Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ................................................................................................................painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Nature Study #65: The Goat

"Goats are among our most interesting domesticated animals, and their history is closely interwoven with the history of the development of civilization. In Europe, their milk is made into cheese that has a world-wide fame; and from the hair of some of the species, beautiful fabrics are woven. The goat is naturally an animal of the high mountains."
-Anna Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study, pg. 269 Today we had the delight of visiting friends, Doreen and Samantha, who raise goats. On the ride over, I read the section on the goat in The Handbook of Nature Study and offered my students some questions to which they could seek the answers while we were there.
(The questions from HNS are in italic.)
What noises does a goat make?
As soon as we pulled up we could hear the goats calling. It was near their feeding time and they were letting everyone know it, with their "naaaah" type call. They were distracted by our visit, however, and were very friendly, coming up to us for attention. Describe the goat, its looks and actions.
We had plenty of opportunity for this, as they had eleven goats of three different ages.What does the goat eat? Does a goat chew its cud like a cow?
We learned that not only do these goats eat a mixed feed, but they are given mineral supplements and they love grass and leaves, which they loved eating from our hands. We learned that they do chew cud.
How does it happen that the goat is sure-footed?
We had plenty of opportunity to see there feet and how they use them. As you can see they are small with a division down the middle to make two separate toe nails.
Describe the horns.
These goats have their horns trimmed, we were not able to find out answers about their horns.Do you think the goat has a keen sense of sight, of hearing and of smell? Do you think the goat is intelligent?
They seemed aware and alert the whole time we were there. Doreen and Samantha told us many stories of their naughty antics, which pointed to their creativity and intelligence.This goat loved to show off for us. He was quite amusing.
Describe the goat's beard.
We learned that it is not only the billy goats that have beards, but also the nannys. It is from goats that we have the term "goatee." Doreen next brought out some Fritos corn chips, and our kids were able to feed the goat kids, which was a real treat for both types of kids. Even Alex, with Steven's assistance, took delight in feeding them. Doreen said that the salt, in the heat, was good for them.
Do you think that goats like to climb to high points? Can they jump off steep places in safety?Samantha next took the baby goats out into the exercise pen and we were treated to them running, jumping and playing, which was quite entertaining.
"Everyone knows the gayety of young kids, which prompts them to cut the most amusing and burlesque capers." -Charles Burkett, Our Domestic Animals
How is goat's milk used? What kinds of cheese are made from it?
While we were there Samantha milked one of the goats and brought the milk into their kitchen. We watched Doreen strain the milk, and she told them about the pros and cons of pasteurization. We have had the wonderful soft cheese that she makes from the milk before. She flavors it with all sorts of things,to make many varieties. She also told us about the process of making hard cheeses, but that she has not tried to do this yet.
Goat Study Button

6 comments:

  1. What a great study, I've enjoyed browsing your blog - putting you in my google reader. :) Nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  3. What fun! I love to watch goats play and it is so funny to see them try to climb up high....we have some not too far from our house. There is one that climbs up on top of a rock and makes me laugh every time.

    This was a fun entry to read.

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  4. We used to have pet goats when I was in college, and it was always fun to watch them. Great nature study.

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  5. Looks like it was a great learning activity!

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  6. I love goats! They are so fun! I had two when I was in high school. I bet the kids loved this study!

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