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She's got her goat

February 19, 2008|By HANNAH TUSSING / Pulse Correspondent

This is the third story in a series on unusual pets and their teen owners. The series will be available at HMpulse.com.

For my third installment of teens with unusual pets, I got the chance to interview Bethany Yeager, 13, a homeschooler from Hagerstown who owns Nubian goats. For those of you who don't really know anything about the different breeds of goats, Nubian goats originated in Nubia, in Upper Egypt. They have long, floppy ears, and are considered the most affectionate breed of goat. They are generally hornless and can range in color from red or tan to black or spotted.

Nubian goats (or any goat for that matter!) are not pets that can be found in a pet shop. Bethany's dad got their goats, Deborah and her brother, from another home-schooling family. "We bought them so that they could eat the underbrush, especially the poison ivy in our woods," Bethany replied.

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"So, do you enjoy caring for you goats and does it require much work?" I asked.

" I take care of her in the mornings and my dad takes care of her in the evenings. She doesn't require that much care, but I still like to spend time with her," said Bethany.

Not knowing much about goats, I did a little research and found that, although most people think of goats as being dirty and eating tin cans, this is not true. Goats do eat a lot of plants that most herbivores (like cows and sheep) won't eat, but they certainly aren't dirty animals. They are usually very friendly and make great pets for the whole family.

"And what did you expect or not expect when you purchased your goats?" I asked.

"I was expecting her to stink a little, and I never thought she'd be as cute as she is!" remarked Bethany. " I actually like spending time with our goats. They are fun to watch when they play outside. They rear up and 'butt' their heads together."

So, what do goats eat anyway?

"Our goats eat hay and grain in the winter and in the summer they eat the plants in our woods. One time Deborah ate my mom's azaleas and got really sick," Bethany replied.

If you have a little bit of land, Bethany "would recommend goats to someone else because they are cute and useful for eating plants you don't want."

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