Posts Tagged ‘boer goat’

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Big Word of the Month: Flehmen Response

December 23rd, 2012
Zebra Flehmen

The Funny Face

Lion Face

The Stinky Face

Llama Flehmen

Impressing the Ladies

Chummix Flehmen

Testing the Air

 

Whatever you call it, if you have a pet cat at home (especially if it’s a male) you’ve likely seen this face before. It goes by many variations of the same name: Flehmen Response, Flehmen Position, Flehmen Reaction, or simply Flehming. Flehmen (pronounced: FLAY-men) Responses are used by a wide variety of ¬†hoofstock (ungulates) and many cats (felids). Males and females, adults and babies, all exhibit this silly facial expression.

The silly look on the animal’s face helps to activate an organ that allows him or her to sense chemicals in the air; specifically pheromones. Pheromones are a chemical signal that passes useful social information to another animal of the same specie. The organ used is called the Vomeronasal organ (also called the Jacobson’s Organ). This organ is located in the nasal cavity of many animals, including fetal humans. It is the organ used by snakes and water turtles as their primary sense of smell, but in most other animals it is used in more of a secondary or social fashion. More animals use a Vomeronasal Organ to detect pheromones than those that display the Flehmen Response, like lemurs, salamanders, lizards, dogs and pigs.

The lip curl or grimace directs the inhaled air toward the Vomeronasal Organ, allowing it to pick up the chemicals in the air and let the animal know important information about what they’re smelling. Information like whether there’s a female nearby who’s looking to mate or simply to get a more complete understanding of a new smell they’re being introduced to. Lightning, the donkey, often exhibits Flehmen Response to new smells and Chummix, the Boer goat, does it after smelling his urine (it’s a male goat thing…).

 

Join the conversation:

  1. We just talked about this, when I got this response from Lightning because he smelled my Chapstick. Very fun.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. Amazing things here. I’m very glad to see your article.
    Thank you so much and I’m having a look ahead to touch you.

    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

    Posted by web page

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

QuikPost: I’m not training for that, lady!

September 7th, 2009

I finally found a food that Chummix doesn’t like. Strawberries.

Join the conversation:

  1. is that the only food he doesn't like? how about brusselsprouts?

    Posted by Nancy
  2. Hey Nancy,He may not like brussel sprouts… I'm not sure because I never tried them. I tend to stick to the yummy fruits as treats for training, but I also use sweet potato and carrot. :)

    Posted by Marilyn

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Creature Feature: Chummix the boer goat

August 25th, 2009

We have had a couple of recent posts about operant conditioning, so I thought I would do a feature on the animal that I am training right now.

Chummix, pronounced “chummy”, lives in our farmyard with Max the steer. He arrived at the museum shortly before I started working here, but he apparently came to us in a very interesting way! The story that I was told (as passed down from one of the other keepers) is that we adopted Chummix from a doctor that acquired him as a gift from one of his patients. The patient was from another country, where giving a goat to someone was a way of showing appreciation to the recipient. So the doctor accepted the goat from the patient, but after about 5 or 6 months, Chummix became too big for him to take care of. He was born some time in early 2003, and came to us in June of 2003. What a great story!

You would think that, by living with a 1,000 pound steer, the keepers would be more concerned about being injured by Max instead of Chummix. But this is not the case. In fact, Chummix has probably caused more injuries to the keepers than any other animal we have! The reason is because he loves to ram everything with his horns, including walls, doors, Max and the keepers. And it may not seem like that could be very harmful, but he has enough strength to break his stall door off the hinges, which he has done more than once!

But this quality of Chummix does not make him a “bad” or “mean” goat. He’s just doing what comes naturally to him, so we can’t blame him for wanting to hit things with his horns. But it just means we have to be careful when we are with him. One of the main reasons for training him is so that we can control him better and hopefully lessen the injuries to the keepers. So far, he knows how to touch his nose to a target, stay in one place while I walk a short distance away, and put his nose into a halter when I ask him to. Eventually, I will be able to buckle the halter on him easily, and get him to station his nose on an object so that he can’t ram things. But those are goals that will take a while. Fortunately, he is very food motivated and especially enjoys donkey treats and pear!

I have enjoyed training Chummix because I have grown more attached to him and have had a chance to get to know him better. Who knows, you might catch us out in the farmyard during a training session on your next visit… and if you do, feel free to ask how it’s going and what new things Chummix has learned!

Join the conversation:

  1. But make sure you ask your questions after she is done with her training session. She'll be using all of her concentration trying to avoid those horns! Good post about the chumm-a-lum. I'd like to add that, oddly, he's the most paitent and least wiggily while we trim his hooves out of all of the goats and sheep.

    Posted by Erin Brown
  2. I never knew Chummix was a South African!

    Posted by Leslie
  3. Living proof that goats are readily trainable provided one has enough patience and wherewithal to attempt it. We shared Chummix's (and your) story on AllThingsGoat.com as applause for the efforts of both of you.

    Posted by Naimhe
  4. Hello Naimhe,Thank you for reading our blog and sharing Chummix's story with others! I appreciate the kind words and support. I have definitely learned that Chummix can be a bit stubborn at times, but fortunately so can I! We seem to balance each other out pretty well. I hope this story brings hope to your readers on AllThingsGoat.com.

    Posted by Marilyn

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.