Our mischievous Pygmy goats, Squidgy, Curly, Billy
and Chocolate are always a fun encounter for visitors - be
sure to meet them!
group of pygmy goats consist of a neutered male, Squidgy,
and three females. All represent the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth
generations of a strain we have been breeding since 1979. All are
registered in the Pygmy Goat Studbook.
1993, our Pygmy goats were one of the casualties of the incredible
cutbacks we were forced to make, however, we were able to reclaim
these particular animals from a farm in Lanarkshire four years later.
Pygmy Goats occur in two basic colours: black, or agouti grey with
smallish amount of white. The most favoured with devotees possess
long, rusty-brown hairs on their rear-legs, resembling "pantaloons".
Several of ours, possess this hairiness.
we acquired our original animals, we had quite a job finding good
animals of breeding age. We then managed them very carefully for
many years, changing the billy every couple of years or so, and
developed a very popular strain, with a waiting list of people
wishing to acquire "Kids".
only defect we ever observed through the years was the production
of one female whose "toggles" were high up on her neck instead
of below her throat in the normal manner.
other interesting feature was the apparent link between small, out-curved
horns, and the agouti-grey colour in females. "Bent-horns"
one of our nannies in the early 1980's, is survived by her great,
grand-daughter who is her spitting image, both in shape of horns,
colour and facial expression - which is another thing... all the
Pygmy goats in our strain have distinctive, recognisable faces.
Whenever I encounter such a familiar face, then check its antecedents,
I find Glasgow there, sooner or later!!
Goat - Capra hircus var.
re-introductions to Glasgow Zoopark, they are a large, angular,
short-haired, thin skinned goat with a pronounced "Roman"
nose and our long pendulous ears. Although our three are reddish
brown with roan patches and black points, the colour is extremely
common goat in Africa and the Middle East, this is the larger "anglicised"
version, hence the name Anglo-Nubian.
goat is extremely "showy", possibly the most showy goat of
them all. In 1974 the zoo acquired a group from Cyril Grace the
Manager of the recently opened multi-million pound Zoo at Blackpool..
These we bred for many years before growing tired with their regular
reproductive problems - they were too fertile, and too "milky".
Our females regularly produced three or four kids, and produced
copious quantities of milk in enormous pendulous udders. As these
frequently swept the ground they were often tender and the nipples
difficult for the newly born kids to access unaided. If we didn't
draw the milk off at very regular intervals, mastitis and
other udder infections would become ever present problems. These
things can all be coped reasonably easily on a small farm or smallholding,
but pose significant difficulties for a Zoo, especially if they
are of a recurring - yet preventable - nature.
several years of struggle, it was with considerable relief that
we eventually switched over to the much more accommodating Cameroon
three goats consist of three generations of the same family, and
are owned by George Gold of Greenock, who kindly loaned them
to the Zoopark, to help us with some public relations activities
we were involved with.
are extremely tame and very popular with visitors both at the Zoopark,
and on outside visits.
While many people look on animals such as goats and rabbits
as pests, I have always been fond of them In particular, I've
always liked the wild goats which live around the Grey Mares
Tail waterfall in Moffat, Dumfriesshire.
When I worked for the National Trust for Scotland, I worked
in the area and I admired the wild goats and their winter time
struggle for survival on the hills.
I have visited many times since and always look out for the
goats. Recently, however, I found that all the goats
are to moved from the area.
The Borders Forest Trust – a very worthy body – intends to plant
385,000 broad-leaved trees over an eight-year period to recreate
a Bronze Age forest. However, before doing so, the Moffat goats
will need to be rounded up. Around 20 will go to an estate near
Knoydart, a few will go to a rare breed centre near Canterbury
and the rest – between 40 and 50 – will be transported to a
hill farm near the Penines in England.
None will return to Moffat and I find this really sad. Am I
alone in believing that the total elimination of these goats
from the area is unnecessary? Perhaps all the goats can't
be returned to the hills, but I don't see why a few couldn't
be put back in the area. They have been there for years and
many would argue that they have more right to be there than