Goats > Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries

Goats

Energetic, playful, and very cheeky – our gang of rescued goats never fail to make us smile with their mischievous ways!

Meet our herd of rescued goats

Our herd of goats has grown quickly over the last couple of years, with new additions coming from all different backgrounds. Many were much-loved by their previous owners but found themselves looking for new homes due to changing circumstances.  

Now, all of them will live out their lives here at the sanctuary, and we’re delighted to have them.

Fascinating goat behaviours

Climbing

For many years, wild goats have climbed mountains and even trees in order to obtain food, but this pastime is enjoyed by their domestic counterparts too! Goats have evolved to have two toes on each hoof which can spread out to create a more stable footing.

Fight or flight

Unlike their more nervous sheep cousins, goats don’t tend to flee as a flock when danger approaches but are more likely to stand their ground and face whatever is attacking them. Males with large horns will often bow their heads ready to charge when threatened.

Social hierarchies

Goat herds have complex and fascinating social hierarchies. In non-family groups, there is usually a large dominant male who will ensure discipline and coherence of the herd as a whole – within ours this is definitely Gandalf, who has large horns and very stern expression!

Intelligence

Goats are highly intelligent animals who are naturally curious about their environment – however they are sometimes too smart for their own good! If not kept within a secure enclosure, goats will soon learn how to escape in order to explore what’s on the other side!

Goat enrichment at Goodheart

Just like we humans and our pets, farmed animals need fun things to keep them happy and occupied. 

The goats love nothing more than lots of fresh brash to nibble on – as you can see, they get very excited! Once they’ve stripped all the leaves, these branches double up as great back-scratchers for them too. 

Farmed vs Free

Goats can live for approximately eight to 20 years, depending on the breed.

Unfortunately, it’s still a common practice to farm goats in order to produce milk and cheese and many goats within commercial environments are culled around six years of age.

Natural life expectancy
20 years
Goats within commercial settings
6 years
Goats in farm settings

Life in an intensive farming system

  • Most goat products come from indoor systems where goats are reared in large grazing units with little to no time spent outdoors.
  • In order to produce milk, some nanny goats are impregnated via artificial insemination, a process which can cause pain and distress to the goats involved.
  • On most dairy farms, mothers are separated from their kids (baby goats) just a few days after giving birth so that the mother’s milk can be taken away and sold.
  • Much like male dairy calves who are not suitable for meat rearing, male kids who are not seen as profitable will be killed shortly after birth.

Life at our sanctuary

  • As well as a field shelter where they can retreat during wilder weather, our goats have a large spacious field in which to play and explore.
  • Just like our companion animals, farm animals need fun things to keep them occupied too. At our sanctuary, we provide log piles for our goats to clamber on and enrichment items to keep their minds active.
  • We carry out health checks twice a day to spot and treat any problems that may arise within the herd as quickly as possible.
About our rescued goats

Meet some of our mischievous goats

Tom

Tom is a lovable pygmy goat who enjoys nothing more than a fuss from staff and visitors alike. He is an incredibly friendly and gentle soul, who thrives when given a bit of attention. Despite being the smallest goat in our herd, he doesn’t compromise on personality. An adventurous individual, he loves climbing and can often be found scrambling over his natural log pile climbing frame.

Gandalf

True to his name, Gandalf commands a formidable position within the goat herd due to his large size and impressive horns. While he may boss the other goats around from time to time, Gandalf generally loves a fuss from humans, and will often approach the fence hoping for some neck scratches. He’s even known to close his eyes in satisfaction when getting a fuss!

Maisie, Lucy & Phoebe

Never far apart, this lovable trio can usually be found sunbathing in their field, clambering on the log pile or reaching up to graze from low hanging branches. They even sleep curled up together in their cosy shelter!

As three of the friendliest members of the goat gang, they love receiving some extra head scratches from staff and visitors at our sanctuary.

Learn more about farmed animals and animal agriculture...

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Vegan Mushroom Bolognese Recipe from Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries

We catch up with volunteers Alex and Zoe to talk all things food and lifestyle. 

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