Mountain Goats

January 8, 2001

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Mountain GoatGoats and their Kids
Mating season takes place in late November and early December. Billies will follow the nannies for up to a month and are so involved in finding the right nanny that they lose interest in food.

If two billies are interested in one nanny, the two will fight. The fighting isn't done head to head as you would expect, but head to side. They lunge at one another's sides or flanks with their horns.

Thick skin in this area protects the goats from serious damage. Some injuries have been recorded, however.

It's interesting that only about half of the nannies in a band give birth. Nannies usually leave the herd a short time before giving birth. Most commonly a nanny will have one kid at a time. Occasionally twins are born. Birth takes place in the spring when there is plenty to eat and the weather isn't too cold.

Kids can stand up and walk soon after birth and grow quickly. Although goats first taste of food comes from nursing, or drinking their mother's milk, they begin eating plants in just a few days. These plants become their entire dieNanny and Billy Goat in the Springt after about one month.

Family Life
The nannies teach their kids all they need to know to live in the mountain habitat. The kids will learn from each other, as well. They play by pushing and wrestling. Once they grow horns they make less contact with one another probably to avoid injuries.

Kids leave their mothers when they are about one year old. The first and second years of life are very difficult for a young goat. Field studies have shown a heavy loss of young during this time.

The deaths are due to falls, accidents, avalanches, predators, and sometimes, lack of food.

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