Billy Goats Gruff?

What do nannies, billies, and kids have in common? They're all goats! Nannies are the moms, billies are the dads, and of course, kids are the kids!

There are lots of breeds of goats. Some are good at giving milk. Some are nice and meaty, and make tasty goat burgers. Some have long, curly wool, like sheep. There are even goats that faint.

Picture of a goatMany families and small farms in the Fredericksburg area have a few goats, including mine. We have four nanny goats: Rosie, Baby Goat, Cupcake, and Mehitabel. My daughters and I take turns milking them. The whole family drinks the milk, (except Robin, who doesn't like the taste), and we sometimes make cheese from the milk.

Goats have a reputation for getting into mischief, and, while they don't really eat tin cans and clothing, mine have been known to eat tar paper and to bite through Walkman headphone cords. Once I had to take Rosie to a vet I'd never been to before. I loaded her up in the back seat of the car and set off with a map and directions. She reached around the seat and ate part of the map before I could stop her!

But on the whole, goats are fun and easy to take care of, although if you're considering adding goats to your household, make sure you check the zoning restrictions on your property. And it's best not to have neighbors living too nearby. When goats get loose, they like to get into gardens and don't care whose garden it is! And they can sometimes be noisy. One of our goats occasionally calls with a very loud "BLAAAAH!"

If you'd like to visit some goats, why not take a trip to Westmoreland Berry Farm? They have goats that go overhead on walkways that you can feed. The Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair usually has a few goats you can pet. And if you're heading toward Richmond, check out the goats at Maymont's Children's Farm.

Read more about goats, real or make-believe, with our book list, Billy Goats Gruff and Others.