Fainting and Pigmy Goats

Goats, along with sheep, were among the first domesticated animals. The domestication of goats started at least 10,000 years ago – around the time that the Agricultural Revolution started. Goats were domesticated mostly for their hair and milk, and later their skins were used to carry water and wine. Goats are bovines, related to cows and antelopes.

A Fainting Goat is a breed of domestic goat whose joints freeze when it is startled – often causing it to fall over, or “faint” as a result. This freezing is caused by a hereditary disease (myotonia congenita) which causes rigidity of certain muscles after attempting to move them. Though the fainting procedure is painless to the goat, it is an unfortunate setback, as they are sometimes used to feed injured animals who can no longer hunt (such as lions), or as a deterrence for predators among a flock of sheep. It takes about 10 seconds for a fainting goat to recover after freezing.

Fainting goats can be 17-25 inches tall when full grown, and typically weigh between 50 and 165 pounds. They have very long ears that stand out to the side of the head. Fainting goats are very calm and do make good pets – but they are herding animals so they should be kept w ith at least two or three others.

Pygmy Goats are usually a bit smaller than fainting goats, and can weigh 50-75 pounds. They stand 15-17 inches tall at the shoulders. Pygmy goats were first brought to the United States from Africa in the 1950s, and today they make popular pets, and are frequently exhibited. They do produce a large quantity of milk, though they are not typically used for the production of milk or meat.

Pygmy goats can live 10-18 years. They enjoy browsing for food, preferring young leaves to grass. They are often fed hay and oats.

Take a trip to a working farm!

The Eveland Family Farm is an 80-acre site in the northern Twin Cities suburbs. Located just 30 minutes from Minneapolis, we are open by appointment throughout the year, and have seasonal hours for pumpkin picking, fall decorations, farm tours and hay rides.
Eveland Family Farm's Fainting Goat