Information about: Goat

Index | Goat

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Goat. A genus of ruminant quadrupeds so closely allied to the sheep that it is not easy exactly to define the distinction, although the common domestic goat and sheep are of widely different appearance. It is frequently mentioned in the books of Moses, and formed a large portion of the flocks of the patriarchs. The uses of the goat are numerous. The flesh is good; that of the kid, or young goat, is, in most countries, esteemed a delicacy. The milk is very rich and nutritious, more easy of digestion than that of the cow. Some goats yield as much as four quarts of milk daily, although the average quantity is more nearly two. The skin of the goat was early used for clothing, and is now dressed as leather for many uses, particularly for making gloves and the finer kinds of shoes. The hair, which may be advantageously clipped annually, is used for making ropes which are indestructible in water. The horns are used for making knife handles, etc., and the fat is said to be superior to that of the ox for candles. Goats are found wild only in mountainous countries; they all exhibit a great aptitude for scrambling among rocks and bushes, are extremely sure-footed on narrow ledges and pinnacles, and display great strength and agility in leaping. The Rocky Mountain goat is the only American wild goat, although Kennedy's mountain goat of Alaska is by some regarded as a distinct species. Its size is about that of an ordinary sheep, and its general appearance is not unlike that of a sheep of the Merino breed, its long, straight hair hanging down in an abundant white fleece.