Apparently “goat yoga” is now a thing.  When baby goats are learning to jump and balance, they like to test their skills by standing on and jumping off things. At our place, they use the milk stand, a bucket full of sand. a straw bale, a chair, or whatever I set out specifically for this purpose. But, for baby goats penned without other exercise options, these little guys will test their skills by jumping on and off their mother’s back.  It’s super cute to see and doesn’t seem to hurt the does. But, even the most forbearing of our doe-mamas gets a little fed up after hours of being treated like a trampoline.

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In comes goat yoga… Apparently some clever person decided to give mama goats a back-break and make some extra money by harnessing this natural goat-kid tendency and combining it with yoga. It’s kind of a brilliant idea.

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I can tell you that no one – not even the stuffiest, least sentimental people I’ve met – are immune to goat cuteness. Having a goat stand on your back during yoga is a silly gimmick for sure.  But it’s also likely a therapeutic, fun way to de-stress while enjoying a harmless* bit of novelty.  It certainly seems more beneficial on all counts than watching TV, drinking too much, or recklessly driving a sports car. Depending on how long this behavior is encouraged, it may help socialize baby goats so they become great homestead helpers.  Though, if allowed to go on too long, it might also turn them into house-hopping, escape-artists not fit for homestead work or even for use as pets.

Straw Bale Goat

Anyhow, goat yoga is on my mind.  No, not because we actually intend to offer it here on the reLuxe Ranch. As charming as it is, I know that goats, even young ones, poop constantly and all over the place.  And I am pretty sure that after the initial excitement of goat yoga wears off people will realize that they were temporarily taken in by an adorable internet meme. But, I am also hoping that after the fad passes, a love of goats, for more practical purposes, will persist.

Chair

And since one of my does, La Bandida, just had me a beautiful baby boy goat, and I have several more goats due to kid over the next couple months, I am hoping this fad leads to an increased interest in keeping goats for the right reasons.

Goats are wonderful animals.  They have all the cute, cuddliness of a Golden Retriever with the added benefits of making great manure for compost, controlling weeds, and offering the possibility of milk and/or meat.  They do require appropriate care and good fencing.  And since there are not as many good goat vets around as there are dog vets, they require owners with good research abilities for the times when health, or other issues, come up. They are not lawnmowers, though they will do some yard work for you. (Continuously feeding them nothing but grass will make them more susceptible to parasite overload.)  And they absolutely must be part of a herd, so you need at least two.

If you want to read more about how we keep goats, check out my article Mother Earth News, ABCs of Homesteading: G is for Goats.   And if you are in the market for Nigerian Dwarf goats…let me know!

*By harmless I mean that the goats live where the studio is located so they and don’t have to endure stressful trips to “work” or lengthy separations from their herds and that they spend the rest of their time doing normal, healthy goat stuff like eating tree leaves and sunning themselves in pasture.

 

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