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Goat breed 101: Fainting goats

Goat breed 101: Fainting goats

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The history of Fainting Goat breed is at times rather elusive. Documentation is sketchy at best. Most will agree, however, that it dates back to the early 1880s. The old story tellers believe that a man named John Tinsley once traveled from place to place. He was believed to have been from Nova Scotia, Canada, but no one knows for sure. He was just a farm worker according to the story. He arrived at a farm in central Tennessee with his four very unusual goats; one buck and three does. These goats often got stiff and would fall down. Tinsley stayed in the area for about a year and then sold his goat to Dr. Mayberry and left the area.

This is Wells Muffin. The Wells herd is one of the oldest herds still around. The Wells herd is located in Tennessee. A perfect example of the old genetics.

This is Wells Muffin. The Wells herd is one of the oldest herds still around. The Wells herd is located in Tennessee. A perfect example of the old genetics.

Dr. Mayberry began to breed the goats and realized that when they were bred, their babies would get stiff and fall down as well. This led him to believe he had discovered a new breed. According to the December 25, 1929 Naples Record, this strange phenomenon is seen in all of the offspring of the pure-bred goats without exception.

 

All the Fainting goats here today are believed to have evolved from the four original goats. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, sometimes during the 1950s some of the goats were taken to the hill country in Texas. Here they were further selected (crossed) for their meat qualities including larger size and came to be known as ‘Wooden Leg’ goats.

 

In 1980s (one hundred years after arriving to the United Sates) the breed is once again rediscovered. At this point the breed is considered a rare breed that has almost become extinct. Dr. Phillip Sponenberg tells us that one of the most common ways to lose a breed is through crossbreeding. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy says a word of warning should also be noted that if the breeders choose to crossbred, the survival of these goats will once again be threatened.

 

Many breeders are dedicated to preserving the Fainting goat breed and are striving to keep the breed as close to the look and characteristics of the original Fainting goats as possible. However, the push to save the breed has in all reality created a second breed, known as the Myotonic goats. The Myotonic breeders are breeding for the bigger, meatier goats, often for commercial purposes.

 

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This is Gowen’s JoJo. The Gowen’s herd is from Tennessee. Very few goats of this bloodline remain.

 

The Myotonics goats have a different look than the original Fainting goats. They are bigger in both height and weight. They carry more muscling. Many have lost the characteristics of the dished head or buggy eyes. Sometimes they are even seen with a Roman style nose. Even their degree of myotonia is commonly less than the Fainting goats, due to the crossbreeding. These goats have a different ear set that is longer, wider, and sometimes will lie against the head. While the Myotonic goats are a very nice breed of goat, they should not be confused with the original Fainting goats. When selective breeding takes place, sometimes you will lose the ‘look’. This is what has happened to the Myotonic goats. They now have their own ‘look’. They are a new breed. They no longer match the breed description/standard.

 

 

The market is growing for the meat goat as more and more people from different ethnic backgrounds choose goat meat as their main choice of meat. The Myotonic goats can help fulfill this need where the smaller Fainting goat is unable to do so. Remember that the Fainting goats are a slow maturing goat and small in size. Not desirable for market.

 

Find out more about Fainting goats here:

This is Julie Cassidy showing Playful Acres Denim. Denim is from the Bayshore herd. The Bayshore herd got its start from NovaScotia, Canada by sheer accident. Very old bloodlines that has produced many champions.

This is Julie Cassidy showing Playful Acres Denim. Denim is from the Bayshore herd. The Bayshore herd got its start from NovaScotia, Canada by sheer accident. Very old bloodlines that has produced many champions.

 

American Fainting Goat Organization
www.americanfaintinggoat.com
936-201-0639
afgo2011@yahoo.com

www.faintinggoatnews.com

 

Huge thanks to Debbie Cassidy for this article!

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