News, Culture & Society

Fifty-thousand people keep goats as pets – with some trying to knock their owners over

Walkies in collars and fluffy hoods

Camilla Ainsworth, 24, is founder of M+LK PLUS (mylkplus.com), a nut milk brand. She’s single and lives in Blackburn with her parents and fully grown goats Vincent van Goat and Nigel, both aged two. Camilla (pictured) says:

When my late great-grandmother left me £500, I bought two miniature billy goats. Everyone thought I was bonkers, but I had two as pets when I was a girl and was bereft when they died within a week of each other.

When I bought these two — who I named Vincent Van Goat and Nigel — as 12-week-old kids, I spent two weeks house-training them before they went to live in a pen in the garden.

Camilla Ainsworth bought two goats after her grandmother left her with £500. She says her beloved pets Vincent Van Goat and Nigel love to sit in the kitchen while we all eat dinner and have eaten all the vegetable and fruit plants in the garden

Now, they love to sit in the kitchen while we all eat dinner. They also climb on the sofa and anything else they can get their hooves on.

I should only feed them their special dry mix once a day, but they shout if they don’t get a second portion. Mischievously, they’ve eaten all the fruit and veg plants in the garden. They love bread and Nigel guzzles around six bottles of nut milk a week.

A favourite pastime is going on long walks on their leads. In their pink collars and matching coats, they get a lot of attention. With winter on the way, I’ll soon be dusting off their thicker coats, which have fluffy little hoods.

They even have their own Instagram page. Vincent is smaller, more fun, and cheerful in the morning. He’s a bit of a mummy’s boy, and loves to snuggle up with me on the sofa.

Meanwhile, Nigel is grumpy until he’s had his breakfast and bullies Vincent a bit. Both of them hate it when I wear wellies, and will start butting me if I do. But they’re so comical and I think they’re the perfect pets.

Noisy nannies are very unladylike!

Tom Nochi, 44, is a photographer, and lives in Essex with his wife Laura, 40, an operations delivery manager, and their sons (pictured left to right) Yoav, 12, Guy, five, and Oz, nine. They have two pygmy goats called Millie and Bertha. Tom says:

Our pet pygmies — named after Laura’s late grannies — might be nanny goats but they’re not ladylike, and burp constantly.

We bought them four years ago for £125 each from a farmer at 12 weeks old. He was overrun with kids after his billy goat escaped and impregnated every female in his herd! They’re classed as livestock, so we had to get a Council Parish Holding number from DEFRA.

Tom Nochi, 44, lives in Essex with his wife Laura and their sons (pictured left to right) Yoav, 12, Guy, five, and Oz, nine. Their pygmy goats Millie and Bertha after names after Laura's late grannies but are far from ladylike - with both pets being big on burping

Tom Nochi, 44, lives in Essex with his wife Laura and their sons (pictured left to right) Yoav, 12, Guy, five, and Oz, nine. Their pygmy goats Millie and Bertha after names after Laura’s late grannies but are far from ladylike – with both pets being big on burping

Laura was a riding instructor and I worked in a zoo, but it’s still been a learning curve. At first, we kept them indoors, worried they may be tempting to foxes. If any of us crouched down they would climb onto our shoulders. You’d find yourself stuck in a funny position, with a goat nuzzling your face. And, my goodness, they were noisy.

As they became more robust, we put them into a pen in our 80ft garden, with a shed to sleep in. They love to come into the house for cuddles, but they’re not potty trained so they have to wear baby nappies with a hole for their tails.

However, they are escape artists. A man knocked on our door and asked: ‘Do you have goats?’ When I said yes, he replied: ‘Oh, that’s nice . . . they’re in my garden!’

They’d managed to tunnel through and invited themselves round for a graze. Thankfully, he saw the funny side.

 They chased our kittens upstairs 

Tammy Faulkner, 43, is a teaching assistant and lives near Lincoln. She is single and has five children, Kurtis, 24, Ellis, 19, Imogen, 18, Freya, 13, and Felicity, four. They have two pygmy goats, Eden and Daisy, 16 months old and eight months old respectively. Tammy (pictured with Felicity) says:

Eden and Daisy used to live on a petting farm in Bradford, where my daughter Imogen was working ahead of studying veterinary medicine. When the farmer retired, she begged me to let them live here.

Tammy Faulkner took on pygmy's Eden and Daisy after the farmer of a petting farm in Bradford begged her to let the animals live with her as they were retiring. She lives with the animals and children Kurtis, 24, Ellis, 19, Imogen, 18, Freya, 13, and Felicity, four (pictured)

Tammy Faulkner took on pygmy’s Eden and Daisy after the farmer of a petting farm in Bradford begged her to let the animals live with her as they were retiring. She lives with the animals and children Kurtis, 24, Ellis, 19, Imogen, 18, Freya, 13, and Felicity, four (pictured)

I built a pen in our garden and they immediately clawed the fencing down. I’m learning that’s the way goats roll!

Although they’re sweet and loving, Eden has sharp horns, so I put foam swimming noodles on them. Our eight-week-old kittens are terrified of them, which Eden and Daisy find hilarious. They’ll sneak inside to chase them, and Eden tried to follow them upstairs.

Recently, they chewed through next door’s fence. My neighbour found them lying on the lawn with her dog.

If I bend down, they try to knock me over   

Rachel Horton, 27, is a dog groomer and lives in Wiltshire with husband Nathan, 28, a landscaper. Her pygmy goats, Susie and Steve, are both two. Rachel (pictured) says:

OUR goats are registered with the Pygmy Goat Club and have formal names, Mr Speedy and Mrs Speedy. I bought Steve for £200 two years ago and Susie a week later. She cost £250 as females are more valuable.

Because they’re not classed as domestic pets, goats must be registered with an agricultural vet, and I built a 6ft-high fence around their pen.

Rachel Horton, 27, lives with her husband and pygmy goats Mr Speedy and Mrs Speedy. She has built them a climbing frame and treats them to a wash and blow-dry at the local dog-grooming parlour

Rachel Horton, 27, lives with her husband and pygmy goats Mr Speedy and Mrs Speedy. She has built them a climbing frame and treats them to a wash and blow-dry at the local dog-grooming parlour

I also bought a climbing frame, which they love. Steve’s always wanting to rear up and be naughty. Susie’s the boss and struts around. When I let them out, they race for the house, where I follow them with a handheld vacuum to suck up their poo. Much as I love them, they never sleep indoors!

They love cuddles and crave my attention. If I bend down they try to knock me over or jump on my back.

But for all their upkeep, Susie and Steve’s guilty pleasure is a wash and blow-dry at my dog-grooming parlour! 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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