Tennessee Fainting Goats

Round about 1870 a farmhand came into Marshall, Tennessee with a flock of goats. Not much is known about this man, John Tinsley, except he was thought to have come from Nova Scotia. He didn’t stay long, but before he left he sold his herd to Dr. H. H. Mayberry. Angelina and Doc from Quicksilver FarmThe good doctor was surprised to find these goats fainted when startled.

Dr. Mayberry bred these goats and so today we have a purely American breed. They are also referred to as Myotonic Goats, Stiff-Legged Goats and a few other names, but here on Quicksilver Farm we have a breeding pair we call Angelina and Doc. Cutest little things you ever did see!

The fainting is not caused by the central nervous system, but by a stiffening of the fibers in the muscles. Young goats fall down, older goats usually compensate and continue on their way, albeit with a stiff gait. Though they are raised as meat goats, their rarity makes them more common as pets. Some breeders have crossed them with larger goats to get stock more appropriate for raising for meat. Tennessee Fainting Goats are smaller than average goats, and the ones we have are very rare because they are considered miniatures. Trust me, no one is eating my little goats!

Their fainting is not harmful to them, and is not considered to be a defect, but a prized trait of this unique goat. This breed is considered threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, so we feel good about our efforts to protect this American classic. Come visit us at Quicksilver Farm and meet Angelina and Doc. We hope to have kids available in about a year.