Energetic, playful, and very cheeky – our gang of rescued goats never fail to make us smile with their mischievous ways!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Just like cats and dogs, farmed animals need fun things to keep them happy and occupied.
Our goats love nothing more than lots of fresh brash (leaves and tender stems) 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.
Now that our Pig Barn and Goodheart Home for Rescued Hens have been completed, we are in the process of planning our next habitat development project: a dedicated area for our rescued goats! The space will include lots of fun items for our goats to enjoy, from climbing frames to scratching posts and even a special goat tower! Keep your eyes peeled across our website and social media for more information later in the year.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We catch up with volunteers Alex and Zoe to talk all things food and lifestyle.