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The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of
goat-antelope The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants ( Ruminantia) are large herbivorous grazing or browsing s that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by it in a specialized prior to digestion, principally through mic ...
typically kept as
livestock Livestock are the 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 predictabl ...
. It was
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 sec ...

domesticated
from the
wild goat The wild goat or common ibex (''Capra aegagrus'') is a wild goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of goat-antelope The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous m ...

wild goat
(''C. aegagrus'') of
Southwest Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to t ...
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
. The goat is a member of the animal family
Bovidae The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order (biology), order and genus. A family may be divided into su ...
and the subfamily
Caprinae The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant Ruminants ( Ruminantia) are large herbivorous grazing or browsing s that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by it in a specialized prior to digestion, principally through mic ...
, 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 (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

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 slight ...
s of goat.Hirst, K. Kris
"The History of the Domestication of Goats".
''
About.com Dotdash (formerly About.com) is an American digital media Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital media can be created, vi ...
''. 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 A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

milk
,
meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiratio ...

meat
,
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular bi ...
, 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 French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a count ...

goat cheese
. Female goats are referred to as ''does'' or ''nannies'',
intact Intact can refer to: * An entire building, generally in good condition not dilapidated or ruins *Intact (group of companies), a Romanian media trust *''Intact'' (album) and "Intact" (song) by Ned's Atomic Dustbin *''Intacto'', a film *Entire (animal ...
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 Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty t ...

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
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 list of specialized ...
.


Etymology

The
Modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th cen ...

Modern English
word ''goat'' comes from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
''gāt'' "she-goat, goat in general", which in turn derives from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
*''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 Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
''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 The German la ...

German
''Geiß'', and
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
''gaits''), ultimately from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
''*ǵʰaidos'' meaning "young goat" (cf.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, 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 ...

Latin
''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 Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in West ...
of the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani ...
is the likely original ancestor of probably all domestic goats today.
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
farmers began to herd wild goats primarily for easy access to
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
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 proper was not yet settled by humans. Ganj Dareh (Persian language, Persian: ت ...

Ganj Dareh
in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
,
Choga Mami Choga Mami is a Samarra Samarra ( ar, سَامَرَّاء, ') is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆمار ...
,
Djeitun Jeitun (Djeitun) is an archaeological site of the Neolithic period in southern Turkmenistan, about 30 kilometers north of Ashgabat in the Kopet-Dag mountain range. The settlement was occupied from about 7200 to 4500 BC possibly with short interrup ...
, and
Çayönü Çayönü Tepesi is a 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 ...
, dating the domestication of goats in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
at between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago. Studies of DNA evidence suggests 10,000 years ago as the domestication date. Historically, goat hide has been used for water and
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flow ...

wine
bottles in both traveling and transporting wine for sale. It has also been used to produce
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
.


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 ...
, 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 horn (anatomy), horns. Cattle Cattle can have as many as six horns, and occasionally more. Sheep Polycerate sheep breeds include the Hebridean sheep, Hebridean, Icelandic sheep, Ic ...
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 sex characteristics Sexual characteristics are physical or behavioral traits of an organism (typically of a sexually dimorphic organism) which are indicative of its biological sex. Th ...
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 structural fibrous proteins also known as ''scleroproteins''. Alpha-keratin Alpha-keratin, or α-keratin, is a type of keratin Keratin () is one of a family of fibrous structural proteins known as Scleroprot ...

keratin
and other
proteins Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

proteins
, and are used for defense, dominance, and territoriality.


Digestion and lactation

Goats are
ruminants Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks in descending order are: life, ...
. 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 (device), net, or reticle—a net of crosshairs at the focus of a telescope eyepiece that is used to measure star positions. The constellation is be ...
, the
omasumThe omasum, also known as the bible, the fardel, the manyplies and the psalterium, is the third compartment of the stomach The stomach is a muscular, Organ (anatomy), hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, ...
, and the
abomasum The ruminant digestive system The abomasum, also known as the maw,
. As with other mammal ruminants, they are even-toed ungulates. The females have an
udder An udder is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tiss ...
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
pupil The pupil is a black hole located in the center of the iris of the eye Eyes are organs of the visual system The visual system comprises the sensory organ (the eye) and parts of the central nervous system (the retina containing photore ...

pupil
s. 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 The human eye is a organ (anatomy), sense organ that reacts to light and all ...
. Goats have no tear ducts.


