what are fainting goats used for

What Are Fainting Goats used For?

The name fainting goats sounds funny to many. On hearing the name, you may assume that they always lose consciousness, hence the name.

It will be surprising to know that these goats never lose consciousness. They only appear to faint, but this genetic condition does not inflict physical hurt or pain.

When they are startled, both the eyes and eyes send immediate electrical signals to their brain that triggers a fight response. Immediately the leg muscles stiffen, causing them to fall and remain like that for some minutes. However, the degree of leg stiffness and the amount of time the fall immobilized vary for each goat, even though they are siblings. 

The fainting goats possess enough sodium in their muscles to help them relax, but when triggered, they do not have enough chloride to pull off the signal. So you can say that a fainting goat has an abnormal balance of negatively charged chloride and positively charged sodium ions.

Also, the goat’s age can affect the degree of its leg stiffness and the amount of time for immobilization. Older goats do not stiffen up and fall over compared to younger goats.

It is surprising to know that hydration plays a role in either helping to limit or extend the fainting syndrome. A well-hydrated goat won’t experience leg stiffness like a not adequately hydrated goat.

In this article, I will show you what fainting goats are used for, including the advantages and disadvantages of breeding fainting goats.

What are fainting Goats Used For?

You may be tempted to think that fainting goats can’t be used on the farmstead because of their conditions, but I will open your eyes to the goodness in this goat breed. The funny part here is that fainting goats don’t jump or climb like normal goats because they tend to faint when they do.

Genetically, fainting goats have myotonia congenita which is responsible for fainting. It has been argued that fainting goats won’t have been able to survive in this wild with such a condition and that it only exists because humans came around it.

The origin of the fainting goats can be dated to the early 1880s in Marshall County, Tennessee, where a farmer named John Tinsley brought several goats from Nova Scotia, Canada, and they were reported to be exhibiting symptoms of myotonia congenita.

According to history, it was said that a local doctor bred the animal, and over 130 years later, you can see herds of fainting goats everywhere in the United States.

So the question is, how have the goats survived all these years? How have they been successful? According to history, humans selected to breed these goats for two reasons, which are to:

  • To encourage certain behavioral traits that were observed in them.
  • To promote certain physical features found in them.

Below are the three reasons why fainting goats are bred and their uses on the farmstead:

  • For amusements
  • To serve as meat
  • To accompany herds

For amusement

Fainting goats are raised as pets like other animals. Some owners choose them because they are easier to breed or the uniqueness of their fainting spells. Also, they have a gentle temperament and physical appearance, making them good companion animals.

Serves as meat

The primary reason for breeding goats is for meat, and fainting goats are no exemption. Excessive muscle tension in fainting goats results in less body fat, greater muscle mass, and a higher meat-to-bone ratio than in other breeds of goats.

To accompany herds

Since a fainting goat immobilizes after a flight, most farmers see them as an excellent protection for sheep herds.

If a predator, for instance, a wolf, attacks a herd, the sheep will run away, while the fainting goats are left behind, immobilized in fright. The predator will now focus on the fainting goats while the herd escapes.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Breeding Fainting Goats

There are no disadvantages in breeding fainting goats compared to other breeds of goats. You can easily breed myotonic goats as a novice, and they don’t require special treatment or care.

Almost all breeds of goats are aggressive and are fond of trying to escape from their pen houses, but with fainting goats, you don’t need to stress yourself on how to enclose them, as they don’t possess escape instincts. You can easily erect any type of fence, including one at least one and a half feet tall.

One of the major advantages of a fainting goat is its intelligent, friendly, and docile personality. Children, the elderly, and even the disabled can carefully breed fainting goats at home, and they can catch some amusements with it.

The major disadvantage of this goat is finding where to buy them. Due to their relatively low population, you can’t get to buy them on any goat farm, and they are expensive to get.

You can also purchase them at auctions. To get a fainting goat, you have to keep about $300 to $600 – however, the price varies from region to region.

Facts About Fainting Goat

  • Most Fainting goats feature different horn types, ranging from small and simple to thick and large horns. Also, their horns can be curled.
  • They vary in size, ranging from 60 to 175 pounds.
  • Fainting goats are usually 17 inches or about two feet tall.
  • Fainting goats, aside from being raised for meat, can serve as fine dairy goats.
  • Fainting goats come in several colors; the most common is a combination of white and black skin color.
  • The hair on Fainting goats varies; it can be either short or long, with few goats featuring luxurious cashmere hair.
  • A fainting goat’s face is usually concave or straight.
  • Most Texas and Tennessee Fainting goats have heavy muscles.
  • You can crossbreed a Fainting goat with a Boer goat to produce a perfect meat goat breed.
  • Fainting goats’ ears are smaller compared to Spanish or Nubian goat breeds.


Fainting goats don’t seem to be going into eviction anytime soon. The number of fainting goats in the United States is said to be numbered about 3,000 to 5,000.

They are recognized as an official breed and can be raised anywhere in the United States. They are sold as prize animals at livestock festivals.

Unlike most goats known for their aggressiveness in trying to escape, the fainting goats do not possess such. You are sure that your goats are at home whenever you go out. Ensure you hydrate them properly to keep them healthier and limit fainting occurrences.

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