Domestic goat

From Academic Kids

For general information on goats, including mythology and wild species, see Goat. This article focuses on the domestic species.
Goat
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Goat_face.jpg
A white goat

Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Subfamily:Caprinae
Genus:Capra
Species:aegagrus
Subspecies:hircus

Template:Taxobox section trinomial simple

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Male_goat.jpg
Male goat, also called a billy or a buck

The domestic goat, Capra aegagrus hircus, is a domesticated subspecies of the Wild Goat of south-west Asia and eastern Europe.

Domestic goats are one of the oldest domesticated species. For thousands of years, they have been utilized for their milk, meat, hair, and skins all over the world. In the last century they have also gained some popularity as pets.

Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, intact males as bucks or billies. Castrated males are wethers, offspring are kids. Goat meat is sometimes called chevon.


Contents

History

Goats seem to have been first domesticated roughly 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.[1] (http://web.utk.edu/~persian/goat.htm) Ancient cultures and tribes began to keep them for easy access to milk, hair, meat, and skins. Domestic goats were generally kept in herds that wandered on hills or other grazing areas, often tended by goatherds who were frequently children or adolescents, similar to the more widely known shepherd. These methods of herding are still utilized today.

Historically, goathide has been used for water and wine bottles in both traveling and transporting wine for sale. It has also been used to produce parchment, which was the most common material used for writing in Europe until the invention of the printing press.

Goat Products

A goat is said to be truly useful both when alive and dead, providing meat and milk while the skin provides hide. In fact, a charity is involved in providing goats to impoverished people in Africa. The main reason cited was that goats are easier to manage than cattle and have multiple uses. [2] (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-8243-1402375,00.html)

Meat

The taste of goat meat, called chevon, is said to be similar to veal or venison, depending on the age of the goat. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including stewed, baked, grilled, barbequed, minced, canned, or made into sausage. Being a white meat, it is also healthier than mutton as it is lower in fat and cholesterol and comparable to chicken. It is quite popular in the Middle East and in Africa, though less so in the United States.

Other parts of the goat including organs are also equally edible. Special delicacies include the brain and liver. The head and legs of the goat are also smoked and used to prepare unique spicy dishes.

Milk

Goat milk, among all bovine milk, contains the most nutrients with least fat. It is also more easily digested than cows' milk and is recommended for infants. Moreover it is naturally homogenized since it lacks the protein agglutinin.

Skin

Goat skin is still used today to make gloves, boots, and other products that require a soft hide. Kid gloves, popular in Victorian times, are still made today.

Wool

The Cashmere goats produce the finest wool in the world. Cashmere refers to a type of goat and not a breed. Amongst them is the Angora breed which produces wool better than that of sheep. Goats do not have to be slaughtered to harvest the wool, which is instead sheared (cut from the body). The wool is made into products such as sweaters, which can be purchased at clothing stores.

Feeding Goats

Goats are reputed to be willing to eat almost anything. Contrary to this reputation, they are quite fastidious in their habits, preferring to browse on the tips of woody shrubs and trees, as well as the occasional broad leaved plant. Goats are also very fond of wheat grain. They will seldom eat soiled food or water unless facing starvation.

They certainly do not consume garbage, tin cans, or clothing, but they do eat canes. Their reputation for doing so is most likely due to their intensely inquisitive and intelligent nature: they will explore anything new or unfamiliar in their surroundings. They do so primarily with their prehensile upper lip and tongue. This is why they investigate clothes by chewing.

Reproduction

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Baby_goats.jpg
Baby goats, called kids

In some climates goats are, like humans, able to breed at any time of the year. In northern climates and among the Swiss breeds, the breeding season commences as the day length shortens, and ends in early spring. Does of any breed come into heat every 21 days for from 2-48 hours. Bucks (intact males) of Swiss and northern breeds come into rut in the fall as with the doe's heat cycles.

Rut is characterized by a decrease in appetite, obsessive interest in the does, fighting between bucks, display behavior, and, most notably, a strong, musky odor. This odor is singular to bucks in rut--the does do not have it unless the buck has rubbed his scent onto them or the doe is in actuality a hermaphrodite--and is instrumental in bringing the does into a strong heat.

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Mother_eating_placenta.jpg
Mother goat eating placenta

In addition to live breeding, artificial insemination has gained popularity among goat breeders, as it allows for rapid improvement because of breeder access access to a wide variety of bloodlines.

Gestation length is approximately 148 days. Twins are the usual result, with single and triplet births also common. Less frequent are litters of quadruplet, quintuplet, and even sextuplet kids. Birthing, known as kidding, generally occurs uneventfully with few complications. The mother often eats the placenta.

Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding. Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the doe; dairy goats generally produce between 660 to 1,800 L (1,500 and 4,000 lb) of milk per 305 day lactation. Meat, fiber, and pet breeds are not usually milked and simply produce enough for the kids until weaning.

Goat breeds

Goat breeds fall into four categories, though there is some overlap between them; meaning that some are dual purpose.

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Brown&black_goat.jpg
Black and brown goat

Dairy

Fibre

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Kid.jpg
Baby goat (kid)

Meat

Pet

Wild

Showing

Goat breeders' clubs frequently hold shows, where goats are judged on comformation to their breed standard. Sometimes other criteria such as temperament is involved. People who show their goats usually keep pedigreed stock and are able to charge more money for the offspring of award-winning goats.

Children's clubs such as 4-H also allow goats to be shown.

See also

External links

de:Hausziege es:Cabra eo:Kapro fr:Chvre ms:Kambing nl:Geit ja:ヤギ nds:Teeg pl:Koza domowa hu:Házi_kecske

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