,000 years BP as the domestication date. Historically, goat hide has been used for water and
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from fermented grape juice. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of ...
bottles in both traveling and transporting wine for sale. It has also been used to produce
parchment Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia. Vellum is a finer quality parchment made from the skins of y ...
.


Anatomy and health

Each recognized breed of goat has specific weight ranges, which vary from over for bucks of larger breeds such as the Boer, to for smaller goat does. Within each breed, different strains or bloodlines may have different recognized sizes. At the bottom of the size range are miniature breeds such as the African Pygmy, which stand at the shoulder as adults.


Horns

Most goats naturally have two
hornsHorns or The Horns may refer to: * The Horns (Colorado), a summit on Cheyenne Mountain * ''Horns'' (novel), a dark fantasy novel written in 2010 by Joe Hill ** ''Horns'' (film), a 2013 film adaptation of Hill's novel * "The Horns" (song), a 2015 son ...
, of various shapes and sizes depending on the breed.American Goat Society:Polled Genetics
americangoatsociety.com.
There have been incidents of
polycerate Polycerates (meaning "many-horned") are animals with more than two horns. Cattle Cattle can have as many as six horns, and occasionally more. Sheep Polycerate sheep breeds include the Hebridean, Icelandic, Jacob, Manx Loaghtan, Boreray and the Nav ...
goats (having as many as eight horns), although this is a genetic rarity thought to be inherited. Unlike cattle, goats have not been successfully bred to be reliably polled, as the genes determining sex and those determining horns are closely linked. Breeding together two genetically polled goats results in a high number of
intersex Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not ...
individuals among the offspring, which are typically sterile. Their horns are made of living bone surrounded by
keratin Keratin () is one of a family of fibrous structural proteins known as scleroproteins. ''α-Keratin'' is a type of keratin found in vertebrates. It is the key structural material making up scales, hair, nails, feathers, horns, claws, hooves, callu ...

keratin
and other
proteins Proteins are large biomolecules or macromolecules that are comprised of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, respo ...
, and are used for defense, dominance, and territoriality.


Digestion and lactation

Goats are
ruminants Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes pla ...
. They have a four-chambered stomach consisting of the
rumen The rumen, also known as a paunch, is the largest stomach compartment in ruminants and the larger part of the reticulorumen, which is the first chamber in the alimentary canal of ruminant animals. The rumen's microbial favoring environment allows ...
, the
reticulum Reticulum is a small, faint constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for a small net, or reticle—a net of crosshairs at the focus of a telescope eyepiece that is used to measure star positions. The constellation is best viewed betw ...
, the
omasumThe omasum, also known as the bible, the fardel, the manyplies and the psalterium, is the third compartment of the stomach in ruminants. The omasum comes after the rumen and reticulum and before the abomasum. Different ruminants have different omasu ...
, and the
abomasum The ruminant digestive system The abomasum, also known as the maw,udder An udder (not to be confused with utter) is an organ formed of two or four mammary glands on the females of dairy animals and ruminants such as cattle, goats, and sheep. An udder is equivalent to the breast in primates and elephantine pachyderms. ...
consisting of two teats, in contrast to cattle, which have four teats. An exception to this is the , which sometimes may have up to eight teats.


Eyes

Goats have horizontal, slit-shaped
pupils The pupil is a black hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to strike the retina.Cassin, B. and Solomon, S. (1990) ''Dictionary of Eye Terminology''. Gainesville, Florida: Triad Publishing Company. It appears black be ...
. Because goats' irises are usually pale, their contrasting pupils are much more noticeable than in animals such as cattle, deer, most horses, and many sheep, whose similarly horizontal pupils blend into a dark iris and
sclera The sclera, also known as the white of the eye or, in older literature, as the tunica albuginea oculi, is the opaque, fibrous, protective, outer layer of the human eye containing mainly collagen and some crucial elastic fiber. In humans, and many o ...

sclera
.


Beards

Both male and female goats have beards, and many types of goat (most commonly dairy goats, dairy-cross
Boers Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonists of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th and much of the 19th century. From 1652 to 1795, the Dutch East India Company controlle ...

Boers
, and
pygmy goat The American Pygmy is an American breed of achondroplastic goat. It is small, compact and stockily built. Like the Nigerian Dwarf, it derives from the West African Dwarf group of breeds of West Africa. Between 1930 and 1960, animals of this type ...
s) may have
wattles ''Acacia s.l.'' (pronounced or ), known commonly as mimosa, acacia, thorntree or wattle, is a polyphyletic genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae. It was described by the Swedish botanist Carl Li ...
, one dangling from each side of the neck.


Tan

Goats expressing the tan pattern have coats pigmented completely with
pheomelanin Melanin (; from el, μέλας ''melas'', "black, dark") is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. Melanin is produced through a multistage chemical process known as melanogenesis, where the oxidation of the amino ...
(tan/brown pigment). The
allele An allele (, ; ; modern formation from Greek ἄλλος ''állos'', "other") is one of two, or more, forms of a given gene variant. For example, the ABO blood grouping is controlled by the ABO gene, which has six common alleles. Nearly every liv ...
which codes for this pattern is located at the ''agouti locus'' of the goat
genome In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is all genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The genome includes both the genes (the coding regions) and the noncoding DNA, as well as mitochond ...
. It is completely dominant to all other alleles at this
locus Locus (plural loci) is Latin for "place". It may refer to: Entertainment * Locus (comics), a Marvel Comics mutant villainess, a member of the Mutant Liberation Front * ''Locus'' (magazine), science fiction and fantasy magazine ** ''Locus Award'' ...
. There are multiple
modifier genes File:Epistasis.png, Example of epistasis in coat colour genetics: If no pigments can be produced the other coat colour genes have no effect on the phenotype, no matter if they are dominant or if the individual is homozygous. Here the genotype "c ...
which control how much tan pigment is actually expressed, so a tan-patterned goat can have a coat ranging from pure white to deep red.


