Kids Due
Jan.-Feb. 2006
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Tennesse Fainting Goat
Historical & Breed Information
Mini Fainting Goat
Breed Information
We raise hair sheep: Registered Katahdins, commercial Katahdins and Dorper crosses. But our first love is our herd of Tennessee Fainting Goats.


Tennessee Fainting Goats

As a landrace breed, Tennessee Fainting Goats were always variable in size, color and marking. But selective breeding has led to the emphasis of certain traits over others. Meat producers prefer large and very heavily muscled fainters with high reproductive rates while the pet market has breeders who selectively breed for such traits as coat color, eye color, lack of horns, length of hair and miniature stature.

As breeders, we are committed to raising our fainters in an environment as close as possible to the one in which this breed originated. We are fortunate to have enough acreage to provide a diet of browse and pasture for our goats. Grain is reserved as a supplement to does during the last stages of pregnancy and during nursing.

Hazel cooling off.

Our foundation stock was purchased from Edd Bissell of New Market, TN. Edd was one of the first people to "re-discover" the breed thirty years ago and had a major role in reviving its popularity. Edd's herd was gathered from several old Tennessee herds and the individuals selected for our foundation stock reflect the diversity inherent in traditional lines.


We strive to maintain genetic diversity by the occasional addition of carefully selected bucks and does to our herd. Other than that, our herd is closed.

We do engage in selective breeding, within limits. The major component of our breeding program is for parasite resistance.  Each animal is regularly screened for anemia caused by worms using the FAMACHA system and we worm only the most anemic. Animals which consistently do not require worming are the ones we select for breeding. In this way, we feel confident in offering stock that have been bred for worm resistance.

We also selectively breed some of our stock for small stature. It was sheer accident that led us to select as our future foundation buck a buckling who would mature to only 19 inches at the withers. Responding to the increasing popularity of Mini fainters, we selectively breed Billy to our smaller does.

Other than that, the rest of our bucks and does and their kids are of standard size and conformation. We maintain a wide variety of coat colors and lengths, we have both horned and polled goats as well as some blue eyed ones.

Our breeding stock is pure bred. All are registered with the Myotonic Goat Registry ( Most are also registered with the International Fainting Goat Association (

As pedigrees become increasingly important in the fainting goat world, the Myotonic Goat Registry has the distinct advantage of a computerized database which allows the genetics of registered animals to be easily tracked.

About Livestock Gardian Dogs

Raising sheep in coyote, bobcat and black bear country isn't easy. But add to that a herd of goats which stiffen and fall over when they're frightened and you're looking at a predator smorgasbord. Our pastures are fenced and cross- fenced with woven wire with electric wires at the top and bottom, but it's the livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) that let us sleep at night. These dogs have been bred over centuries to bond with livestock and to protect them from predators.

We've got three breeds of livestock guardian dogs:
Great Pyrenees (,
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
and Karakachans.

The Great Pyrenees
Zeus and Xena, our Pyrs, were our first livestock guardian dogs. They are strongly bonded to their stock and relentless in pursuit of predators, including woodchucks, skunks and Great Blue Herons along with the more traditional kind. Of all our dogs, Zeus and Xena are the gentlest with people. But they're also firm. If they don't think you should be heading in a particular direction, they position themselves so as to block your movement.
Zeus and Xena Xena and ZeusGuarding the Herd
The Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
Annie and Maggie are sister Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. In 2005 we got two male Anatolians, brothers, Khan and Ike, from Possum Hollow Farm in North Carolina. We decided on Anatolians because we were expanding our pastures into remote areas and felt we needed more muscle. Anatolians are said to be among the more aggressive of the LGD breeds and our experience bears this out.

Although our Anatolians are very friendly and gentle with us, we've found that we must be more aware when working around them than when we are with the Pyrs. A couple of times workers on our farm had their arms gripped by an Anatolian who didn't like what they were doing. These weren't bites. The people weren't hurt, just restrained - and surprised. We do not allow visitors to approach pastures guarded by the Anatolians without first being introduced.

Ike and Khan 9 months old
The Karakachans

The Karakachans round out our LGDs. Milos and Sofia came from stock imported by Phil Sponenberg of Blacksburg, VA. This breed originated in Bulgaria and was used by traditional herdsmen to protect their stock from wolves. When the Soviets took over Bulgaria, small farmers and herdsmen were forced to turn over their land and stock to the state and the dogs lost their jobs. Homeless, they inhabited garbage dumps and were hunted for their coats. Now that Bulgaria is independent, the breed is being revived. There are only about 700 Karakachans in the world and only a very few in the US. In Bulgaria they're being paired with a wolf conservation program, using the dogs to scare away wolves rather than having them shot. Karakachans are believed to be longer lived than the more familiar LGD breeds, with a working life of 12 years or more.


Sofia and Milos, 9 weeks old in the photos on the left, stood right up to Anatolians Annie and Maggie when they were first introduced - very un-puppy like behavior. They've matured into sweet natured, calm dogs that are non-aggressive around stock and people. They are very dog-aggressive, though. They also seem to be more intelligent and independent than either the Pyrs or Anatolians.

Milos and Sofia 1 year old
Sofia figured early on how to crawl through gates and she rotates through several pastures, checking on stock. She has never left the pastures, even though she easily could. Although they are paired with the Anatolians, the Karakachans tend to stay with the stock more, particularly during lambing or kidding.
Milos and Sofia 10 months old
Sofia at 7 months
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