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Baby Goat

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Why are baby goats called Kids?


Isn't it interesting that the term we use for young goats, "kids", is also a term we use for human children? The term "kid" originates from the Old Norse "kið," which means a young goat. But why did we start using it for human children too? In the English language, "kid" as a term for a child is actually a relatively recent development. It wasn't until around the 19th century that "kid" started being used as a slang term for a child. One possible reason is that human kids and goat kids share some traits: they're both playful, curious, and a bit mischievous! 


Baby goat's front legs come out first at birth


The birth of a baby goat, or 'kidding', as it is often referred to, is an incredible process full of nature's marvels. The first thing you might see is a bubble-like amniotic sac protruding from the doe. This is followed by the appearance of the baby goat's front hooves and head. It's normal for a baby goat to be born front feet first, followed by the head, shoulders, and hindquarters. 


Why does the mother goat lick the baby goat after birth?


Once the baby goat is born, the doe will instinctively begin to clean it by licking off the amniotic fluid. This serves two purposes: it helps to stimulate the kid's circulation and breathing, and it also strengthens the bond between mother and baby.



Baby Goats are in a Hurry to Stand Up


Baby goats, often referred to as kids, develop rapidly immediately after birth. The first thing you'll notice is how quickly the kid tries to stand up. It's hard to believe, but most kids are up on their wobbly legs within the first hour after birth. This is a crucial survival instinct – in the wild, predators can pose a serious threat, so being able to move quickly is essential.


Baby Goats Wag Their Tails


When you're looking at baby goats one of the most charming and noticeable behaviors is that little wag of the tail. When a baby goat's tail is wagging rapidly, it's often a sign of utter bliss and contentment. It's most noticeable during feeding times when they are nursing. But it's not just about the meals. Have you noticed a baby goat exploring a patch of fresh green grass or jumping around with their friends? That wagging tail accompanies them, like a little flag of happiness showing us humans how delightful their world is.


Lonely Baby Goats Can Be Depressed


Right on! Baby goats, just like humans, are social creatures. Having goat companions also keeps them mentally stimulated. They play together, explore together, and even comfort each other during times of stress. A solitary baby goat can indeed be a sad goat, missing out on these important interactions.


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Head-butting Race in Baby Goats


When we talk about baby goats, we're talking about a world of headbutts, playful leaps, and heartwarming bonding. A goat herd operates on a well-established hierarchy, often referred to as a "pecking order." This dominance hierarchy is established through a series of displays and encounters, most of which involve pushing or head-butting contests. It's not uncommon to see kids as young as a week old begin these adorable, harmless bouts of headbutting, which are their early attempts to find their place in the goat society.


Every Baby Goat's Bleat is Unique


From the moment they're born, baby goats have a lot to say. They start bleating just a few days after birth, a gentle 'baa' sound that's as endearing as their bouncing frolics. It's not just cute noise, but essential communication. Each kid's bleat is as unique as a human's voice, and it's how they "talk" to their mothers and to the rest of the herd.

For instance, when a baby goat is hungry or scared, they'll bleat to call for their mother's attention. It's as if they're saying, "Mom, I need you!" And in a herd of goats, that unique bleat is like the baby's very own name. No matter how many kids are in the group, a mother goat can recognize her own child's voice amidst the cacophony. It's a sweet testament to the bond between a mother goat and her kid, isn't it?



Baby Goats Have Excellent Eyesight


These little creatures might look innocent and soft, but their vision is nothing short of extraordinary. Picture this, right from birth, they have a nearly panoramic view of their world, with an extensive field of vision ranging from 320 to 340 degrees. That's like seeing everything in your surroundings without even having to turn your head! The secret behind this remarkable skill lies in their distinctive horizontal, slit-like pupils. Unusual, right? 

But that's not all. When the sun goes down, these tiny superheroes don't just hang up their capes. Baby goats, just like their adult counterparts, possess excellent night vision. This allows them to navigate their environment even in low light conditions. While we humans might stumble in the dark, baby goats move around confidently, making nighttime their playground.


