If you’re new to the fainting goat game or your are thinking about getting started as a breeder, you may be wondering why breed fainting goats in the first place? Sure, they’re cute and all, but what are the practical purposes of breeding fainting goats? Why do breeders across the United States and around the world choose to breed this species of goat above the other kinds of goats?
From a historical perspective, humans have bred animals to encourage certain traits or characteristics over time, whether that be smarter, more loyal dogs, cows that produce more milk, or goats that are meatier. While the myotonia congenita characteristics (where the fainting part of fainting goats comes in) are specific to the fainting goat, the reasons for breeding the goat in the general sense are much the same as breeding any other kind of goat.
So, why breed fainting goats? There are three primary reasons as to why a breeder would want to breed this strain of goat in particular.
- For meat: Just like most other breeds of goats, fainting goats are often bred as meat goats for slaughter. Since goats are natural climbers and jumpers, breeders often have to make an extra effort to keep their herds penned in. However, myotonia congenita usually curbs the animals’ natural inclination to climb and jump, since this can trigger a fainting spell at an inopportune time. No goat wants to climb to the top of a rocky ledge only to have it’s legs give out and fall to its death. The excessive muscle tensing in fainting goats also results in greater muscle mass, less body fat, and a greater meat-to-bone ratio than other breeds of goats.
- For fun: Fainting goats, along with other types of goats, can also be raised as pets, just like cats and dogs. Some owners raise them because of how unique they are among the animal kingdom. Others prefer fainting goats because they are easier to keep enclosed. Many breeders find the temperaments and physical appearance of fainting goats make them good companions.
- To protect the herd: When predators like wolves or coyotes are about, having an animal that will fall over when sensing danger can help protect other animals like sheep. If a hungry wolf comes to eat, it will be able to take the fainting goat–the easiest kill–so that the rest of the herd can run away. Of course, today, this probably isn’t as much of a concern for breeders since predatory animals that would feed on a herd of animals are not as common as they once were.
- Pedigree: As I have learned, some breeders are interested in preserving the breed itself for the simple fact of how unique it is. Groups such as the International Fainting Goat Association seek to preserve the legacy and purity of the fainting goat breed and hold specific standards as to what they will truly consider to be fainting goats.
So why breed fainting goats on your farm? Whether it is for fun, profit, or to preserve a piece of history, the reasons to breed fainting goats are as different as the breeders themselves. What started you down the path of breeding fainting goats? Or, if you’re just thinking about becoming a breeder, what appeals to you about the breed? Let us know and we can help share your story with other breeders and help your business grow.