Fainting Goats are known by several other names. Myotonic goats, Wooden
Leg goats, Nervous Goats, “Stiff Leg” goats, and “Fallin’Down” goats. I
first heard of them while working in Honey Brook, PA. I passed an Amish
farm on the side of the road each day, and they had a sign up that said
“fainting goats for sale”. One of the ladies I worked with has a
daughter who has always wanted one, and she told me about driving by
and watching them fall down at sudden noises, or cars backfiring.
Goats have a genetic characteristic know as Myotonia Congenita, which
means their muscles stiffen up when startled or excited, but cannot
loosen up right away, which means the goats sometimes “faint”. They do
not lose consciousness during a faint, and it does not hurt them. A
typical faint lasts somewhere between 15 and 20 seconds, although they
can last longer if the animal is particularly excited. As adults they
often learn to compensate and faint less often, but are seen to stiffen
up and brace themselves, or even to run with their hind legs stiff. I
get my best faints at feeding time when my goats see me coming in the
morning with a grain bucket.
origin in unknown, but they are thought to originate in Marshall County
Tennessee. The way the story goes, a man named John Tinsley arrived in
the County with 3 nannies and a billy goat that fainted. He is said to
have been an itinerant farm worker. He sold the goats a year later to
Dr H.H. Mayberry and then moved away from the area, and was never heard
from again. It is believed that these 4 goats were the original 4
fainters from which the breed developed.
fainter is a medium sized goat, and muscular in build. The traditional
colors are thought to be black and white, but they now come in a
variety of colors and hair lengths. They are excellent mothers, easy
kidders with ample milk production. They are hardy and are thought to
be somewhat more parasite resistant than other breeds of goats. Their
myotonia makes it harder for them to climb, and therefore makes them
easier to fence and raise than other breeds of goats.
Why do I
raise fainting goats? Because they are rare, and they are really fun.
We always wanted to raise a rare breed, and we found one that suits our
needs perfectly. My stock has been carefully selected and my breedings
are planned well in advance of breeding season. I do not raise any other type of goat, so there is NO possibility of a crossbreed.
the health of our goats very seriously. We want you to have a healthy,
top quality goat. Nothing less is acceptable. They are tested annually
for CL, CAE and Johne’s. These are 3 devastating goat diseases and you
do NOT want them in your herd. My herd is now closed,
and will be tested again before the sale of any stock this coming
winter and spring.