Billy goat's lost his gruff

History of goats in Britain

source: Harry Pearson
Independent on Sunday, weekend section
September 23 2000 p14

Goats have long been valued for their meat, milk, and ability to remove bush and scrubland from farms. There were large flocks of goats in Neolithic times. Goats are still wild despite having been domesticated for 10,000 years. This is especially true for billy goats, which urinate on hard ground with their heads down, in order to spray behind their ears and be more attractive to nanny goats.

Goats were championed in 19th century Britain by Baroness Burdett-Coutts, from a banking family. She favoured Nubian goats, which arrived in Britain from France. Nubians were kept in Paris to feed a hippo that the Emperor of Abyssinia had given to Napoleon III of France. Queen Victoria of Britain kept Cashmere goats in Buckingham Palace Gardens, London.

Modern goats have shorter hair and smaller horns, and appear to mate less than goats once did, and are also less sure of themselves as leaders.