Reproduction

Goats reach puberty between three and 15 months of age, depending on breed and nutritional status. Many breeders prefer to postpone breeding until the doe has reached 70% of the adult weight. However, this separation is rarely possible in extensively managed, open-range herds. In temperate climates and among the Swiss breeds, the
breeding season Seasonal breeders are animal species that successfully mate only during certain times of the year. These times of year allow for the optimization of survival of young due to factors such as ambient temperature, food and water availability, and chang ...
commences as the day length shortens, and ends in early spring or before. In equatorial regions, goats are able to
breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In literature, there exist several slightl ...
at any time of the year. Successful breeding in these regions depends more on available forage than on day length. Does of any breed or region come into
estrus The oestrous cycle or estrous cycle (derived from Latin ; "frenzy", originally from Greek , ; "gadfly") is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian therian females. Estrous cycles sta ...
(heat) every 21 days for two to 48 hours. A doe in heat typically flags (vigorously wags) her tail often, stays near the buck if one is present, becomes more vocal, and may also show a decrease in appetite and milk production for the duration of the heat. Bucks (intact males) of Swiss and northern breeds come into rut in the fall as with the does' heat cycles. Bucks of equatorial breeds may show seasonal reduced fertility, but as with the does, are capable of breeding at all times. Rut is characterized by a decrease in appetite and obsessive interest in the does. A buck in rut will display
flehmen The flehmen response (; from German ''flehmen'', to bare the upper teeth, and Upper Saxon German ''flemmen'', to look spiteful), also called the flehmen position, flehmen reaction, flehmen grimace, flehming, or flehmening, is a behavior in which an ...
lip curling and will urinate on his forelegs and face. Sebaceous scent glands at the base of the horns add to the male goat's odor, which is important to make him attractive to the female. Some does will not mate with a buck which has been descented. In addition to natural, traditional mating,
artificial insemination#REDIRECT Artificial insemination#REDIRECT Artificial insemination {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
has gained popularity among goat
breeder A breeder is a person who selectively breeds carefully selected mates, normally of the same breed to sexually reproduce offspring with specific, consistently replicable qualities and characteristics. This might be as a farmer, agriculturalist, or ...
s, as it allows easy access to a wide variety of
bloodline Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cells or organisms acquire the genetic informat ...
s.
GestationGestation is the period of development during the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside viviparous animals. It is typical for mammals, but also occurs for some non-mammals. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time, fo ...
length is approximately 150 days.
Twins Twins are two offspring produced by the same pregnancy.MedicineNet > Definition of TwinLast Editorial Review: 19 June 2000 Twins can be either ''monozygotic'' ('identical'), meaning that they develop from one zygote, which splits and forms two emb ...
are the usual result, with single and triplet births also common. Less frequent are litters of quadruplet,
quintuplet A multiple birth is the culmination of one multiple pregnancy, wherein the mother delivers two or more offspring. A term most applicable to vertebrate species, multiple births occur in most kinds of mammals, with varying frequencies. Such births a ...
, and even sextuplet kids. Birthing, known as kidding, generally occurs uneventfully. Just before kidding, the doe will have a sunken area around the tail and hip, as well as heavy breathing. She may have a worried look, become restless and display great affection for her keeper. The mother often eats the placenta, which gives her much-needed nutrients, helps stanch her bleeding, and parallels the behavior of wild
herbivores 250px, A sawfly_larva_feedi ...
, such as deer, to reduce the lure of the birth scent for predators. Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding. Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the doe; dairy goats generally produce between of milk per 305-day
lactation Lactation describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young. The process naturally occurs with all post-pregnancy female mammals, although it predates mammals. In humans the pr ...

lactation
. On average, a good quality dairy doe will give at least of milk per day while she is in milk. A first-time milker may produce less, or as much as , or more of milk in exceptional cases. After the lactation, the doe will "dry off", typically after she has been bred. Occasionally, goats that have not been bred and are continuously milked will continue lactation beyond the typical 305 days. Meat, fiber, and
pet A pet is an animal kept primarily for company, protection or entertainment. Pet or PET may also refer to: People * Petula Clark (born 1932), English singer, actress and composer * Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919–2000), nicknamed PET, former Prime ...

pet
breeds are not usually milked and simply produce enough for the kids until
weaning Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant human or another mammal to what will be its adult diet while withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk. The process takes place only in mammals, as only mammals produce milk. The infant ...
.
Male lactation In zoology, male lactation is production of milk (lactation) from a male mammal's mammary glands. It is well-documented in the Dayak fruit bat and the Bismarck masked flying fox. The term ''male lactation'' is not used in human medicine. It has bee ...
is also known to occur in goats.


Diet

Goats are reputed to be willing to eat almost anything, including tin cans and
cardboard Cardboard is a generic term for heavy-duty paper-based products having greater thickness and superior durability or other specific mechanical attributes to paper; such as foldability, rigidity and impact resistance. The construction can range from ...
boxes. While goats will not actually eat inedible material, they are
browsing Browsing is a kind of orienting strategy. It is supposed to identify something of relevance for the browsing organism. When used about human beings it is a metaphor taken from the animal kingdom. It is used, for example, about people browsing open ...
animals, not grazers like cattle and sheep, and (coupled with their highly curious nature) will chew on and taste just about anything remotely resembling plant matter to decide whether it is good to eat, including cardboard, clothing and paper (such as labels from tin cans). Aside from sampling many things, goats are quite particular in what they actually consume, preferring to browse on the tips of woody shrubs and trees, as well as the occasional broad-leaved plant. However, it can fairly be said that their plant diet is extremely varied, and includes some species which are otherwise toxic. They will seldom consume soiled food or contaminated water unless facing
starvation Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake, below the level needed to maintain an organism's life. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death ...
. This is one reason goat-rearing is most often free-ranging, since stall-fed goat-rearing involves extensive upkeep and is seldom commercially viable. Goats prefer to browse on
vine A vine (Latin ''vīnea'' "grapevine", "vineyard", from ''vīnum'' "wine") is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems, lianas or runners. The word ''vine'' can also refer to such stems or runners themselves ...

