Other common names: Old English Goat; Old British Goat; British Primitive Goat
The English Goat is a small, hardy goat native to England which was the only goat breed in Britain prior to the importation of Swiss Alpine and Nubian Goats in the 18th century. According to the British Feral Goat Research Group, "The breed descends from the goats introduced by the first farmers in the Neolithic period. It was this little, hairy all-weather goat that was moved around the periphery of Europe by the Celts, Vikings and Saxons. It sustained the people of the bronze and iron ages alongside a few cattle and sheep."
"The British Primitive Goat is now one of our rarer breeds. 200 years ago there were not less than a million domestic goats, belonging to out old British breed, in Scotland and Northern England. As agricultural practices changed, however, the goat became less and less popular. When, in the 1870's, a Victorian goat revival began to reinstate it as 'the poor man's cow', culminating with the founding of the British Goat Society in 1879, no one was by then interested in the old British breed. They were simply too small, hairy and inconveniently horned. What was wanted was a big goat with a short and smooth coat and no horns that gave plenty of milk."
Millie & Toby the terrible twosome!
We were asked to have 2 goats for a few weeks whilst a friend's father sold one small holding and bought another...they are officially not our goats but as they have been here for 2 years now, I suspect they will be here til the end...like everything else here!
They were described as Pigmy goats but they are too big...we did have a few probs at first as I was frightened they would stray down the drive to the main road, or to our neighbors farms and get eaten by their Germansations (German Shepherd/Alsations I never know which is which!). I tried to keep them in a stable but the little one, Millie kept jumping onto Toby and up onto the dividing wall and then out onto the floor....same thing into the feed room....hop onto the huge haybale then over the wall onto my desk, then, party time, feeds for 20 horses would be sampled! Its a wonder they made it through the first week. Tjis was difficult as I was in trouble from my entire family for saying yes...how could I have said no? Really?
Anyway, I came up with a plan, using lightweight dog chains we use when we go camping and those corkscrewy things into the ground...we tethered theses 2 outside our kitchen window and it worked OK for a few days, until MIllie kept getting wrapped round it and we would find her with her head practically stuck to the ground...stupid goat! I decided to try her off and Toby on...was a roaring success, for weeks actually...she wouldn't go anywhere she couldn't see Toby..it was fantastic. Then, Toby found if he wrapped himself to a certain length and pulled hard enough, he could rip the corkscrew clean out of the ground!! He would be running wildly around with chains and corkscrew jangling and trailing in his wake...very bizarre. It was a hot Summer so we were living al fresco and I decided to see what would happen if we left them both loose...nothing...they have never strayed, ever.
If gates are left open, they will make a beeline for the feed room...they try and sleep in the barn if they can get away with it..sometimes they suceed :) They occasionally piddle on the hay...bad goats and often leave tiny tods all over the place..it's not a major deal...they bring nothing to the table except they are cute to look at..full of character..we find them amusing, some customers..not so much, they seem to terrify some of the visitors....the goats both like a good groom, and especially a little scratvh between their horns where they obviously can't get....when they have had enough of being stroked, even if they approached you, they get a bit fiesty and you have to stand your ground.
Now, re maintenance....we are not sure really....hopefully this isn't wrong but we have never intentionally fed the goats anything...they live off the land, pinch the hay direct from the big bale, clear up after the horses and get ehat they can from wherever they can..they too like picnic lunches and especially potato chips that the kids bring. We have nevewr had their feet looked at but they look fine, they do a lot of roadwork and presumably keep them to the correct length on theor own...I think you have to have just the right environment to be able to keep them so maintenance free....they have never ailed anything or needed a vet so far...they are just part of the furniture. One lives on a horse rug in the barn and the other lives in a big plant pot under a little tree! They are totally fantastic, everyone should have them but, if you get a boy, have it castrated, otherwise then stink apparently...ours don't as Tobes is not a full 'Billy' thankfully...he can have a bit of a mean look from time to time and cannot be shut in with Millie as he attacks her with his horns..other than that, he is very laid back. Millie is a cutie, through and through. They are very intelligent...they used to live with one of our loaned ponies, hence how they ended up here. They had only been running loose a few days when we were having a schooling session in the outdoor arena...it was like a scene from love story...they saw Bronte and sort of cantered (goats are funny to watch when they are attempting speed) over to see her...they spent the next 20 minutes trotting around the arena behind her like 2 little riderless ponies, they circled when she did and were very vocal and excited...we let them share her stable that Winter but it was inconvenient (for Bronte especially!) at feed times. She couldn't get in her bucket for horns in her face!
I would highly recommend goats for any small holding. Be warned though, the myth that they can eat anything is not true, things such as potato peelings that you might give your pigs will kill your goats, fairly quickly apparently. Do your research and go and get at least 2, they don't do well on their own.
Happy goating :)).
From wendlebug Dec 12 2013 2:19AM
With the split hooves that goats have, it can be a great habit to check their feet. You won't necessarily "pick" them as you would a horse hoof, but you can check for any kind of injury, infection, or object stuck between the hooves. .
From DrHill 178 days ago