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their way to Texas in the Hill Country and were selected for meat qualities such as larger size and muscling. Of course, breeders in Ten- nessee kept their lines going and two “types” were formed: the Ten- nessee line and the Texas line.


Myotonics are considered a landrace breed meaning that they developed in a geographic location and show similar physical traits, mainly Myotonia. In the early years, most were black and white but recent times have seen many color variations develop. And true to American form, many names for them have come up: Fainting Goat, Stiff Leg Goat, Wooden Leg Goat, Tennessee Fainting Goat and Tennessee Meat Goat (a registered trademark of Onion Creek Ranch).


No matter the name, Myotonic goats have a neuromuscular con- dition that causes them to stiffen when frightened or trying to step over obstacles. Goats don’t faint but can stiffen to the point of falling over for a few seconds before the muscles relax and movement is re- stored. Stiffening can also occur when goats get “in a hurry” causing them to have a distinctive wobble to their gait. Breeders have taken Myotonics in different directions in their breeding programs. Some breeders, such as Suzanne Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch, have aimed for larger, heavy muscled animals for the meat market. Suzanne developed a larger goat than average Myotonics by staying within the breed and selecting for superior ani- mals. The result is a medium-sized goat with very good muscling. She even developed a composite breed using Myotonics. Cindy Lynn Huggins of Jamcin Ranch is active in showing and breeds her Myotonics to be show correct. Of course, many of her bucks are also destined for commercial herds to make market kids. Still others breed Myotonics for the pet trade focusing on dif- ferent coat colors, hair lengths, size and other features. Myotonics do not have any dairy influence and are considered true meat


goats. Due to their genetic diversity from other breeds, Myotonics make good stock for crossing to make meat kids and are even being used with breeds such as Boer and Kiko to make composites. Myo- tonics are easy to handle with good parasite tolerance and due to their myotonia, they don’t jump fences.


Many breeders appreciate this unique breed and a growth in their numbers has taken place. Breed associations have been estab- lished to meet the needs of the different breeders. Of course the In- ternet has helped to spread awareness of this breed. Breeders sell to many different states and one breeder has even exported Myotonics to Australia. This American-made breed has truly unique features and is ap- pealing for many different uses. If you’re interested in a goat breed that is unique and easy to handle, then check out the Internet for breeders and breed associations to learn more about Myotonic goats. n


Easy to-build weather-proof mineral feeder


Cold weather and downtime be- tween kidding groups has al- lowed me to make some new weather-proof mineral feeders. Some scrap wood and a stall mat is all it took. Now, hopefully, they are goat proof. My wife, Faith, and I are located just east of the Cascades in Thorp, Wash. Our ranch name is Bar O Bar Livestock. We can be found on Facebook, Instagram and our webpage is barobarlive- stock.com


— Ethan George


10 Goat Rancher |


April 2021


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