Friday, 7 April 2017

F is for Feral Goats …



Feral herds survive in remote areas of the British Isles – Dartmoor, Cheviots, Snowdonia, the Black Mountains, as too on Lundy Island.


British Primitive Goat

In the late 1800s and the 1900s large numbers of goats were imported to Britain from Switzerland … with the result the native British breeds became unfashionable and declined almost to extinction.



American and French Alpine goat

Those Swiss goats are not as hardy as our native British breeds – they need shelter against our damp and wet climate … those clever British goats are well adapted to our environment!



A Bagot Goat


The native Bagot goat is Endangered … no-one is sure of its origins … perhaps back to the Iron Age, or even Neolithic times – or the returning Crusaders could have brought some into Britain on their return.




Arms of the Baghot Barons
with their goats

The Bagot family owned land (Blithfield Hall) in Staffordshire from 1360 … and the Bagot Barons and Baronets have had a chequered history ever since – but they still retain the heraldic Arms … ensuring the Bagot goat remains in our history.


Golden Guernsey c/o Oklahoma
State University


The Bagot breed have now been dispersed, with farmers or estates rearing or keeping flocks in a small number of locations.



The Guernsey Bailiwick - islands of
Guernsey, Alderney and Sark: Channel Islands

The Golden Guernsey was saved from extinction in the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the mid 20th century.  It is now an evolved dairy breed, but has been around for at least for 4,000 years, while its ancestors are believed to be the Oberhasli and Syrian breeds.



Feral Goat in north Cornwall
(One The Edge)
It is a pretty goat – golden coloured - is very docile and friendly – always helpful in a goat – but the males are said to be unusually smelly … a disadvantage?



The lady who saved them ... hid the last remaining examples in caves on the island during WWII - when all livestock was being slaughtered to feed the invading force.



Feral (from Latin fera, “a wild beast”) … some animals were originally wild before being domesticated – and then escaping into the wild again … the goat is one of the oldest domesticated creatures, yet readily goes Feral ... doing quite well on its own  …

Goats were first domesticated 10,000 years ago



Eros Rock, Exmoor - one of the
feral goats


That is F for Feral from a Feared Feral Grinning beastie, to Friendly Familiar Feral animal, a Fearless untamed Fixture in the countryside … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …





Counties with the letter F … 
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England:  none
Northern Ireland: Fermanagh
Scotland:  Fife
Wales:  Flintshire

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

51 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

So many 'introduced' species adapt better than we like and strike out on their own to the detriment of native species. And then we label them feral.
Which makes me feral (as in 'wild').
I have a fondness for goats. Intelligent critters.

Linda said...

Wonderful post and photos.

Michelle Wallace said...

The Golden Guernsey is a pretty species.
Goats were first domesticated 10,000 years ago? Thanks for the info, Hilary.

Denise Covey - Author said...

Many introduced species into Australia have resulted in being terribly overrun as climates differ--cane toads, gorse bush, rabbits--to name a few.

Your posts are so interesting Hilary. Some goats are pretty for sure.

Denise :-)

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating, as always, Hilary. By sheer coincidence, I was forced to feed some goatts just the other day (but that's another story). You'll find a nice herd of Bagots at Levens Park in Cumbria - Google "The sweetest spot fancy can imagine."

Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar said...

I have always been fascinated by goats, and by this tendency of theirs that you have pointed out so well, their readiness to be domesticated while seemingly waiting for their freedom, and the chance to be feral, too.

Lynn said...

How wonderful that the lady hid them during WWII!

Jz said...

I'm kind of curious what distinguishes a primitive goat from an advanced one...
Interesting stuff, thank you!

bazza said...

