They’re the G.O.A.T.
If you follow us on social media, specifically Instagram, you’ll know that we’ve spiced up Tuesdays by introducing you to a different member of the Zoo’s troop of Nigerian dwarf goats every week. While our Zoo Fans seem to enjoy seeing pictures of these ZooFarm residents along with cute captions, we thought we’d give you the opportunity to get to know our four-legged friends a little better.
First, let’s talk about Nigerian dwarf goats. This American breed of goat derives from West Africa, but is fully domesticated and can be found on farms across the globe. These goats are smaller in size, hence the name “dwarf”, reaching 16 to 24 inches long and weighing up to 80 pounds.
Nigerian dwarf goats are primarily used for dairy and a healthy doe, or female goat, can produce up to two quarts of milk per day! Their milk is often consumed by humans for its easily-digestible butterfats, but is also used for feeding goats’ kids, obviously… They can breed year-round and often give birth to up to four kids at a time after a 145 to 153-day gestation period.
These domesticated mammals can live to be 12 to 14 years old and are popular because of their gentle personalities; they still like to head butt each other to establish dominance, though.
When the Zoo’s goats aren’t spending their summer in Hampton Roads, they return to their second home at Country Charm Farm in Halifax, Virginia. The goats at the ZooFarm are friendly to visitors who enter their yard and often enjoy being brushed by the guests.
Bailey is the oldest and most experienced goat at the Zoo. At eight years old, this is her fourth summer in Norfolk. She can easily be identified by her black coat with large tan and white spots, and Bailey also has a beautiful black goatee. This year Bailey brought her youngest two kids, Linus and Lucy, and two older kids, Polly and Emily.
Linus is less than one year old and is half dark tan and half white in color. His sister Lucy looks similar to him but has a lighter tan coat with more white on her torso. Although they are siblings, Keepers say these two are the complete opposite of each other. Linus is more outgoing and will seek attention from visitors while Lucy will normally stay on top of the goats’ resting structure and tends to be more shy.
Emily is one-and-a-half and is back for the second year in a row. She and Madison, who is also wearing a green collar, look very similar in coloration, but have distinguished coat patterns.
Polly is two-and-a-half years old and has returned to the Zoo for her third summer. She doesn’t have any kids with her this year, but can be spotted head butting her pal Maggie or problem-solving to get leaves off the tree in the yard. Keepers say Polly acts like she runs the place and often uses other goats as stepping stools to help reach the tree branches.
Madison is the mom of Logan and Lucky. She is three-years-old and has been coming to the Zoo every summer since she was a kid. Keepers have noticed that she tends to be a slow eater, so to ensure she gets enough food, she is fed her grain separately. When it’s close to feeding time she will go to her eating area and wait for the Keepers to bring her grain.
It’s pretty easy to tell Madison’s two kids apart. Logan is mostly black and tan with a white patch on his head and Lucky is mostly white with darker tan legs and neck. Of the two boys, Keepers say Logan loves to be brushed the most.
Maggie is three-years-old and is back at the Zoo for the second summer in a row. She has an interesting coat, with chocolate brown hair towards the back of her torso and a black and dark tan neck, separated by a white midsection. She is also wearing a bright blue collar.
Avery is the youngest of our single ladies at the age of one. She looks similar to Polly but has a much smaller white patch on her side. This is her first year at the Zoo and Keepers say she has adapted well to living with the other goats and the extra attention from humans.
The last of our single does is Mia. She is wearing a black collar and has a mostly white coat with a dark tan neck, but don’t get this bearded gal confused with Seth.
Seth is the Zoo’s only adult male goat this year and he certainly doesn’t act like an adult. He’s definitely a “mommas’ boy” and is usually found curled up next to his mom, Addison. He also enjoys spending time getting attention from guests and Keepers, who say he can be pretty demanding for attention at times.
Addison, a four-year-old goat, is back for a second time and enjoys spending time on the goat resting structure napping with Seth. Keepers say she has the spunkiest attitude.
Dyna is five and is spending her second summer at the Zoo with two of her kids, Lana and Emma. Keepers say she is most likely to nibble on things she isn’t supposed to, such as Keepers’ radios, shoe strings and even clothing. Dyna is also considered one of the most talkative goats, along with her friend Eva.
Lana is less than a year old. Keepers say she is one of the friendliest goats and doesn’t mind approaching guests for brushing. Emma is just over a year old and has returned to the ZooFarm for her second year. Keepers note she is very independent and often tries to pull down leaves from the tree in the yard with Polly, but often just eats whatever Polly successfully pulls down.
According to Keepers, Eva is the loudest goat in the troop. When it’s close to feeding time, she starts calling for Keepers, which can be heard throughout the ZooFarm. Eva wants to make sure everyone knows it’s dinner time! She has three kids with her this year – Landon, Luke and Lennie.
Landon has a black coat with brown, tan, and white spots. Luke and Lennie are both tan, but Luke has big brown spots on his sides and Lennie has one big spot on his snout. The triplets can often be found close to mom or jumping around in the yard.
While all of these goats are cute, it is important to remember that not all cute animals make good pets. Goats need specialized care including a special diet, regular hoof maintenance, proper shelter and a secure, fenced-in space to roam as well as climbing structures for exercise. You also have to make sure that they don’t have access to things they shouldn’t be eating, including toxic plants, and you must check with your local legislation to make sure having goats is legal.
If you love goats, but know they aren’t the type of pet for you, then be sure to visit the Zoo during the summer months to spend all the time you need with our goats!