Girl with a goat

Kristy Durham took this photo of her daughter Mariah holding a newborn Nubian kid.

Kristy Durham took this photo of her daughter Mariah holding a newborn Nubian kid. Nubians are a large dairy breed noted for their abundant milk production.

Goats have been raised in the Tehachapi Mountains since the 1860s. In the 1930s and 1940s, the late Bob Freeman raised goats out in the Sand Canyon area with a partner. Many others have raised goats over the years, including the late Randall Clagg.

Goats are believed to be one of the first livestock animals domesticated by humans. Goats have made life possible for people in very arid climates by eating tough, dry plant material that people couldn’t digest, and turning that meager food into milk, meat, cheese, yogurt, etc. that have nourished humans for millennia.

Goats are often used today for fire hazard reduction and for controlling shrubs. They are more browsers than grazers, meaning they like to eat leaves, twigs, shoots, flowers and fruit as much as they do grass, and they often eat with their heads up rather than down as they reach for plant foliage.

There are few cuter animals than baby goats, and they seem born with personality and an innate talent for mischief. The old saying “Goats will eat anything” is definitely an exaggeration (contrary to cartoons, they don’t eat soup cans) but they will sample a wide variety of potential food items, and often like drier, less succulent forage than sheep. Goats will happily munch a dried mustard stalk or tumbleweed while there is better pasture nearby.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.