“The Backyard Goat: An Introductory Guide to Keeping Productive Pet Goats”
By Sue Weaver; Storey, 215 pages
I have to admit that when I first saw this book, I thought the subtitle was "An Introductory Guide to Keeping Protective Pet Goats." Guard goats instead of guard dogs? Now that was something I had to read. As it turns out, the operative word here is "productive" not "protective." So, if you were thinking that you might be able to replace your home security system with a couple of ninja goats, don't turn off your alarm yet.
What you will find in this handbook is a goat-load of information about choosing, caring for, and training your pet goat. I learned many things about these horned ruminants. For example, if you want to keep your lawn trimmed, buy a sheep not a goat. Grazing is not a goat thing. But if your yard is overrun with blackberry brambles, a goat is what you need. And it's probably best to have two goats since they don't like to be alone. When preparing a shelter for your goat, make sure it isn't drafty (they might catch pneumonia); and while your goat can withstand subzero temperatures (so long as he's dry), you might consider making a goat coat. To keep things economical, the author suggests purchasing some secondhand cardigans at a thrift store. Once you cut off the sleeves, you can maneuver the goat's forelegs through the armholes and button the cardigan up his back. Not only will he be warmer, he'll be one dapper-looking goat.
Well, I could go on and on about goats (did you know you can teach a goat to spin, shake hands, even dance?), but I'll stop here so that you can check out the book and read more about the wonderful world of goats. I'm still intrigued with the idea of using goats for protection. After all, the author does say that goats can be "mischievous, stubborn, and destructive." I'm no expert on security, but maybe with the right training, Billy and Nanny could become fierce-little bodyguards. Ruminating about ruminants – it's what I do.
Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.