Learning about Goats
Food literacy for young children is all about understanding where our food comes from. Goats are an important source of milk and meat that are consumed around the world—more people consume goat milk than cow’s milk in the world. These are domestic goats, raised and bred as farm animals. There are also mountain goats that live in steep, rocky areas in our province.
What are goats?
Goats are stout, four-legged mammals with horns and hooves. They can grow to be as big as an adult human, from 125-180 lbs but there are also some domestic varieties that are tiny, like dwarf and pygmy goats which are only 20 -50 lbs. Goats predominantly eat grass as they are herbivores, but also mosses, other plants and they’ve been known to get into garbage!
Here are some activity ideas to learn about goats:
• Visit a goat farm. Throughout the province, many farmers raise goats. Some children’s farms even have petting corrals where they can brush and pet baby goats, called kids. A few special spots include Goats on the Roof in Comox, the Saltspring Island Goat Cheese Company or Beacon Hill Children’s Farm in Victoria.
• Eat/drink goat milk, goat cheese or goat meat. Goat milk and cheese are quite strong in flavour compared to cow’s milk and can be great to introduce to children at a young age. Be sure it is pasteurized goat milk fortified with vitamin D and folic acid. Goat meat is popular in many cuisines, especially Indian and Middle Eastern, and is often stewed or curried to maintain moisture, as it’s a leaner meat. Childcare facilities with 8+ children should check with their Licensing Officer about what is needed to serve food.
• Play leap goat or mountain goats. Goats like to leap and climb over each other and their habitats. Create a game or obstacle course for the children to scamper like goats.
• Goat hoof prints. Make a hoof print trail to follow or do an art project with hooves made from carved potato halves, sponges or stencils.
• Read a book about goats. The Three Billy Goats Gruff or Gregory, the Terrible Eater, for example.
For more ideas and resources
Learn more about goats here.