I don't believe that I have seen a goat in the wild. I was impressed enough when I saw that New Forest ponies were real!
I would like a domestic goat so that I wouldn't have to mow the lawn.....
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s stupendous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The Golden Guernsey matches Scotland's fuzzy cows in color. Sad to think they were that close to extinction.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Friendly, but unusually smelly - not a great combination I suspect ;) I suppose at least you don't have to try and milk the smelly males!
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – yes sadly things were introduced, when the knowledge of the different species wasn’t known … these goats were feral, but not the introduced ones. We can so easily get agitatedly wild about unfortunate things done in the past. Goats I imagine are intelligent …

@ Linda – glad you’re enjoying them …

@ Michelle – the Golden Guernsey is just a lovely red-head isn’t it. I know goats must have been domesticated very early in our human’s life epoch …

@ Denise – I know introduced species aren’t great now – as I mentioned to EC above. We’re getting new introduced species even now … often via the hulls of ships, or from their holds …

Delighted you’re enjoying the information and yes goats can be pretty …

@ Mike – I looked at your post ‘The sweetest spot fancy can imagine’ and saw the Bagots … they do look as though they belong in the landscape – and a lovely place to visit … when I’m in Cumbria next …

@ Cynthia – they are an interesting species … I love goat’s cheese and the way they can climb … and be ready to escape – aren’t most things?!

@ Lynn – yes the Guernsey goats have become a legend after WW2 …

@ Jz – good to see you and thanks for the comment … please don’t ask me! I’m no scientist. I would think the genes and the characteristics of the different species would define the different species …

@ Bazza – I have some friends who keep goats – but they are in East Anglia ... but loved the goats in Portugal and South Africa that I wrote about. Yes – we are lucky with our native breeds – many horses/ponies … I think I cover them … but a goat might want to escape to eat other things than your lawn … sheep might do?!

@ Alex – yes the Highland Cow – I love them too – gorgeous russet colour … well thankfully they’ve been rescued from the brink of extinction …

@ Natasha – you got it: friendly, but smelly – somewhat puts one off … but as you say you don’t need to milk them – and they probably make good meat …

Cheers to you all – fun comments – thanks for your interest - Hilary

crgalvin said...

Feral indeed they are in Oz much to the destruction of habitat. Now, however, some farmers are using them to rid their farms of weeds - an interesting development.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Goat meat is very common in Asia, and I've eaten it often on my travels there. More and more butchers in the UK are now offering it. What I really love though is goat's cheese. Yum!

The Fish Inn, Amble Bay

FinnBadger said...

Good stuff today. Love the Golden Guernsey Goat - a very handsome caprine.

Phillip | F is for Found Poetry (and Fauxhio)

beste barki said...

How clever it was of the lady who saved the goats for posterity.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Why do people introduce alien breeds and then let the local ones die out or pack them off? Stands to reason the local beasties are better adapted!

Didn't know goats were domesticated 10,000 years back, wow!

Nila
Madly-in-Verse

Deniz Bevan said...

I didn't know that! About feral goat herds surviving, I mean. It's nice to know there are still pockets of nature where otherwise domesticated animals can roam freely.

Emily Bloomquist said...

Amazing tidbit about the lady who saved the Golden Guernsey from extinction during WWII. I see goats living in the a national forest in Ecuador and some on farms. They do not have the cool horns and long fur of the ones in your photos.

Emily | AtoZ | My Life In Ecuador

diedre Knight said...

Wow! The Golden Guernsey is rather handsome,but the smelliness might be a deal-breaker ;-)

Christine Rains said...

I never thought I'd say, but that is a beautiful goat. Have a lovely weekend! :)

Decadent Kane said...

I wouldn't have thought of goats as rare breeds, but look at that! And they are pretty -specially the Golden one. I do have a friend in town who owns a goat as a pet...he even sleeps in the house on his own bed! He's a cutie.

