Thursday 19th of February marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Goat – the eighth in a twelve-year cycle of animals representing the Chinese zodiac. The zodiac features a wide range of creatures; great and small, living and mythical, domesticated and wild:
The beginning of each New Year is on the first day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and therefore the date varies each spring, according to the cycles of the moon.
Chinese astrologists believe that those born under the sign of the goat are thought to be peace loving, kind and popular, but that they can also be prone to being clingy and resistant to change! Make of that what you will, all you goats out there!
Defra statistics find that there are roughly 88,000 actual goats in the UK, half of which are adult breeding animals. In England and Wales there are thought to be around 30,000 producing milk. Whilst caring for a goat requires a bit more knowledge and commitment than your average cat or dog, they do make interesting and entertaining pets; their curious and friendly nature making them wonderful companions for anyone prepared to give goats the attention they need.
A number of goat rescue sanctuaries can be found across the UK, probably the largest is Kent-based Buttercups. They are always looking for foster carers to help ease the pressure on resources – if you think you might like to find out more and perhaps get involved, there’s plenty of information on their website.
And if you are considering taking on a rescue animal, or indeed looking to welcome any goats into your life, you can find much more information on goat welfare and husbandry from the RSPCA here and from the British Goat Society here.
But until next time, “Happy Year of the Goat!”