In honor of the Chinese animal zodiac, we’re celebrating the Year of the Goat! We have over 20 different goats representing 5 different breeds. In addition to their different colors, shapes, and sizes, all of our goats also express individual preferences and personalities!
To highlight our goats individual ‘flair’, we’ve decided to feature a different goat each month and share what makes each one so unique and lovable!
As zookeepers in the Contact Area in the Children’s Zoo, we receive a lot of questions about our goats. Most people want to know their names or how old they are. When it comes to Pygmy goat twins, Jingle and Belle, most guests want to know if they’re babies. (In case you were wondering, they were born in December of 2013 so they are just a little over a year and a half old at the moment. So they are not technically ‘babies’ any longer; they’re just really small goats!) But the goat that keepers get the most questions about is probably Jack. ‘Is she pregnant?’ is the most-asked question in the yard, and we keepers smile and shake our heads as we reply, ‘No, HE is not pregnant.’
Just like humans, goats come in all shapes and sizes. Some goats are tall and skinny, and some goats are short and round. As a Nigerian dwarf goat, Jack was bred to be short in stature. In addition to his short legs, Jack just happens to have a barrel belly which has some guests convinced that his belly is full of baby goats! In fact, Jack’s belly is just full of gas!
As ruminants, goats have a four-chambered stomach. Each chamber has a different job to help break down plant material, which is very difficult to digest. The rumen is the largest chamber of their stomachs and is where most of the fermentation of the plant material occurs. This fermentation produces gas, and gas can expand when it’s hot; often giving our goats a slightly balloon-like appearance.
Jack doesn’t seem to be bothered by the cases of mistaken identity and is one of the friendliest goats in the yard. He can often be seen hanging out with the twins Bono and Trent, who are Jack’s younger brothers. In fact, Jack is currently the oldest goat in the Contact Area! Come visit Jack on September 12th as he celebrates his 12th birthday!