New kids on the block: 2-week-old goats debut at zoo

February 7, 2018 - 3:34pm

Oregon Zoo welcomes three wobbly, bouncy young goats to its Family Farm

A trio of 2-week-old goats made their Oregon Zoo debut today, joining the resident chickens and adult goats in the zoo's Family Farm area.

The tiny new arrivals, born Jan. 20 at a local farm and adopted by the zoo, have been settling in at the zoo's veterinary medical center for the past week, with care staff providing them bottle feedings and round-the-clock care.

"Each of these little ones was born into a set of triplets," said Tanya Paul, who oversees the animals at the zoo Family Farm. "Often, in these situations, mom is not able to provide all her kids with enough nourishment, and in some cases they are rejected outright. We're very glad we could raise them here at the zoo."

Already notorious

The smallest of the three newcomers, Nigerian dwarf goat Ruth, has already caused quite a stir. A behind-the-scenes video of her at the vet center — looking as wobbly as Bambi and as bouncy as a jumping bean — went viral last week, with more than 10 million views on the zoo's Facebook page.

"She's tiny but mighty," Paul said. "Even though she's the smallest, she's definitely the leader of the group. She's very playful, spunky and daring."

Keepers named the diminutive kid after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, though small of stature, is known for her fearless, fiery personality. The two other kids, a pair of floppy-eared Nubian goats, were named Elena and Sonia after RBG's fellow justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

A kid'll eat ivy too

As the new arrivals are weaned, Paul said, they will learn to eat wild vegetation, including invasive plant species like English ivy and Himalayan blackberry. Eventually, the goats will spend part of their time on Metro-owned open land in rural Clackamas County, assisting with brush control at the zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation.

"That will be great for both animal welfare and species conservation," Paul said. "It will be an enriching new experience for the goats and at the same time it will help our efforts to save critically endangered California condors."