The two breeds of goats here at the farm are Toggenburgs and Anglo-Nubians. It is easy to distinguish between them: the Toggenburgs have upright ears and a slightly concave facial profile, while the Anglo-Nubians have a curved ‘Roman’ nose and long drooping ears. Some of the young goats are a cross between the two breeds.
Their names tell us their origins: Toggenburgs originate from the Toggenburg Valley in Switzerland, and Anglo-Nubians were developed in Britain by crossing native with Middle Eastern and North African breeds.
Billies, Nannies and Kids
A male goat is called a billy, a female is called a nanny, and baby goats are called kids. Both females and males have horns, but often these have been removed for safety reasons. In bearded breeds, both sexes can also have beards.
Most of the adult goats in the farmyard are nannies; the billy has its own pen elsewhere. The nannies give birth in the spring, normally to 1-3 kids — most often twins.
Goats – both useful and fun!
Goats are reared mainly for meat and milk (from which goats cheese is also made) and sometimes also their hides and hair are used.
Here at Surrey Docks Farm, they are kept mainly for breeding and meat, which is sold here when available. Most importantly however, the goats provide some of the best animal interaction and entertainment!
Goat interests – eating and climbing
Goats are wonderfully curious and mischievous — they will nibble at anything they can reach, and have an insatiable interest in eating, which is why it’s not safe to go inside the yard when bearing food! They eat cereals, hay and plants.
In the wild, goats are mostly mountain animals; they all love climbing and are experts at steep slopes, dangerous jumps, balancing on ledges and scaling summits, and are keen escapists in the pursuit of food, so shut those gates care fully behind you…