Secrets Theme (AC)
Decadent Kane Visiting from the A-Z Challenge
Paranormal Romance Author

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Carmel – that’s good the goats are being put to use and helping clear the weeds, they’re doing that here with some of our herds …

@ Keith – goat meat is quite common in Greece and in Jamaica – are two other places I can think of … and then the chef Matt Gillan with his goat dish that went straight through to the Master Chef Women’s Institute Banquet in 2015 – my post 13 January 2016 …

… and yes more butchers are getting goat in … and goat’s cheese – I love too …

@ Phillip – isn’t the Guernsey Goat special …

@ Beste – that lady in Guernsey was in jeopardy for her life, if the Germans had found out …

@ Nila – simply because they didn’t know and didn’t understand conservation … it was only really starting to be appreciated in the 1800s and then much more in the 1900s – I agree that local breeds would have special attributes … we did find out eventually …

I gather goats were domesticated 10,000 years ago …

@ Deniz – it’s interesting what has survived and what has been lost along the way … but thankfully we do have some areas where nature can roam free …

@ Emily – yes the lady who saved the goat was pretty special – thank goodness she wasn’t caught. I imagine goats would be ‘wild’ in Ecuador and would be farmed … it’s fascinating how animals have adapted to their own needs during evolution …

@ Diedre – isn’t he a handsome lad!! Yes that’s a problem isn’t it … his lack of personal hygience?!

@ Christine – yes he is a beautiful as well as handsome goat …

@ DC – thanks for your visits … depends on the breed. How interesting your friend in town has a goat residing in his house with its own bed …

Cheers to you all – we’ll all be fighting over the Golden Goat – he’s pretty amazing isn’t he – handsome lad … thanks for your visits and comments - Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Goats are such intrepid and interesting creatures. I love watching them when they take the side of a mountain as if it were a freeway. I had no idea goats were domesticated so long ago. Very interesting.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

We had a feral cat once, that my son found abandoned in a field as a very small kitten. This cat never did like people, only my son, and really never was completely domesticated.

Vinodini Iyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vinodini Iyer said...

I had no idea there were so many varieties of goats. I wonder how the breeds are spread across various topographies.

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

Oh my gosh, that golden goat! Isn't that a beauty? The Bagot looks a bit like Dutch goats, but more furry. No wonder they are s match for the British weather.


Thanks so much for your posts, I really love to learn about the species!

Debbie D. said...

I didn't know there were so many different breeds of goats. The Golden Guernsey has a beautiful coat! Thanks for the education, Hillary. ☺

Paula Kaye said...

I learned so much today about goats!

Out on the prairie said...

When a friend passed some of his cattle were too wild to even move, he had been the only human around them. Here in Iowa there are more feral cats than people, a nuisance created by poor pet owners releasing unwanted pets. Many think farmers want more animals, they should see my feed bill already.

Bob Scotney said...

I hadn't heard of the Bagot goat before. I saw plenty of feral goats in Norway - well they seemed feral to me. I will look ot for feral goats when we go to Cornwall next month

There have been problems with accessing my blog today - very slow loading for some reason or another.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee – goats are fascinating aren’t they – and yes they are total mountain climbers – amazing how they can hold their footings on the sheer cliff edge – near enough a freeway for some (people) goats! I was somewhat surprised at goats being domesticated so long ago …

@ Karen – good to see you back … feral kittens are always around – but not quite rare breeds!

@ Vinodini – I know lots of varieties of species out there …well they evolved (adapted) to their surroundings over the millennia or jumped land-bridges when the tectonic plates move …

@ Sylvia – I know I thought the golden goat would entice comments. The Bagot is an amazing species and your Dutch goats could well be connected … and yes our British weather comes to the fore …

So glad you’re enjoying the posts – it was a challenge to create them, but one I enjoyed 14 months ago!

@ Debbie – so many species of so many breeds – always amazes me too and that Golden Guernsey very special!

@ Paula – good to see you and am glad you learnt a few things …

@ Steve – oh how interesting … the cattle were so wild and attached to their owner, who had died. Feral cats again – not really a rare breed?! Yes looking after animals that have been abandoned … so sad – bet they’re pleased you help them …

@ Bob – yes I imagine there are lots of feral goats in Norway … the Bagot was an interesting find. Oh wonderful a trip to Cornwall – enjoy …

Thanks for the note re your blog – someone else from South Africa has been having problems – I’ve emailed her … and mine has been slow loading … it always seems to happen during the A-Z …

Thanks everyone – the Golden Guernsey has been a hit – bless him!! Lots of goat breeds … cheers Hilary

Tyrean Martinson said...