vine
s, such as
kudzu Kudzu (; also called Japanese arrowroot or Chinese arrowroot) is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands, but invasive in many parts of the world, primaril ...

kudzu
, on
shrubbery Lady in shrubbery, oil painting by Thomas Bond Walker (1861-1933) A shrubbery is a wide border to a garden where shrubs are thickly planted, or a similar larger area with a path winding through it, typical of the English landscape garden. A singul ...
and on
weed A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fields, gardens, lawns, and parks. Taxonomically, the term "weed" h ...
s, more like deer than sheep, preferring them to grasses.
Nightshade The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that ranges from annual and perennial herbs to vines, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs, and trees, and includes a number of agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and orname ...
is poisonous; wilted fruit tree leaves can also kill goats.
Silage Silage () is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by acidification, achieved through fermentation. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The fermentation and storage proc ...
(fermented corn stalks) and haylage (fermented grass hay) can be used if consumed immediately after opening – goats are particularly sensitive to ''
Listeria ''Listeria'' is a genus of bacteria that acts as an intracellular parasite in mammals. Until 1992, 10 species were known, each containing two subspecies. By 2020, 21 species had been identified. The genus received its current name, after the Bri ...
'' bacteria that can grow in fermented feeds.
Alfalfa Alfalfa () (''Medicago sativa''), also called lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as we ...
, a high-protein plant, is widely fed as
hay Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut and dried to be stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for large grazing animals raised as livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. However, it is also fed ...
;
fescue ''Festuca'' (fescue) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the grass family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). They are evergreen or herbaceous perennial tufted grasses with a height range of and a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on every ...
is the least palatable and least nutritious hay.
Mold A mold () or mould () is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called ''hyphae''. In contrast, fungi that can adopt a single-celled growth habit are called yeasts. Molds are a large and taxonomically diverse number of fun ...
in a goat's feed can make it sick and possibly kill it. In various places in China, goats are used in the production of tea. Goats are released onto the tea terraces where they avoid consuming the green tea leaves (which contain bitter tasting substances) but instead eat the weeds. The goats' droppings fertilise the tea plants. The digestive physiology of a very young kid (like the young of other ruminants) is essentially the same as that of a
monogastricA monogastric organism has a simple single-chambered stomach (one stomach). Examples of monogastric herbivores are horses, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters. Examples of monogastric omnivores include humans, rats, dogs and pigs. Furthermore, carnivores ...
animal. Milk digestion begins in the
abomasum The ruminant digestive system The abomasum, also known as the maw,livestock Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consu ...
, increased protein diets (10 to 14%) and sufficient calories during the prepuberty period yield higher growth rates and larger eventual size than lower protein rates and limited calories. Large-framed goats, with a greater skeletal size, reach mature weight at a later age (36 to 42 months) than small-framed goats (18 to 24 months) if both are fed to their full potential. Large-framed goats need more calories than small-framed goats for maintenance of daily functions.


Behavior

left, Goats establish a dominance hierarchy in flocks, sometimes through head butting. Goats are naturally curious. They are also agile and well known for their ability to climb and balance in precarious places. This makes them the only
ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes pla ...
to regularly climb trees. Due to their agility and inquisitiveness, they are notorious for escaping their pens by testing fences and enclosures, either intentionally or simply because they are used to climbing. If any of the fencing can be overcome, goats will almost inevitably escape. Goats have been found to be as intelligent as dogs by some studies. When handled as a group, goats tend to display less herding behavior than sheep. When grazing undisturbed, they tend to spread across the field or range, rather than feed side by side as do sheep. When nursing young, goats will leave their kids separated ("lying out") rather than clumped, as do sheep. They will generally turn and face an intruder and bucks are more likely to charge or butt at humans than are
rams RAMS is an acronym for Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety,
. A study by Queen Mary University reports that goats try to communicate with people in the same manner as domesticated animals such as dogs and horses. Goats were first domesticated as livestock more than 10,000 years ago. Research conducted to test communication skills found that the goats will look to a human for assistance when faced with a challenge that had previously been mastered, but was then modified. Specifically, when presented with a box, the goat was able to remove the lid and retrieve a treat inside, but when the box was turned so the lid could not be removed, the goat would turn and gaze at the person and move toward them, before looking back toward the box. This is the same type of complex communication observed by animals bred as domestic pets, such as dogs. Researchers believe that better understanding of human-goat interaction could offer overall improvement in the animals' welfare. The field of anthrozoology has established that domesticated animals have the capacity for complex communication with humans when in 2015 a Japanese scientist determined that levels of oxytocin did increase in human subjects when dogs were exposed to a dose of the "love hormone", proving that a human-animal bond does exist. This is the same affinity that was proven with the London study above; goats are intelligent, capable of complex communication, and able to form bonds.