Baby Goats Have a Four-Chambered Stomach


These tiny creatures, called ruminants, are bestowed with an incredible adaptation that sets them apart from many animals – a four-chambered stomach! You might be wondering, "Why four chambers?" Well, let me take you through this fascinating process. Here's how it works. When baby goats eat, the food first enters the largest chamber, the rumen. This chamber is like a big fermentation vat, bustling with microbes that start the breakdown process.

From the rumen, the partially digested food (now called cud) is regurgitated back into the mouth for further chewing, known as "chewing the cud". It then moves through the remaining three chambers for further digestion and absorption. This all begins when they're just one week old. This intricate system is nature's solution for breaking down hard-to-digest plant matter.


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They are Great Climbers


Get ready to be amazed, because baby goats are like the superhero rock climbers of the animal kingdom. Whether it's a steep rocky outcrop or the gnarly branches of a tree, these little guys are up for the challenge. They even make daredevil attempts to climb walls! 

But how do these adorable creatures pull off such feats? Well, it all comes down to their uniquely designed feet. Goats, including the young ones, have two-toed hooves, or what we call 'cloven hooves.' This anatomical feature offers them a superior grip and balance that can outmatch even the most seasoned human climbers. It's like they've got their very own built-in climbing gear!


Can Baby Goats Have Babies?


You might find this hard to believe, but goats grow up super fast. I mean, they're like the teenagers of the animal kingdom, maturing really quickly. Some breeds are even known as 'precocious breeders' – a fancy term to say they can get pregnant very early. Female goats, or 'doelings' as they're called, can technically become pregnant when they're just two months old! Can you believe that? Two months! 

Now, that doesn't mean they should be having babies that young. Even though they're physically capable, it's a lot for a young goat to handle. Imagine being a baby and having a baby at the same time, pretty overwhelming, right? Goats grow at a rapid pace and can reach maturity between 6 to 12 months, but ideally, it's better for their health if they don't start breeding until after they've turned a year old. 



Nature's Gift to Baby Goats: Double Coat of Hair


Imagine wearing two layers of clothing on a cold day - a soft, warm sweater as a base layer and a raincoat as your outer layer. The sweater keeps you warm and cozy, while the raincoat shields you from wind and rain. Similarly, baby goats sport a double layer of hair that's much more than just a fashion statement.

First, there's the inner layer, also known as cashmere. This isn't just your regular hair - it's super soft and fine, creating a dense mat that traps heat against the goat's skin, much like your favorite winter sweater. Born with this cozy cashmere layer, baby goats are well equipped to handle the cold from day one.

Then comes the outer layer, or guard hair. This layer is coarser and acts as a protective shield against harsh weather, similar to your raincoat. It keeps the rain and snow from reaching the soft cashmere, ensuring that the inner layer stays dry and warm.



Goat Yoga


Ready to strike a pose with a goat kid? Well, you might just be the perfect candidate for the latest wellness trend – Goat Yoga! Yes, you read that right. Baby goats and yoga have united to give us an unbeatable combo of fun and relaxation. 

Picture this: You're stretched out on a yoga mat under the open sky, mid-pose, focusing on your breathing, when you feel a gentle nudge against your leg. You open your eyes, and there's a baby goat standing there, ready to interact, or even better, join in your pose! That's the essence of Goat Yoga, where yoga sessions are made even more therapeutic with the presence of these playful, furry companions.

The idea behind this practice is simple – adding an element of joy and laughter to the often-serious environment of a yoga class. Goats are friendly, curious, and love to interact with humans, making them the perfect yoga buddies. Their antics are bound to bring a smile to your face, turning your workout session into a light-hearted affair. 



Sources: 

Wikipedia. (2021). "Goat." Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goat
Harkness, J. E., & Wagner, J. E. (1995). The biology and medicine of rabbits and rodents (Vol. 5). Philadelphia: Williams & Wilkins.
Haenlein, G. F. W. (2004). Goat Extension Handbook. In Small Ruminant Research (Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 185-198). Elsevier.
Solaiman, S. G. (2010). Goat science and production. John Wiley & Sons.
Sevi, A., Casamassima, D., Pulina, G., & Pazzona, A. (2009). Factors of welfare reduction in dairy sheep and goats. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 8(1), 81-101.
Lu, C. D. (1988). Grazing behavior and diet selection of goats. Small Ruminant Research, 1(3), 205-216.