Written by Katie Sullivan
I’ve now been working at Fat Toad Farm for a little less than two months, and in that time, I have come up with a brief list of information that everyone should know about goats, if for no other purpose than conversation, though if you are ever stranded on a desert island with only a goat, this may prove more useful.
What you need to know about goats (but didn’t know you needed to know):
1. Goats do not eat tin cans. It’s always the first question I am asked if I happen to casually mention that I work at a goat farm, or someone notices that I smell like manure and asks if I work on a goat farm. Goats explore everything in their surroundings, and their mouths and tastebuds are their main interface with the world. Presented with a tin can, they might nose it around a little or even pick it up and toss it. Then they would try to eat the lettuce and tomato from your sandwich.
2. Goats don’t really smell. Sure, bucks in breeding season have a certain je ne sais quoi, but does generally smell better than most dogs I’ve met, and if they do smell icky there is probably something wrong with the management of the farm. We spend a lot of time shoveling goat poop and covering it with straw to keep our goats clean and dry so that they can live down this stereotype.
3. Goats are fun! My primary experience with livestock involved sheep prior to my arrival at Fat Toad Farm. While sheep run away from you, try to avoid you, and really don’t like you much, goats want to visit you, want to rub you, and really would like it if you would scratch their heads around their horn buds. While this can intimidate some people, I’ve found goats to be very personable. It isn’t always easy to work in an area with goats, when their interest in you and what you are doing extends to nibbling at the shovel you are using and jumping on the wheelbarrow you are pushing, it is nice to feel appreciated by your livestock rather than seeing them lurking on the other side of the field, eyeing you suspiciously.