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Fainting Goat Special




Fainting Goats

An essay on the breed of goat, by Foggers. Prepare to be Chazzle Dazzled!


Yes, these animals do exist. This is not a joke. Fainting goats are serious business.

The fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat that has a special super-power. You are probably thinking "cool, it can turn invisible! Or it's really strong, or maybe it can fly!" but this power is more incredible than it. When startled, the goat will faint for roughly ten seconds. An interesting thing to note about the fainting is that younger goats simply fall to the side while older goats have trained themselves to stand still by spreading their legs.


An adult goat in training for efficient fainting

The fainting super-power is a hereditary genetic condition called myotonia congenita which is a neuromuscular ion channelopathy that affects muscle movement for a short period of time. From the congenita we can see that it is present from birth. It also affects 1 in 100,000 people worldwide (symptoms include difficulty swallowing, gagging, stiff movements when repeating an action), which perhaps credibility to genetic theory. Since it is a genetic anomoly it is interesting to wonder why this goat hasn't died out as a species as it would be thought a goat that faints would be easy to attack and eat. However it does survive.

But how does it survive?

People like to breed fainting goats to harness the super-power that they have. The secrets are closely guarded and there are many theories as to how this done. Not being a man of theory, I will move on with solid facts.

Slightly smaller than standard breeds of goat, fainting goats are generally 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in) tall and can weigh anywhere from 27 to 79 kg (60 to 170 lb). This is an advantage for small farms since they do not require as much food as a standard goat. Fainting goats are not classified as dairy goats but as meat goats (perhaps this is why they scare so easily?) and are listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory. Due to this the fainting goat has a high value. In this day and age of the recession it sounds like a safe asset that will gain in profit. Consider this for a long-term low cost investment.

The origin of the fainting goat is peculiar. The goats appear to have arrived in Marshall County, Tennessee, in the early 1800s, courtesy of a reclusive farm worker named Jon Tinsley who was most likely from Nova Scotia. Before he left the area, he sold his goats — three does and a buck — to Dr. H.H. Mayberry, who bred them.

It is theorized that fainting goats were used by their handlers during travel for protecting other livestock (such as sheep) from predators by involuntarily "sacrificing themselves" due to their condition. This allowed the handlers and livestock to escape. However, while there are records of goats being transported with livestock in earlier times, there is no proof that these goats suffered from myotonia nor that they were used for such a purpose.

Origins of the myotonia in the goats is unknown.

There is a festival in honour of the goat, called Goats, Music, and More Festival which includes a fainting goat show tournament. God knows how they are judged in it, perhaps it is a fight to the death between the goats?

If you Google 'fainting goats' most of the sites are videos of them. The most recommended being

. Watched by many and receiving a high rating, it really will enlighten your fainting goat experience. It is advised you watch all of it but if you are short of time, watch from around 40 seconds.

Ther is also an International Fainting Goat Association. I hear their annual dinner and speech gets a bit out of hand.


A goat faces the troll....

Next time in my blog, a detailed investigation on the aye-aye.


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