Mytonic Goats

Mytonic Goats

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Myotonic goats (often called fainting goats) are a landrace breed. The first documentation of their presence in the US occurring around the 1870’s where a transient farm worker named John Tinsley showed up in Marshall County, Tennessee at the farm of Dr. H. H. Mayberry. “No one knows where he came from; he had a strange accent and wore a cap similar to either a fez or beret. He was thought to have come from Nova Scotia and he brought along with him three or four does and a buck of a “unique” strain. Tinsley was a quiet, private person and never shared his origins or where he came into ownership of his animals. He suddenly left one day after selling the animals to Dr. Mayberry.” This is the best documentation of the origin of the breed. 

Myotonic goats are docile, curious and friendly. They are self-sufficient, sure-footed and adaptable. They are not fence jumpers or climbers. Does are excellent mothers, very protective of their babies, and easy kidders. A 200% kidding ratio is not uncommon. Well-attached compact udders produce milk “on demand.” Research completed at Virginia State and Virginia Tech universities has revealed these durable, self-sufficient pasture animals to be more parasite resistant than other breeds. Myotonics tend to be “year-round” (aseasonal) breeders.

Myotonia Congenita. Myotonic Congenita is the medical term to describe stiffening. Myotonia is a inherited neuro-muscular condition which causes the goats muscling to stiffen or “lock-up” when they are startled or overly excited . If they are off balance when their muscles lock up they will tip over, thus the terms of Nervous Goats, Fainters, or Stifflegs. These goats will still be chewing their feed/hay should they get startled and loose balance. Myotonia occurs in the muscle fiber… not as a function of the central nervous system…. and causes no problem for the goats. The goats stay conscious the whole time……thus the term “fainter” is a misnomer. The proper name for these animals is “Myotonic”.

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