Diseases

While goats are generally considered hardy animals and in many situations receive little medical care, they are subject to a number of diseases. Among the conditions affecting goats are respiratory diseases including
pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung primarily affecting the small air sacs known as alveoli. Symptoms typically include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing. The severity of the ...
, foot rot, internal parasites, pregnancy toxicosis, and feed toxicity. Feed toxicity can vary based on breed and location. Certain foreign fruits and vegetables can be toxic to different breeds of goats. Goats can become infected with various viral and bacterial diseases, such as
foot-and-mouth disease Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever lasting two to six days, followed ...
,
caprine arthritis encephalitisCaprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) is a viral disease of goats caused by a lentivirus called caprine arthritis encephalitis virus. The disease is found worldwide. Two syndromes of CAE occur. Adult goats develop a chronic progressive arthritis, whe ...
, caseous lymphadenitis, pinkeye, mastitis, and
pseudorabies Aujeszky's disease, usually called pseudorabies in the United States, is a viral disease in swine that has been endemic in most parts of the world. It is caused by ''Suid herpesvirus 1'' (SuHV-1). Aujeszky's disease is considered to be the most ec ...
. They can transmit a number of zoonotic diseases to people, such as
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in which cas ...
,
brucellosis Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals, or close contact with their secretions. It is also known as undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever. ''B ...
,
Q-fever Q fever or query fever is a disease caused by infection with ''Coxiella burnetii'', a bacterium that affects humans and other animals. This organism is uncommon, but may be found in cattle, sheep, goats, and other domestic mammals, including c ...
, and
rabies Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. Early symptoms can include fever and tingling at the site of exposure. These symptoms are followed by one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vo ...
.


Life expectancy

Life expectancy for goats is between 15 and 18 years. An instance of a goat reaching the age of 24 has been reported. Several factors can reduce this average expectancy; problems during kidding can lower a doe's expected life span to 10 or 11, and stresses of going into rut can lower a buck's expected life span to eight to 10 years.


Agriculture

A goat is useful to humans when it is living and when it is dead, first as a renewable provider of
milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is calle ...

milk
,
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable. Manure is organic matter that is used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Most manure consists of animal feces; other sources inclu ...
, and
fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural or man-made substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The strongest engineering materials often incorporate fibers ...
, and then as meat and hide. Some
charities A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. educational, religious or other activities serving the public interest or common good). The legal definition of a chari ...
provide goats to
impoverished Poverty is the state of not having enough material possessions or income for a person's basic needs. Poverty may include social, economic, and political elements. ''Absolute poverty'' is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic pe ...
people in poor countries, because goats are easier and cheaper to manage than
cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus ''Bos'', and are most commonly clas ...

cattle
, and have multiple uses. In addition, goats are used for driving and
packing
packing
purposes. The intestine of goats is used to make "
catgut A piece of gut cello string Catgut (also known as gut) is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fiber found in the walls of animal intestines. Catgut makers usually use sheep or goat intestines, but occasionally use the intestines of cat ...
", which is still in use as a material for internal human
surgical suture Surgical suture is a medical device used to hold body tissues together after an injury or surgery. Application generally involves using a needle with an attached length of thread. A number of different shapes, sizes, and thread materials have been ...

surgical suture
s and strings for
musical instruments A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...
. The horn of the goat, which signifies plenty and wellbeing (the
cornucopia In classical antiquity, the cornucopia (), from Latin ''cornu'' (horn) and ''copiae'' (abundance), also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers ...
), is also used to make
spoon A spoon is a utensil consisting of a small shallow bowl (also known as a head), oval or round, at the end of a handle. A type of cutlery (sometimes called flatware in the United States), especially as part of a place setting, it is used primarily ...
s.


Worldwide population statistics

According to the
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency of ...
(FAO), the top producers of goat milk in 2008 were India (4 million metric tons), Bangladesh (2.16 million metric tons), and the Sudan (1.47 million metric tons). India slaughters 41% of 124.4 million goats each year. The 0.6 million metric tonnes of goat meat make up 8% of India's annual meat production. Approximately 440 million goats are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.


Husbandry

Husbandry, or animal care and use, varies by region and culture. The particular housing used for goats depends not only on the intended use of the goat, but also on the region of the world where they are raised. Historically, domestic goats were generally kept in herds that wandered on hills or other grazing areas, often tended by
goatherd 240px, A man herding goats in Tunisia A goatherd or goatherder is a person who herds goats as a vocational activity. It is similar to a shepherd who herds sheep. Goatherds are most commonly found in regions where goat populations are significant; f ...
s who were frequently children or adolescents, similar to the more widely known
shepherd A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep. ''Shepherd'' derives from Old English ''sceaphierde (''sceap'' 'sheep' + ''hierde'' 'herder'). ''Shepherding is one of the world's oldest occupations, a ...
. These methods of
herding Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group, and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. Herding can refer either to the process of animals forming herds in th ...
are still used today. In some parts of the world, especially Europe and North America, distinct breeds of goats are kept for dairy (milk) and for meat production. Excess male kids of dairy breeds are typically slaughtered for meat. Both does and bucks of meat breeds may be slaughtered for meat, as well as older animals of any breed. The meat of older bucks (more than one year old) is generally considered not desirable for meat for human consumption. Castration at a young age prevents the development of typical buck odor. Dairy goats are generally pastured in summer and may be stabled during the winter. As dairy does are milked daily, they are generally kept close to the milking shed. Their grazing is typically supplemented with hay and concentrates. Stabled goats may be kept in stalls similar to horses, or in larger group pens. In the US system, does are generally rebred annually. In some European commercial dairy systems, the does are bred only twice, and are milked continuously for several years after the second kidding. Meat goats are more frequently pastured year-round, and may be kept many miles from barns. Angora and other fiber breeds are also kept on pasture or range. Range-kept and pastured goats may be supplemented with hay or concentrates, most frequently during the winter or dry seasons. In the
Indian subcontinent#REDIRECT Indian subcontinent#REDIRECT Indian subcontinent {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Indian subcontinent and much of Asia, goats are kept largely for milk production, both in commercial and household settings. The goats in this area may be kept closely housed or may be allowed to range for fodder. The Salem Black goat is herded to pasture in fields and along roads during the day, but is kept penned at night for safe-keeping. In Africa and the Mideast, goats are typically run in flocks with sheep. This maximizes the production per acre, as goats and sheep prefer different food plants. Multiple types of goat-raising are found in Ethiopia, where four main types have been identified: pastured in annual crop systems, in perennial crop systems, with cattle, and in arid areas, under pastoral (nomadic) herding systems. In all four systems, however, goats were typically kept in extensive systems, with few purchased inputs. Household goats are traditionally kept in Nigeria. While many goats are allowed to wander the homestead or village, others are kept penned and fed in what is called a 'cut-and-carry' system. This type of husbandry is also used in parts of Latin America. Cut-and-carry, which refers to the practice of cutting down grasses, corn or cane for feed rather than allowing the animal access to the field, is particularly suited for types of feed, such as corn or cane, that are easily destroyed by trampling. Pet goats may be found in many parts of the world when a family keeps one or more animals for emotional reasons rather than as production animals. It is becoming more common for goats to be kept exclusively as pets in North America and Europe.


