We own Myotonic Goats, also known as Fainting Goats. We own ten brood does and two bucks. Most of our mature does come from the Five Oaks Assets farm, which no longer raises goats. Our buck is from Heavenly Hill Farm in Minnesota. We are working toward producing quality show stock in addition to pet quality stock. All our goats (except our pet, WinnieBean) are registered through the Myotonic Goat Registry.
Why Myotonic Goats?
We chose them for several reasons. First, they are a heritage breed from the U.S. listed as “recovering” by The Livestock Conservancy. Second, they have a muscle condition called myotonia congenita. This inherited trait leads to an overall increase in muscle mass so that the goats are very muscular when compared to other breeds of similar size, making them a good choice for meat goats. Third, they have a docile temperament that when combined with their myotonia makes it easier to catch and handle them. Unlike most goats, they do not test fencing like other goat breeds that are always looking for a way out. Like most goats, they have good adaptation to low-input forage-based feeding systems and most enjoy eating forages that sheep and cattle don’t like. They can also be milked, if desired.
Managing Our Goats
The goats largely rely on foraging but we do provide supplemental feed, especially during winter and pregnancy. Sometimes, they travel with the sheep, following the same grazing pattern but selecting different sorts of forages. They get a bit bossy with the sheep, so we must separate them at lambing and kidding time or in harsh weather so that everyone can enter a shelter. Other times, they hang out in the woods and help to control undergrowth. They are especially adept at keeping poison ivy and honeysuckle at bay. We send them to the orchards for short periods of time to enjoy fallen fruit and add fertilizer. However, they get a little greedy at times and chew the bark off the trees, so they aren’t allowed to stay for long.