Beards

Both male and female goats may 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 colonist A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize Colonization, or colonisation ...

Boers
, and
pygmy goat The American Pygmy is an American 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 ...
s) may have wattles, 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 pigment A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at ...
(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 In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Mendelian_inheritance ...
which codes for this pattern is located at the ''agouti locus'' of the goat
genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, M ...

genome
. It is completely
dominant Domination or dominant may refer to: Society * World domination, which is mainly a conspiracy theory * Colonialism in which one group (usually a nation) invades another region for material gain or to eliminate competition * Chauvinism in which a p ...
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), ''Locus'' (magazine), science fiction and fantasy magazine ...
. 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 ...

modifier genes
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 Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All or ...
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 slight ...

breed
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 estrous cycle (, originally ) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormone A hormone (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
(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 Behav ...
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 has gained popularity among goat
breeder A breeder is a person who selectively breeds carefully selected mates Mates is an English surname, and may refer to: * James Mates (born 1964), British newsreader and journalist * Michael Mates (born 1934), British politician * Frederick S. Mat ...
s, as it allows easy access to a wide variety of
bloodline Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cell (biology), cells or orga ...

bloodline
s.
GestationGestation is the period of development during the carrying of an embryo An embryo is the early stage of development of a multicellular organism. In general, in organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανι ...
length is approximately 150 days.
Twins Twins are two offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective offspring may be known as a ...

Twins
are the usual result, with single and triplet births also common. Less frequent are litters of ,
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 Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are mul ...
, 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 A herbivore is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All ...
, 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 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 breastfeeding, breastfed human infants) before they a ...

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, or companion animal, is an animal kept primarily for a person's company or entertainment rather than as a working animal, livestock or a laboratory animal. Popular pets are often considered to have attractive appearances, Animal cognitio ...

pet
breeds are not usually milked and simply produce enough for the kids until
weaning Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant 222x222px, Eight-month-old sororal twin sisters An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or 'speechless') is the more formal or specialised synonym ...
.
Male lactation In zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolution, Biological ...
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 A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers ...
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 In , energy is the that must be to a or to perform on the body, or to it. Energy is a ; the law of states that energy can be in form, but not created or destroyed. The unit of ...

starvation
. This is one reason goat-rearing is most often , since stall-fed goat-rearing involves extensive upkeep and is seldom commercially viable. Goats prefer to browse on
vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...

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 East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most po ...

kudzu
, on
shrubbery A shrubbery, shrub border or shrub garden is a part of a garden where shrubs, mostly flowering species, are thickly planted. The original shrubberies were mostly sections of large gardens, with one or more paths winding through it, a less-rememb ...

shrubbery
and on
weed A weed is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all ...

weed
s, more like deer than sheep, preferring them to grasses.
Nightshade The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of familie ...
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 fermentation (food), fermentation to the point of souring, acidification. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The ...
(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 Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to ...

Listeria
'' bacteria that can grow in fermented feeds.
Alfalfa Alfalfa () (''Medicago sativa''), also called lucerne, is a perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the ...

Alfalfa
, a high-protein plant, is widely fed as
hay Hay is grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or ...

hay
;
fescue ''Festuca'' (fescue) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, includi ...
is the least palatable and least nutritious hay.
Mold A mold () or mould () is a fungus A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of ...
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 The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, including several invertebrates. The stomach has a dilated structure and func ...
animal. Milk digestion begins in the
abomasum The ruminant digestive system The abomasum, also known as the maw,
, the milk having bypassed the rumen via closure of the reticuloesophageal groove during suckling. At birth, the rumen is undeveloped, but as the kid begins to consume solid feed, the rumen soon increases in size and in its capacity to absorb nutrients. The adult size of a particular goat is a product of its breed (genetic potential) and its diet while growing (nutritional potential). As with all
livestock Livestock are the 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 predictabl ...
, 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

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 (suborder Ruminantia) are large ungulate, hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by Enteric fermentation, fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, princi ...
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 Reliability, reliable, or unreliable may refer to: Science, technology, and mathematics Computing * Data reliability (disambiguation), Data reliability, a property of some disk arrays in computer storage * High av ...