Meat

The taste of goat kid meat is similar to that of spring lamb meat; in fact, in the English-speaking islands of the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
, and in some parts of Asia, particularly
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 163 million people, in an area of , ma ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212.2 million, and has the wor ...
, and
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Oce ...

India
, the word "
mutton Lamb, hogget, and mutton, generically sheep meat, are the meat of domestic sheep, ''Ovis aries''. A sheep in its first year is a lamb and its meat is also lamb. A sheep in its second year and its meat are hogget. Older sheep meat is mutton. Gen ...
" is used to describe both goat and sheep meat. However, some compare the taste of goat meat to
veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed; however, most veal comes from young males of dairy breeds which are not used for breeding. Generally, veal is mo ...
or
venison Venison originally meant the meat of a game animal but now refers primarily to the meat of elk or deer (or antelope in South Africa). Venison can be used to refer to any part of the animal, so long as it can be consumed, including the internal or ...
, depending on the age and condition of the goat. Its flavor is said to be primarily linked to the presence of 4-methyloctanoic and 4-methylnonanoic acid. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including
stewing A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow- ...
,
baking Baking is a method of preparing food that uses dry heat, typically in an oven, but can also be done in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred "from ...
,
grilling Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below or from the side. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat an ...

grilling
,
barbecuing Barbecue or barbeque (informally BBQ in the UK; Barbie in Australia and in South Africa Braai) is a term used with significant regional and national variations to describe various cooking methods which use live fire and smoke to cook the food. ...
,
canning Special-edition steel soup cans commemorating paintings ">Campbell's Soup Cans#altered colors">paintings Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container (jars like Mason ...

canning
, and
frying Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat. Similar to sautéing, pan-fried foods are generally turned over once or twice during cooking, using tongs or a spatula, while sautéed foods are cooked by "tossing in the pan". A large variety ...
; it can be
minced Mincing is a food preparation technique in which food ingredients are finely divided into uniform pieces. Minced food is in smaller pieces than diced or chopped foods, and is often prepared with a chef's knife or food processor, or in the case of m ...
, curried, or made into
sausage Full Scottish breakfast: Black pudding, Lorne sausage, toast, fried mushrooms and baked beans.">Lorne_sausage.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Black pudding, Lorne sausage">Black pudding, Lorne sausage, toa ...
. Due to its low fat content, the meat can toughen at high temperatures if cooked without additional moisture. One of the most popular goats grown for meat is the
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
n
Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonists of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th and much of the 19th century. From 1652 to 1795, the Dutch East India Company controlle ...

Boer
, introduced into the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
in the early 1990s. The
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
Kiko is also considered a meat breed, as is the myotonic or "fainting goat", a breed originating in
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. It is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to ...
.


Milk, butter, and cheese

Goats produce about 2% of the world's total annual milk supply. Some goats are bred specifically for
milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is calle ...

milk
. If the strong-smelling buck is not separated from the does, his scent will affect the milk. Goat milk naturally has small, well-emulsified fat globules, which means the cream remains suspended in the milk, instead of rising to the top, as in raw cow milk; therefore, it does not need to be
homogenized Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the sciences and statistics relating to the uniformity of a substance or organism. A material or image that is homogeneous is uniform in composition or character (i.e. color, shape, size, we ...
. Indeed, if the milk is to be used to make cheese, homogenization is not recommended, as this changes the structure of the milk, affecting the culture's ability to coagulate the milk and the final quality and yield of cheese. Dairy goats in their prime (generally around the third or fourth lactation cycle) average——of milk production daily—roughly —during a ten-month
lactation Lactation describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young. The process naturally occurs with all post-pregnancy female mammals, although it predates mammals. In humans the pr ...

lactation
, producing more just after freshening and gradually dropping in production toward the end of their lactation. The milk generally averages 3.5%
butterfatButterfat or milkfat is the fatty portion of milk. Milk and cream are often sold according to the amount of butterfat they contain. Composition Butterfat is mainly composed of triglycerides. Each triglyceride contains three fatty acids. Butterfa ...
. Goat milk is commonly processed into
cheese Cheese is a dairy product, derived from milk and produced in wide ranges of flavors, textures and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Du ...

