Goats as Pets

GOATS may be said to occupy a position midway between pets and animals kept for practical purposes. Cheerful, clean, and the equals of any tamo animal in intelligence, they are eminently companionable, and at the samo time the most reliable of all for the supply of milk, while the billy can do lus share of light draught work and so come in handy in several small ways.

It is oven said that his strong scent causes him to act as a sort of smelling-salt3-bottle for nervous larger stock. He is often used as a leader for sheop. He is better chosen hornless, as lese likely to give trouble; with the nanny horns do not matter so much, though sometimes she will contrive to use them for mischief.

Goats will eat a great variety of plants, and are better pleased with armfuls of weeds, vegetable trimmings, and trce-prunings than by a bit of fine pasture; thus the can be kept anywhere, even in a paved-yard.

When on the land they are very useful for clearing off weeds and scrub, but generally have to be tethered out to graze to prevent trespassing and getting into mischief. The chain should be provided with swivels to prevent twisting up, and pegs well driven home and shifted frequently. Some shelter from the rain is highly desirable, for goats hate wet, though the Asiatic animals have long run wild in so damp a climate as the Scottish Highlands and manage to survive there somehow. A dry shed is needed at night, but no litter.

A feed of horse-corn, oat3, beans, or a bran-mash should be given daily, or some hay, and a good time to gise this food is at milking, to keep the animal quiet, at which time it may also have a lump of salt to lick. Pure water is a necessity, and so is clean food, for the goat, though blessed with a very omnivorous appetite, is not a dirty feeder and is particular about the state of its food.

The goats gestation is between five and six months, and two kid3 are commonly born. They are most amusing and playful little things, but in most cases a billy kid will not be wanted for keeping, and so may be disposed of for the table, on which he will be a good substitute for chicken if killed when quite young and tender. If kept to be broken to harness he must not be driven at a fast pace.

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