Don’t Faint!

Tennessee Fainting Goats Becoming Popular at Fairs for Unique Reaction

Tennessee fainting goats always look surprised to see you.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tennessee fainting goats always look surprised to see you.

Kara Strickland, reporter

It’s not everyday that you see an animal faint. But sneak up on a certain kind of goat and you’re almost guaranteed a unique reaction.

Tennessee fainting goats, which are now being showed at local fairs in a number of states, get their name because they faint, or fall to the side when they get startled, though they don’t actually go unconscious. They only lie on the ground for anywhere from five to 20 seconds before they get right back up again. This happens because of a hereditary condition called myotonia congenita, which effects the skeletal muscles that are used for movement.

Regardless of this condition, fainting goats produce more meat than any other meat breeds and are often great pets that can live from 12 to 15 years.

Jack Atkinson, a local young, yet experienced showman who has been showing goats for over four years, shared about why fainting goats are his general favorite and one of the best showing breeds he’s had.

“They’re cute and have a bunch of personality and heart, unlike lambs,” said Atkinson, who thinks they are the best breed of goats.

Due to how much of an adorable animal goats can be, Atkinson began showing them when he moved from California to Idaho four years ago. And he wants to keep showing them for as long as possible.

Although learning to show a goat for the first time can be challenging, Atkinson cited persistence as the key.

“Goats can be stubborn, but you just can’t give up on them,” Atkinson said. “They can make you frustrated, they can make you want to quit, but in the end it is definitely worth it.”

Atkinson also knows what mistake you might make that will end up ensuring you get a dreaded red ribbon, which means you didn’t finish as one of the top three contestants.

“Your goat has to trust you, or you for sure are gonna get that red ribbon,” Atkinson said. “If you don’t put hard work into training your goat,  you won’t get to experience that ending when you get a real bond with it.”

Who knew Tennessee fainting goats could be such a fun and unique pet?