Of all domesticated animals, goats are among the more underappreciated ones. They are often deemed too troublesome and mischievous, many people see them as too destructive, and we rarely give them credit for their incredible intelligence the way we do with pigs or cattle.
So, we thought we’d show goats some love by sharing some of the many awesome facts there are to know about them, starting with what is a baby goat called and going into even more peculiar things such as their rectangular pupils, their amazing climbing skills, and their very misunderstood and undervalued mental skills.
What is a baby goat called?
If you haven’t heard the official term about a baby goat, you may never guess it on your own because it’s simply “a kid”. Unlike sheep babies that are called lambs or cows’ that are called calved, with goats, for some reason, we’ve decided to just use the word kid.
In fact, goats are the only animals other than humans whose babies we call kids. And this is just one of many things that connect people and goats.
What is a group of baby goats called?
One of the two common terms we use for a large group of goats or of goat kids is easy to guess – it’s a herd. However, the other word that’s even more common in many places is tribe, as in “a tribe of goats.” Just like the term “kid”, a tribe is another word that we don’t really use for any other animal except goats and humans.
Why are goats sometimes called does and bucks?
When it comes to adult goats, you can encounter some even weirder words that you may not have naturally associated with this animal. For example, because goats and deer are actually pretty closely related from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s common for an adult female goat can be called a doe and for an adult male goat to often be called a buck or a billy.
That’s also why a growing girl kid is called a doeling while young male goats are called bucking. Additionally, a mother goat is often called a nanny because it’s looking after kids.
What is the process of a goat birth called?
As a last bit of funny trivia regarding goats and their names, you may find it curious that the process of a goat giving birth is also called kidding, as in “My goat is kidding right now.”
10 other interesting facts about baby goats
Goats, being the fascinating jumpy animals they are, have many other interesting things about them in addition to their unique names. So, while we certainly can’t list every single thing, here are 10 more cool little factoids about adult and baby goats.
1. Why do goat kids have rectangular eyes?
Different animals have different types of eyes and pupils but the goat’s rectangular pupils are among the more unique and perplexing ones. Yet, the evolutionary reason why goat’s eyes look that way is quite simple – to help them better surveil their surroundings and make sure they can spot any potential predator coming their way.
2. Goats have accents they learn when they are kids
Goat bleats are a well-known and quite hilarious feature that all goats share. Did you know, however, that goat bleats not only vary between the different sub-species but also vary within the same goat species depending on where the goats are from?
In essence, goats have regional accents, just like humans do. That’s likely because bleating is, at least partly, a learned behavior, so baby goats learn exactly how to bleat from their parents.
3. How many stomachs are goats born with?
It’s common knowledge that cows have eight stomachs which they use to extract all possible nutrients from their food and not waste any of it.
And while eight is a little too high of a number for most other herbivores, the feature of having multiple stomachs itself isn’t all that unique. Goats, for example, have four-chambered stomachs for the exact same reason as cows – two times fewer but still four times more than most others, humans included.
4. How big are baby goats?
At birth, a goat kid can weigh anywhere between 4 and 12 pounds. These numbers quickly ramp up to 30-50 pounds in the first two months, however. From there, a full-grown female can weigh between 110 and 180 pounds, while males typically range between 140 and 200 pounds – as heavy as most people!
5. Can baby goats walk right after birth?
While we should point out that we’re talking about domestic goats, aka Capra Hircus, and not Oreamnos Americanus or mountain goats, domestic goats are also incredibly agile on their feet. Baby goats are able to stand upright almost immediately after birth and get to walking faster than almost all other mammals on the planet.
They are also incredible jumpers and climbers which is why it’s often so hard to keep them from escaping.
6. When do baby goats start eating grass?
Goat kids are such fast growers that they don’t even stay on their mother’s milk all that long, especially compared to other mammals of similar sizes and types. For goat kids, it’s perfectly normal that they start nibbling at vegetation as early as their 2nd or 3rd week after their birth.
They don’t stop suckling on their mother’s milk right away, of course, but once they have started eating greens, they very quickly phase the milk out entirely.
It’s also curious to note that goats technically don’t graze grass but they “browse” vegetation instead. The difference between these two terms is quite simple – grazing animals such as cows and sheep have a diet that consists almost entirely of grass, which is why they need a huge grassy pasture to roam. Browsers tend to eat taller vegetation, however – weeds, bushes, short trees, woody vegetation, and so on.
7. How many kids do goats have?
The average birth rate for a goat doe per year is two kids, however, having twins and triplets isn’t all that uncommon. If a doe has a couple of triples in one year, she can easily produce six healthy kids in twelve months.
8. When do female goats reach reproductive maturity?
What’s more, a goat doe does reach maturity very early – typically somewhere between 4 to 12 months of age. This is considerably earlier than most other mammals of that size and type that rarely get sexually mature before the 10th or 12th month.
9. Do goat bucks mate with multiple females?
An adult goat buck can mate with about 10 female goats per month every month. Once the buck gets a bit older – over 2 or 3 years of age – he can mate with 25+ or even 40+ females a month.
Naturally, not every buck does this – in fact, most aren’t allowed to mate at all. Typically, the goat herder will identify the healthiest buck with the best genealogy ahead of time, and they will use that buck for most of the mating the herd requires.
10. How smart are goats really?
A lot of people are surprised when they hear goats mentioned among some of the smartest mammals in the animal kingdom such as dogs, cats, apes, dolphins, elephants, pigs, whales, ravens, and octopuses. Yet, it’s true – the goat that’s constantly trying to nibble on your azaleas despite you constantly shushing it away is indeed highly intelligent.
In fact, domestic goats are so intelligent that they’ve been shown to understand human hand gestures, pointing, and gazing toward things – things that even some of the most intelligent mammals on the planet such as cats and dogs often struggle with.
Now, this isn’t to say that goats top the intelligence chart as they don’t really break into Top 10s and Top 12s too often. Intelligence is really tricky to measure, however, and most of these charts we see online are popularity contests more than real scientific data. What is undeniable, however, is that goats are much smarter than most people give them credit for.
This isn’t just a tidbit either – it’s a crucial fact to understand if you ever want to watch after goats. That is because, like all highly intelligent animals, goats can get incredibly creative and destructive when they are bored. So, the reason they do keep going after your azaleas no matter how often you shush them away is very likely because they are bored and looking for some interaction – just as dogs and cats do when they are bored.
As you can see, there certainly is more than meets the rectangular eye when it comes to goats and their kids. While there are plenty of good reasons why goats just don’t make good pet animals for the average person, there are even more reasons why they are awesome farm and yard animals that definitely deserve more love and attention.