Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BOOTED GOATS

The real name for Booted Goats is Stiefelgeiss.  They are mountain goats from the highlands of St. Gallen, Switzerland, which is why they have a German name.  Lots of people used to breed Stiefelgeiss goats, but starting in the 1920s, they stopped breeding them, for some reason.  By the 1980s, this type of goat was almost extinct.


That's when a Swiss foundation called Pro Specie Rara began trying to save the booted goat breed.  They encouraged livestock farmers to start breeding the goats again for agricultural use. At this point, they are still considered endangered, but their numbers are growing.  The Booted Goat Breeders Club of Switzerland has taken over the conservation efforts.  By 2001, there were about 600 goats spread among 87 breeders.  Most of these breeders live in eastern Switzerland, but there are also some breeders in central and western parts of the country.


Both male and female Stiefelgeiss goats have horns.  Coat color ranges from light grayish brown to dark red, with black or brown boots.  The animals are not as shaggy as some types of sheep, but they have long beard hairs on their hind end, which are called Mänteli.  These hairs grow much longer and are often a different color from the rest of the coat.  Some booted goats also have beard-like hairs on their chins.


This is a robust breed of goat that adapts well to extreme conditions such as those found in mountainous terrain.  They are used mainly for their milk, meat, and fleece.


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