Feral Goats - that's kind of wild to me, but it makes sense with the history. Animals adapt and survive human chaos.

Jo said...

First thing I had to do was Google Black Mountains. I'd never heard of them. Pity British goats were so neglected but glad to hear some survive. Only time I had much to do with a goat was staying in France they had one on the property which would butt you at the slightest opportunity.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Goats are awesome! I don't know why I'm surprised they have goats in England, of course they have goats in England.

Joanne said...

Feral Goats are far more interesting than the feral pigs in Texas - they are quite destructive. Clever Findings and baby goats are sure cute. I never thought about so many species.

Sophie Duncan said...

I've only see feral goats once and that was down in the Valley of the Rocks down in Devon. I have met a couple of domesticated ones, including a pygmy one who was at a wildfowl sanctuary and rather like the food that was feeding the birds :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

Mary Montague Sikes said...

My first encounter with wild goats was on the island of Jamaica. I was surprised that they climbed trees!

Jacqui Murray said...

Love the word 'feral'. It sounds like what it is--undomesticated. Wild.

Betsy Brock said...

Interesting that the Alpine goats were considered fancier and brought to Britain. They are all good looking, I think!

Hey, you could just rerun this for tomorrow for G is for Goat! haha.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

How interesting that Crusaders might have brought Bagot goats back into England with them on their return.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tyrean – goats I usually see scrambling around … but as you say animals adapt and survive human chaos.

@ Jo – it was an unintended consequence of the War – some things can’t be attended to … oh yes I’m sure they’re protective of their space …

@ CD – goats are amazing creatures … we have a wide range of animals here … as you’re finding out …

@ Joanne – we have wild boar here too – and they do dig themselves around the place. It’s good that we’re realising there are so many species …

@ Sophie – yes the Valley of the Rocks is a stunning place isn’t it – it came up in my Devon series. I think goats are becoming more common … and the pygmy ones must be ideal in some places – and they’d enjoy the bird food, I can see that …

@ Monti – well the Jamaicans take goat with them, or make sure it’s available when they travel – Usain Bolt made sure they had goat at the Olympics! Yes they do climb trees – I’ve written about that in relation to a wine farm in South Africa, also in Portugal … fun to see …

@ Jacqui – yes feral is a fun word … sadly here we mostly use it for cats that have escaped and gone awol …

@ Betsy – I think the Alpine goats were available … our stock of animals had fallen drastically during the War … but they can be good looking – can’t they … I could do a re-run today … but I cobbled up a Gobbling Goose post

@ Gail – I’m sure the Crusaders brought back a range of animals and things from their wars … but one doesn’t think of goats really – still perhaps it was true – especially seeing as Columbus took cows with him to North America …


Thanks everyone - glad the goats entranced you - I love seeing them, but looking after them is another matter - I'm not a farm girl! Cheers Hilary

Sara C. Snider said...

Strange about Swiss goats being imported when native breeds fare so much better. The British Primitive goat is quite beautiful and striking. And that's a great story about the woman saving the goats during the war. :)

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

Rhodesia said...

Another interesting post and one I would never have thought of for F, very interesting, and again I have learnt a whole lot of new info. Keep up the good work Diane

Sharon M Himsl said...

That's a lot of goats! Your photos always make your posts enjoyable. Thanks!

"Female Scientists Before Our Time"
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Rhonda Albom said...

Goats are interesting animals and seem to have many uses. I have been particularly amused by fainting goats and they do seem to have a purpose.

DMS said...

How wonderful that a woman saved the last of the Golden Guernsey by hiding them away in a cave. Thank goodness she did that! They do look very pretty. I have always loved goats for some reason. I had no idea about their history though, so this was a great post. Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Liz A. said...

Someone I follow on Twitter seems to be obsessed with goats at the moment. I may have to tweet her this link.

M. Denise C. said...

I knew this post would be a great one with some good pics. I love goats. Especially baby goats and they way they hop around.

Maria said...

I had no idea we had Feral goats! You learn something every day. Thank you for sharing.