There is a definite chill in the air as the world slips deeper into autumn. The days are growing shorter and shorter and the winds have a bit of a bite. Make sure to wear lots of cozy layers! Just make sure those jumpers and cardigans aren’t made of mohair – remember our friends the Angola goats. Be kind to our curly caprine friends and choose plant-based fabrics instead.
They say that the month of March “goes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” indicating the end of winter and beginning of spring. Well, so far, April in the UK has been blustery and cold and not very springlike so far. Hopefully it will warm up soon, in the mean time, bundle up!
Today’s goat comes from Lavonia, Georgia USA. His name is Ernest and he is a lucky fellow who lives at The Haven Zoo. The Haven was founded by JohnieSue Thurman to provide a safe home for displaced exotic animals, promote conservation and animal welfare, as well as providing an opportunity for interactive education with visitors. JohnieSue is an anthropologist who specializes specifically in primates, although the zoo is home to a variety of animals, including a dozen or so goats! The Haven Zoo also has opportunities for volunteers and support.
It is getting cold out there, I strongly suggest dressing in layers. Angora goats are known for their distinctive, soft and luxurious coat that is processed to make mohair. Mohair is often a popular choice for winter clothing because it is very easy to dye as it is naturally white or silver. However, in recent years, it has come to light that Angora goats exploited for their wonderful coats are heinously and cruelly abused, leading some major clothing companies to ban mohair altogether. Although mohair knits can be snuggly and warm, there are plenty of perfectly suitable synthetic options that don’t involve cruelty towards the Angora goats.
Miniature goat breeds include pygmy, Nigerian dwarf and pygora. These goats have been bred to be smaller than other goat breeds and as such are a popular choice for urban farms and homesteads as well as for pets. They are typically quite friendly and require less space than other goat breeds. They are social creatures, so it is recommended that you get at least two.
One of the many reasons why I find goats to be such inspiring creatures is that they always appear to be thinking about something. What do goats think about? Do they think about the welfare of other goats? Do they think about climate change? Do they think about geopolitical mishaps and troublesome election results? Do they concern themselves with human affairs at all? Is there some kind of caprine realpolitik that they are all carrying out; or rather, a moral ethical code each goat is compelled to fulfill? Are they just contemplating which plant is would be the delicious? Are they plotting an eventual global goat liberation moment where they will collectively free themselves of their pens and fences and break free from human bondage? It is unlikely that humans will ever discover the answer to these and other questions about goat thought and goat behavior.
In full disclosure, I have spent my life living in urban areas. Goats were fascinating creatures at petting zoos for me growing up. I rarely set foot on any actual farms until I was an adult. Writing Goat of the Day on Facebook and now for this blog has brought me to many wonderful goat stories – goats helping out other goats, goats getting into hilarious and bizarre situations, and the evolution of goats alongside the evolution of humans. Sadly, it has come to my attention that some goats, just like some people, are victims of neglect and abuse. Thankfully, there are sanctuaries that exist for these goats to be cared for and live happy lives, such as Goats of Anarchy in the US and Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in the UK. On Thursday, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to visit Buttercups and spend a lovely afternoon hanging out with goats and taking pictures with my family. So far, this blog has featured all photographs I have taken; however, I am happy to accept goat material to share in future posts. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.