Resident Spotlight: Our Unicorn Goat
Blake (and his sister Gwen) were our first fainting or Myotonic goat rescues. Fainting goats are a breed of domestic goat. The most common variety is the Tennessee fainting goat, which is also known as the wooden leg goat, stiff-legged goat, or nervous goat. Fainting goats are characterized by their myotonic reflex, also known as “fainting” or “stiffening”. Despite their name, fainting goats are not actually fainting when they exhibit their characteristic trait of freezing up and tumbling over when they get scared. When startled, the goat’s leg muscles stiffen, causing the goat to fall over. 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. Although it may seem like they are having a seizure, they are not in pain and usually recover quickly.
Fainting goats make good pets for a variety of reasons. First, they are very low-maintenance.
They don’t need to be groomed and they don’t require a lot of exercise. They are easy to care for, a lot of fun to have around and unlike regular goats, they cannot climb very well or escape fencing very easily. They are also very friendly and affectionate animals. They are social creatures that like to be around other goats and other farm animals. They enjoy being around people and they are good with children..
Blake is a sweetheart who loves to greet visitors. He is popular with the kids due to his 'unicorn,' the result of an unsuccessful horn disbudding from his former life. Blake has grown used to the chaos of Wellington Acres and of visitors and rarely 'faints' these days but is first to the fence to greet anyone who comes to visit. He especially is kind to children and welcomes their curiosity of his 'unicorn.'
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.