cheese
,
butter Butter is a dairy product made from the fat and protein components of milk or cream. It is a semi-solid emulsion at room temperature, consisting of approximately 80% butterfat. It is used at room temperature as a spread, melted as a condiment, ...
,
ice cream Ice cream (derived from earlier iced cream or cream ice) is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from dairy milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and any spic ...
,
yogurt Yogurt (; , from tr, yoğurt, arm, յոգուրտ) also spelled yoghurt, yogourt or yoghourt, is a food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as ''yogurt cultures''. Fermentation of sugars in th ...
, ''
cajeta ''Cajeta'' is a confection of thickened caramel usually made of sweetened caramelised goat's milk. It is a type of ''dulce de leche''. In Mexico, it is considered a specialty of the city of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato. ''Cajeta'' is made b ...
'' and other products.
Goat cheese Goat cheese, or chevre ( or ; from the French word for ''goat''), is cheese made from goat's milk. Goat cheeses are made in a wide variety of styles, from soft fresh cheese to hard aged cheese. Properties Cow's milk and goat's milk have simila ...
is known as ''fromage de chèvre'' ("goat cheese") in France. Some varieties include
Rocamadour Rocamadour (; ''Rocamador'' in Occitan) is a commune in the Lot department in Southwestern France. It lies in the former province of Quercy. Rocamadour has attracted visitors for its setting in a gorge above a tributary of the River Dordogne, and ...
and Montrachet. Goat
butter Butter is a dairy product made from the fat and protein components of milk or cream. It is a semi-solid emulsion at room temperature, consisting of approximately 80% butterfat. It is used at room temperature as a spread, melted as a condiment, ...
is white because goats produce milk with the yellow
beta-carotene#REDIRECT Beta-Carotene#REDIRECT Beta-Carotene {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
converted to a colorless form of
vitamin A Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene). Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for growth and development, f ...

vitamin A
. Goat milk has less cholesterol


Nutrition

The
American Academy of Pediatrics The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is an American professional association of pediatricians, headquartered in Itasca, Illinois. It maintains its Department of Federal Affairs office in Washington, D.C. Background The Academy was founded i ...
discourages feeding infants milk derived from goats. An April 2010 case report summarizes their recommendation and presents "a comprehensive review of the consequences associated with this dangerous practice", also stating, "Many infants are exclusively fed unmodified goat's milk as a result of cultural beliefs as well as exposure to false online information. Anecdotal reports have described a host of morbidities associated with that practice, including severe electrolyte abnormalities, metabolic acidosis, megaloblastic anemia, allergic reactions including life-threatening anaphylactic shock, hemolytic uremic syndrome, and infections." Untreated caprine
brucellosis Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals, or close contact with their secretions. It is also known as undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever. ''B ...
results in a 2% case fatality rate. According to the
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, and ...
, doe milk is not recommended for human infants because it contains "inadequate quantities of
iron Iron () is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from la, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, right in front of o ...

iron
,
folate Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and folacin, is one of the B vitamins. Manufactured folic acid, which is converted into folate by the body, is used as a dietary supplement and in food fortification as it is more stable during processing and s ...
, vitamins C and D,
thiamine Thiamine, also known as thiamin or vitamin B1, is a vitamin found in food and manufactured as a dietary supplement and medication. Food sources of thiamine include whole grains, legumes, and some meats and fish. Grain processing removes much of t ...
,
niacin Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is an organic compound and a form of vitamin B3, an essential human nutrient. It can be manufactured by plants and animals from the amino acid tryptophan. Niacin is obtained in the diet from a variety of w ...
, vitamin B6, and
pantothenic acid Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5 is a water-soluble B vitamin and therefore an essential nutrient. All animals require pantothenic acid in order to synthesize coenzyme A (CoA) – essential for fatty acid metabolism – as well as to in ...
to meet an infant’s nutritional needs" and may cause harm to an infant's
kidneys The kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs found in vertebrates. They are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space, and in adult humans are about in length. They receive blood from the paired renal arteries; blood ex ...
and could cause metabolic damage. The department of health in the United Kingdom has repeatedly released statements stating on various occasions that "Goats' milk is not suitable for babies, and infant formulas and follow-on formulas based on goats' milk protein have not been approved for use in Europe", and "infant milks based on goats' milk protein are not suitable as a source of nutrition for infants." Moreover, according to the Canadian federal health department ''Health Canada'', most of the dangers of, and counter-indications for, feeding unmodified goat's milk to infants parallel those associated with unmodified cow's milk — especially insofar as allergic reactions go. However, some farming groups promote the practice. For example, Small Farm Today, in 2005, claimed beneficial use in invalid and convalescent diets, proposing that
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s, possibly important in nutrition for nursing infants, are much higher in does' milk than in cows' milk. A 1970 book on animal breeding claimed that does' milk differs from cows' or humans' milk by having higher digestibility, distinct
alkalinity Alkalinity (from Arabic "''al-qalī''") is the capacity of water to resist acidification. It should not be confused with basicity which is an absolute measurement on the pH scale. Alkanity is the strength of a buffer solution composed of weak a ...
, higher buffering capacity, and certain therapeutic values in human medicine and nutrition. George Mateljan suggested doe milk can replace ewe milk or cow milk in diets of those who are allergic to certain mammals' milk. However, like cow milk, doe milk has
lactose Lactose is a disaccharide. It is a sugar composed of galactose and glucose subunits and has the molecular formula C12H22O11. Lactose makes up around 2–8% of milk (by weight). The name comes from ' (gen. '), the Latin word for milk, plus the su ...

lactose
(sugar), and may cause gastrointestinal problems for individuals with
lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance is a common condition caused by a decreased ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. Those affected vary in the amount of lactose they can tolerate before symptoms develop. Symptoms may include abdominal pain ...
. In fact, the level of lactose is similar to that of cow milk. Some researchers and companies producing goat's milk products have made claims that goat's milk is better for human health than most Western cow's milk due to it mostly lacking a form of β-casein proteins called A1, and instead mostly containing the A2 form, which does not metabolize to β-casomorphin 7 in the body. These compositions vary by breed (especially in the Nigerian Dwarf breed), animal, and point in the lactation period.


Fiber

The Angora breed of goats produces long, curling, lustrous locks of mohair. The entire body of the goat is covered with mohair and there are no guard hairs. The locks constantly grow to four inches or more in length. Angora crossbreeds, such as the Pygora goat, pygora and the nigora, have been created to produce mohair and/or cashgora on a smaller, easier-to-manage animal. The wool is Sheep shearing, shorn twice a year, with an average yield of about . Most goats have softer insulating hairs nearer the skin, and longer guard hairs on the surface. The desirable fiber for the textile industry is the former, and it goes by several names (down, cashmere and pashmina). The coarse guard hairs are of little value as they are too coarse, difficult to spin and difficult to dye. The cashmere goat produces a commercial quantity of cashmere wool, which is one of the most expensive natural fibers commercially produced; cashmere is very fine and soft. The cashmere goat fiber is harvested once a year, yielding around of down. In South Asia, cashmere is called "pashmina" (from Persian language, Persian ''pashmina'', "fine wool"). In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Kashmir (then called Cashmere by the British), had a thriving industry producing shawls from goat-hair imported from Tibet and Tartary through Ladakh. The shawls were introduced into Western Europe when the General in Chief of the French campaign in Egypt (1799–1802) sent one to Paris. Since these shawls were produced in the upper Kashmir and Ladakh region, the wool came to be known as "cashmere".


Land clearing

Goats have been used by humans to clear unwanted vegetation for centuries. They have been described as "eating machines" and "biological control agents". There has been a resurgence of this in North America since 1990, when herds were used to clear dry brush from California hillsides thought to be endangered by potential wildfires. This form of using goats to clear land is sometimes known as conservation grazing. Since then, numerous public and private agencies have hired private herds from companies such as Rent A Goat to perform similar tasks. This may be expensive and their smell may be a nuisance. This practice has become popular in the Pacific Northwest, where they are used to remove invasive species not easily removed by humans, including (thorned) blackberry vines and poison oak. Chattanooga, TN and Spartanburg, SC have used goats to control
kudzu Kudzu (; also called Japanese arrowroot or Chinese arrowroot) is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands, but invasive in many parts of the world, primaril ...

kudzu
, an invasive plant species prevalent in the southeastern United States.


Use for medical training

As a goat's anatomy and physiology is not too dissimilar from that of humans, some countries' militaries use goats to train combat medics. In the United States, goats have become the main animal species used for this purpose after the Pentagon phased out using dogs for medical training in the 1980s. While modern Mannequin#Medical education, mannequins used in medical training are quite efficient in simulating the behavior of a human body, trainees feel that "the goat exercise provide[s] a sense of urgency that only real life trauma can provide".


As pets

Some people choose goats as a pet because of their ability to form close bonds with their human guardians. Because of goats' herd mentality, they will follow their owners around and form close bonds with them.


Breeds

Goat breeds fall into overlapping, general categories. They are generally distributed in those used for dairy, fiber, meat, skins, and as companion animals. Some breeds are also particularly noted as pack goats.


Showing

Goat
breeder A breeder is a person who selectively breeds carefully selected mates, normally of the same breed to sexually reproduce offspring with specific, consistently replicable qualities and characteristics. This might be as a farmer, agriculturalist, or ...
s' clubs frequently hold Show (animal), shows, where goats are judged on traits relating to Equine conformation, conformation,
udder An udder (not to be confused with utter) is an organ formed of two or four mammary glands on the females of dairy animals and ruminants such as cattle, goats, and sheep. An udder is equivalent to the breast in primates and elephantine pachyderms. ...
quality, evidence of high production, longevity, build and muscling (meat goats and pet goats) and fiber production and the fiber itself (fiber goats). People who show their goats usually keep registered stock and the offspring of award-winning animals command a higher price. Registered goats, in general, are usually higher-priced if for no other reason than that records have been kept proving their ancestry and the production and other data of their sires, dams, and other ancestors. A registered doe is usually less of a gamble than buying a doe at random (as at an auction or sale barn) because of these records and the reputation of the breeder. Children's clubs such as 4-H also allow goats to be shown. Children's shows often include a showmanship class, where the cleanliness and presentation of both the animal and the exhibitor as well as the handler's ability and skill in handling the goat are scored. In a showmanship class, conformation is irrelevant since this is not what is being judged. Various "Dairy Goat Scorecards" (milking does) are systems used for judging shows in the US. The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) scorecard for an adult doe includes a point system of a hundred total with major categories that include general appearance, the dairy character of a doe (physical traits that aid and increase milk production), body capacity, and specifically for the mammary system. Young stock and bucks are judged by different scorecards which place more emphasis on the other three categories; general appearance, body capacity, and dairy character. The American Goat Society (AGS) has a similar, but not identical scorecard that is used in their shows. The miniature dairy goats may be judged by either of the two scorecards. The "Angora Goat scorecard" used by the Colored Angora Goat Breeder's Association (CAGBA), which covers the white and the colored goats, includes evaluation of an animal's fleece color, density, uniformity, fineness, and general body confirmation. Disqualifications include: a deformed mouth, broken down pasterns, deformed feet, crooked legs, abnormalities of testicles, missing testicles, more than 3 inch split in scrotum, and close-set or distorted horns.