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. A study by
Queen Mary University , mottoeng = With united powers , established = 1785 – London Hospital Medical College1843 – St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College1882 – Westfield College1887 – East London College/Queen Mary College , parent = University of Londo ...

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 Inflammatory may refer to: * Inflammation, a biological response to harmful stimuli * The word ''inflammatory'' is also used to refer literally to fire and flammability, and figuratively in relation to comments t ...

pneumonia
, 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 A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organi ...

foot-and-mouth disease
,
caprine arthritis encephalitisCaprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) is a viral disease of goats caused by a lentivirus ''Lentivirus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concept ...
, caseous lymphadenitis, pinkeye, mastitis, and pseudorabies. They can transmit a number of zoonotic diseases to people, such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, Q fever, and rabies.


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 A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

milk
, manure, and fiber, and then as meat and hide. Some Charitable organization, charities provide goats to Poverty, impoverished people in poor countries, because goats are easier and cheaper to manage than cattle, and have multiple uses. In addition, goats are used for driving and Pack goat, packing purposes. The intestine of goats is used to make "catgut", which is still in use as a material for internal human surgical sutures and strings for String instrument, musical instruments. The horn of the goat, which signifies plenty and wellbeing (the cornucopia), is also used to make spoons.


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 list of specialized ...
(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 goatherds who were frequently children or adolescents, similar to the more widely known shepherd. These methods of herding 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 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 lamb and mutton, spring lamb meat; in fact, in the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, and in some parts of Asia, particularly Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, the word "Lamb and mutton, mutton" is used to describe both goat and sheep meat. However, some compare the taste of goat meat to veal or venison, depending on the age and condition of the goat. Its flavor is said to be primarily linked to the presence of 4-methyloctanoic acid, 4-methyloctanoic and 4-methylnonanoic acid. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including stewing, baking, grilling, barbecuing, canning, and frying; it can be minced, Curry, curried, or made into sausage. 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 African Boer goat, Boer, introduced into the United States in the early 1990s. The New Zealand Kiko goat, Kiko is also considered a meat breed, as is the Fainting goat, myotonic or "fainting goat", a breed originating in Tennessee.


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 A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

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 Homogenization (chemistry), homogenized. 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 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 breastfeeding, breastfed human infants) before they a ...

lactation
, producing more just after freshening and gradually dropping in production toward the end of their lactation. The milk generally averages 3.5% butterfat. Goat milk is commonly processed into cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt, ''cajeta'' and other products. Goat's milk cheese, Goat cheese is known as ''fromage de chèvre'' ("goat cheese") in France. Some varieties include Rocamadour (cheese), Rocamadour and Montrachet. Goat butter is white because goats produce milk with the yellow beta-carotene converted to a colorless form of vitamin A. Goat milk has less cholesterol than cow's milk.


Nutrition

The American Academy of Pediatrics 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 results in a 2% case fatality rate. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, doe milk is not recommended for human infants because it contains "inadequate quantities of iron, folate, vitamin C, vitamins C and vitamin D, D, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid to meet an infant’s nutritional needs" and may cause harm to an infant's kidneys 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 glycerol ethers, 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, higher buffering capacity, and certain therapeutic values in human medicine and nutrition. George Mateljan suggested doe milk can replace Sheep milk, ewe milk or cow milk in diets of those who are allergic to certain mammals' milk. However, like cow milk, doe milk has lactose (sugar), and may cause Digestive disease, gastrointestinal problems for individuals with lactose intolerance. 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 A2 milk, the A2 form, which does not metabolize to Casomorphin, 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 East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most po ...

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


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".


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 Mates is an English surname, and may refer to: * James Mates (born 1964), British newsreader and journalist * Michael Mates (born 1934), British politician * Frederick S. Mat ...
s' clubs frequently hold Show (animal), shows, where goats are judged on traits relating to Equine conformation, conformation,
udder An udder is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tiss ...
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

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, 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


British Goat Society

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

International Goat Association

North American Packgoats Association

The American Dairy Goat Association
{{Authority control Capra (genus) Goats, Goat's-milk cheeses Herbivorous mammals Livestock Mammals described in 1758 Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus