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Our Furry Friends

Goats-Fun Facts-

  • A baby goat is called a kid, but did you know that a goat giving birth is said to be "kidding"?

  • Goats are sociable animals and therefore become depressed if they are separated or isolated from their companions, however they are not flock-orientated like sheep.

  • They are one of the cleanliest animals and are much more selective feeders than cows, sheep, pigs, swine and even dogs.

  • Goats are very intelligent and curious animals. Their inquisitive nature is exemplified in their constant desire to explore and investigate anything unfamiliar which they come across.

  • They communicate with each other by bleating. Mothers will often call to their young (kids) to ensure they stay close-by. Mother and kid goats recognise each other’s calls soon after the mothers give birth.

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Alpacas Fun Facts-

1. Alpacas’ average life span is 20 years.

Just like their llama cousins, the average lifespan of an alpaca is 20 years. According to Alpacainfo.com the longest documented lifespan for an alpaca is 27 years old.

2. Alpacas are relatively clean animals.

Unlike most livestock, alpacas are quite clean and easy to care for. Most alpacas do not have a bad smell.

Considering they do not have an awful or strong smell (thank goodness!), it makes sense why more people have them as pets than other types of livestock.

3. Alpacas don’t usually spit.

Like llamas, alpacas do not usually purposefully spit at humans. From time to time they do, but many times humans usually just get caught in the crossfire between two alpacas.

4. Alpacas are usually safe to be around.

Unlike some livestock, alpacas are very quiet and gentle animals. Occasionally, an alpaca may try to kick with its’ hind legs, but it’s usually just a reflex from being touched on its’ rear.

5. There are only two breeds of alpacas.

The two breeds are huacaya (wah-KI-ah) and suri (SOO-ree). About 90% of alpacas are the huacaya breed, whereas the suri breed only makes up about 10% of all alpacas.

6. Alpacas cannot live alone.

Alpacas have really strong herding instincts. The best way to keep an alpaca with a companion is to have them all be the same gender. This is because even neutered alpacas or llamas can sometimes successfully bond with each other.

7. Alpacas are vegetarian.

Did you know that a 125-lb. alpaca only eats 2-lbs. per day? I think our guinea pigs eat more than that! The alpacas’ diet mostly consists of grass, but can also include leaves, wood, bark or stems.

8. Alpacas do not have teeth in the top-front of their mouths.

Did you know that alpacas do not have teeth in the top-front of their mouths? That’s why they always look like they have an adorable underbite!

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Sheep-Fun Facts-

1. Sheep have rectangular pupils

Rectangular pupils allow for a wide field of vision, around 270 to 320 degrees. This means that sheep can see almost everything around them, except for what’s directly behind them, without having to turn their heads! As prey species, this helps sheep stay aware of their surroundings and watch for predators, even when their head is down grazing.

2. Sheep have an excellent sense of smell

One way sheep communicate with each other and their surroundings is through scent. Sheep have scent glands in front of their eyes and between the digits of their hooves that produce smelly secretions used to communicate with one another!

3. Ewes recognize their lamb’s bleat

Sheep also communicate through vocalizations, often called bleating. A female sheep that has given birth to a lamb is called an ewe. Ewes are able to recognize which lamb is theirs just by the sound of their calls.

4. Counting sheep? There are over 1000 breeds of sheep!

With all of these different breeds, there exists some very unique characteristics.

  • Some breeds of sheep, like the Hebridean and Navajo-Churro, possess the polycerate gene, meaning they have the ability to grow two, four, and even six horns!

  • Racka sheep are unique in that both males and females have long, spiral-shaped horns.

  • Najdi sheep have long, silky hair, rather than curly wool like other sheep breeds.

  • 5. Sheep are clever animals

  • Despite some popular beliefs, sheep are intelligent animals with great memories. Research has shown that sheep can recognize up to 50 other sheep faces, and remember them for two years. They are even able to recognize human faces! Other studies have shown that sheep are capable of remembering how to navigate complex mazes.

  • 6. Sheep can self-medicate

  • Sheep use plants and other substances that otherwise hold no nutritional value to them to prevent or treat disease, and teach their young to do them same.

  • 7. Sheep are emotionally complex with distinct personalities

  • Sheep are capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions, just as humans do. Many studies have highlighted the ability of sheep to feel afraid, angry, bored, sad, and happy. Not only are sheep able to feel basic emotions, but their feelings can be very complex. For example, scientific studies have shown that sheep can be pessimists or optimists!

  • 8. Sheep are highly social animals

  • A group of sheep is called a flock, but sheep do not remain in flocks simply for protection from predators. Sheep form strong bonds with one another, such as those between a mother and her lamb, and other friendships. Studies have revealed that sheep can distinguish between different emotional expressions, such as pictures of sheep with calm, startled, or fearful expressions. This is a very important skill for sheep to have, as knowing how other sheep are feeling is the basis for forming strong social relationships and keeping the flock safe.

  • 9. Sheep have an upper lip that is divided by a distinct groove

  • This groove is called a philtrum. Sheep are selective grazers, and prefer to eat vegetation close to the soil surface. The philtrum allows them to get close to the ground and only select the grasses and other vegetation that they like.

  • 10. Sheep do not have top front teeth

  • Missing teeth? No problem! Sheep have a hard upper palate that the lower teeth press up against to breakdown food.

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