Instructables

How To Care For Fainting Goats

Picture of How To Care For Fainting Goats
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At our hobby farm in northern Colorado we breed and raise the Barnyard Buddies Miniature Fainting Goat Herd. Everyone who meets our goats falls in love with them --They have become quite famous! We specialize in breeding miniature fainting goats which have been selectivity bred to achieve considerably smaller size.

Breed specifications:
Lifespan - Average 10 - 12 years - can live up to 15 years!
Height - Our miniature fainting goat's average height is about 19" at withers
Weight - Our Mini fainting goats average weight is about 55-60 pounds

Fainting goats are a very amazing breed that - as you probably already know -  faint when startled or overly excited. While it really does appear as a real faint - they do not actually lose consciousness at all. Fainting goats have a genetic condition called myotonia, which causes their skeletal muscles to instantly contract in certain situations -- most often resulting in a lot of laughter! The "faint" lasts about 10 seconds, after which they get back on their feet and go about their goatly affairs ~ as if nothing ever even happened.
 

A lot of people ask if this is harmful or painful to the goats and as far as we know, the answer is no. Humans with a very similar form of myotonia known as Thomsen's disease report no pain or trauma when they experience involuntary muscle contractions. While it is true a human with this condition could easily be harmed from a fall, goats fall over in a much different way than people and being on four legs they are much closer to the ground ~ In general, fainting goats are very tough animals.

Fainting goats are very friendly and social animals, and if well socialized and treated kindly they are very safe with young children. They are often kept as pets, show animals and sometimes bred as meat goats and are also used for weed control. They are easy to care for, a lot of fun to have around and unlike regular goats, they cannot climb verys well or escape fencing very easily.

Fainting goats are considered a rare species by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and currently on their "watch list". We would like to see fainting goats protected and preserved as a true breed for our future. Who knows what someone might someday discover about this amazing breed that may help a person with a severe debilitating muscle disease.

To begin keeping fainting goats you need to consider that they are herd animals and do not do well on their own.  A minimum of two or three fainting goats should be kept together to keep them happy and healthy!

You will need:

-Fenced Pen
-Shelter
-Food
-Fresh water supply
-Vaccinations
-Veterinary care when necessary
 
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ksilva55551 year ago
I was told that fainting goats do not get along with regular goats. Is this true? I am getting 2 castrated male kids (toggenburg) and 2 fainting goats also castrated. They will be the exact same age 2 mos old. Can I keep them in the same pen?
Do fainting goats get along with other pets, like small dogs or cats?
Hi, I see you said we need a "partially enclosed" shelter in "colder" climates. We live in Northern Idaho (83835) so I am wondering if it will be adequate for them to have a 3 sided shelter or if they need to have an actual 4 sided house with door for this winter. Thanks so much for the excellent Instructable!
Janet Farkas (author)  armedtodream1 year ago
A shelter that has a center door works best. Goats need to stay dry and out of the cold wind. They also need easy access in and out. Please let me know if you have anymore questions! Thank you and best of luck to you and your new goats!
scoochmaroo2 years ago
What is the average life span of a fainting goat? I thought it was quite short?
Janet Farkas (author)  scoochmaroo2 years ago
Hi scoochmaroo! Thanks for the question! I will update my instructable to include this info asap.

To answer your question, fainting goats normally live about 10 - 12 years. This is pretty typical of all goat breeds and -as far as I know- fainting goats do not have a shorter than normal lifespan for a goat.