Mythology and folklore

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Ebla in Syria discovered, among others, the tomb of some king or great noble which included a throne decorated with bronze goat heads. That led to this tomb becoming known as "The Tomb of the Lord of the Goats". According to Norse mythology, the god of thunder, Thor, has a chariot that is pulled by the goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. At night when he sets up camp, Thor eats the meat of the goats, but takes care that all bones remain whole. Then he wraps the remains up, and in the morning, the goats always come back to life to pull the chariot. When a farmer's son who is invited to share the meal breaks one of the goats' leg bones to suck the marrow, the animal's leg remains broken in the morning, and the boy is forced to serve Thor as a servant to compensate for the damage. Possibly related, the Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Yule Goat originally denoted the goat that was slaughtered around Yule, but it may also indicate a goat figure made out of straw. It is also used about the custom of going door-to-door singing carols and getting food and drinks in return, often fruit, cakes and sweets. "Going Yule Goat" is similar to the British custom wassailing, both with roots. The Gävle Goat is a giant version of the Yule Goat, erected every year in the Swedish city of Gävle. The Greek god Pan (mythology), Pan is said to have the upper body of a man and the horns and lower body of a goat. Pan was a very lustful god, nearly all of the myths involving him had to do with him chasing nymphs. He is also credited with creating the pan flute. The goat is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Each animal is associated with certain personality traits; those born in a year of the Goat (zodiac), goat are predicted to be shy, introverted, creative, and perfectionist. Several mythological hybrid creatures are believed to consist of parts of the goat, including the Chimera (mythology), Chimera. The Capricornus, Capricorn sign in the Western zodiac is usually depicted as a goat with a fish's tail. Fauns and satyrs are mythological creatures that are part goat and part human. The mineral bromine is named from the Greek word "brόmos", which means "stench of he-goats". Popular Christianity in Europe, Christian folk tradition in Europe associated Satan with imagery of goats. A common superstition in the Middle Ages was that goats whispered lewd sentences in the ears of the saints. The origin of this belief was probably the behavior of the buck in estrus cycle, rut, the very epitome of lust. The common medieval depiction of the devil was that of a goat-like face with horns and small beard (a goatee). The Black Mass, a probably mythological "Satanic mass", involved Satan manifesting as a black goat for worship. The goat has had a lingering connection with Satanism and Paganism, pagan religions, even into modern times. The inverted pentagram, a symbol used in Satanism, is said to be shaped like a goat's head. The "Baphomet of Mendes" refers to a Satanic goat-like figure from 19th-century occultism. In Finland the tradition of ''Nuutinpäivä''—St. Knut's Day, January 13—involves young men dressed as goats (Finnish: ''Nuuttipukki'') who visit houses. Usually the dress was an inverted fur jacket, a leather or birch bark mask, and horns. Unlike the analogues Santa Claus, Nuuttipukki was a scary character (cf. Krampus). The men dressed as Nuuttipukki wandered from house to house, came in, and typically demanded food from the household and especially leftover alcoholic beverages. In Finland the Nuuttipukki tradition is still kept alive in areas of Satakunta, Southwest Finland and Ostrobothnia (region), Ostrobothnia. However, nowadays the character is usually played by children and now involves a happy encounter. The common Russian surname ''Kozlov (disambiguation)#People with the surname, Kozlov'' (russian: Козло́в), means "goat". Goatee refers to a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man's chin, so named because of some similarity to a goat's facial feature.


Religion

Image:Baphomet.png, left, Baphomet, a deity commonly portrayed as having the head of a goat and a human body. Goats are mentioned many times in the Bible. Their importance in ancient Israel is indicated by the seven different Hebrew and three Greek terms used in the Bible. A goat is considered a "clean" animal by Kosher, Jewish dietary laws and a kid was slaughtered for an honored guest. It was also acceptable for some kinds of sacrifices. Goat-hair curtains were used in the tent that contained the tabernacle (Book of Exodus, Exodus 25:4). Its horns can be used instead of sheep's horn to make a shofar.Chusid, Michael T
''Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram's Horn''
2009.
On Yom Kippur, the festival of the Day of Atonement, two goats were chosen and lots were drawn for them. One was sacrificed and the other allowed to escape into the wilderness, symbolically carrying with it the sins of the community. From this comes the word "scapegoat". A leader or king was sometimes compared to a male goat leading the flock. In the New Testament (Gospel of Matthew, Matthew 25), Jesus returned to Jerusalem the first day of the week (Sunday) before his crucifixion. Having visited the Jewish Temple, Jesus met with his disciples on the Mount of Olives outside the city. At the end of an extended discourse he told of a time after his Resurrection when he would return in glory and sit in judgement of Gentile nations of the world using a metaphor of the Sheep and the Goats. Commonly sheep and goats grazed together in mixed herds. In Matthew 25:31–46, Jesus said that like a shepherd he will separate the nations placing on his right hand the sheep, those who have shown kindness to needy and suffering disciples of Jesus and others. These he will reward, but the goats at his left hand, who failed to show kindness, will be punished. Although both sheep and goats were valued as livestock, this preference for sheep may relate to the importance of wool and the superior meat of adult sheep compared to the poor meat of adult goats.


Feral goats

Goats readily revert to the wild (become feral) if given the opportunity. The only domestic animal known to return to feral life as swiftly is the cat. Feral goats have established themselves in many areas: they occur in Australia,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
, Great Britain, the Galapagos and in many other places. When feral goats reach large populations in habitats which provide unlimited water supply and which do not contain sufficient large predators or which are otherwise vulnerable to goats' aggressive grazing habits, they may have serious effects, such as removing native Scrubland, scrub, trees and other vegetation which is required by a wide range of other creatures, not just other grazing or browsing animals. Feral goats are extremely common in Australia, with an estimated 2.6 million in the mid-1990s. However, in other circumstances where predator pressure is maintained, they may be accommodated into some balance in the local food web.


See also

*Goat tower *Sheep–goat chimera *Sheep–goat hybrid


References


External links


Goat breeds from the Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University

The American Dairy Goat Association

British Goat Society

International Goat Association

North American Packgoats Association
{{Authority control Goats, Capra (genus) Goat's-milk cheeses Herbivorous mammals Livestock Mammals described in 1758