Saturday, February 19, 2011

Goats and Chickens

by Wolf Schneider

“Acting the giddy goat” is an expression meaning to behave foolishly, but goats aren’t really foolish, I found out when I recently visited some in Santa Fe. They are curious and intelligent. Goats can be trained to pull carts. They are sometimes escape artists when it comes to fleeing their pens. They tend to be picky eaters, fast runners, and agile climbers. They are closely related to sheep and antelope. Female goats, called does or nannies, make milk that is ideal for cheese, ice cream, and soap. All-natural moisturizing goat soap is what the Santa Fe-based company Milk and Honey ( makes from its two goats.

A Santa Fe goat Survives winter

These goats live near a rooster pen inside Santa Fe city limits. Back-yard poultry are somewhat popular in Santa Fe. The Feed Bin on West Alameda sells chicks like the Rhode Island Reds for less than $10 each. But back to the goats--they were super friendly, coming right up to be petted. The goats smelled just fine, although un-castrated male goats—called bucks—can be stinky. It’s a hormonal thing. This corral smelled like the earthy alfalfa the goats were noshing, reminding me of horses. Goats are often friendly with horses. A goat is a good companion for a solo horse since a goat tends to be cheaper to care for than a second horse. Both horses and goats like the companionship of other farm animals since they are herd animals. You know: safety in numbers. It was comforting to pet the goats and enter their nature-ruled world.
Santa Fe-based Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art. She also blogs at

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in artist Gregory Lomayesva's Studio

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