My Life as a Chew Toy
I’m pretty sure that if I understood goat speak, I would hear Clove, Mace, Basil, Nutmeg and Ginger (this year’s baby goats at Parky’s Farm) say something like this as I entered their pen: “Okay guys. Let’s try the shoe laces first. How about now we nibble some tasty keys. No, no I prefer pockets. Oh man everybody else got the pockets first, so I’ll try out the hair… You know this stuff looked delicious, but it’s really not all that great. Hey, did you notice she brought us some hay? Oh wow this stuff tastes really good.”
Goats are known for their ability to eat just about anything, but in actuality they can only process products that come from plants. So can goats eat hay, leaves, grass and paper? Yes they can. Can they actually eat a tin can and all the clothes off the line? No. They might be able to get the clothes chewed up and swallowed, but they won’t get any nutrition out of them.
So why do they insist on chewing on everything that I and everyone else who encounters them is wearing or carrying? It’s just plain old curiosity. We like to touch things to see how they feel. Since goats don’t have fingers to feel with, they “feel” or learn about things with their mouths. My guess is they are also secretly hoping that someday my shoe laces will magically turn into tasty leaves.
Ellen Meehan, Inreach Teacher, Parky’s Farm