Old goats welcome the new kids at the zoo's Family Farm

April 27, 2018 - 11:16am
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Tiny adopted goat kids join the adult goats for the first time at the Oregon Zoo

The Family Farm goat herd gained a petite pair of new members this week in the form of Ruth and Sonia, the Oregon Zoo's youngest goat kids. The 3-month-olds had been living separately from the rest of the herd since they were adopted by the zoo in early February.

Though the youngsters are small in stature, keepers think it won't take long for them to fit right in. Sonia, a mini Nubian, is very playful and eager to engage with the bigger goats. Ruth, a Nigerian dwarf, is the littlest of all, but she's already known around the farm for her spunky attitude.

"She's definitely the leader," said Tanya Paul, who oversees the animals at the zoo Family Farm. "We like to say she's tiny but mighty."

The new kids have been spending short, supervised periods of time with the larger goat herd this week, to make sure the introductions go smoothly. So far, the zoo's six adult pygora, pygmy and Nigerian dwarf goats have accepted their new family members with minimal head-butting. Even Molly, the group's de facto leader, has been welcoming.

"We're really happy with how the integration is going," Paul said. "Our bigger goats are doing well with the babies, and Ruth and Sonia seem really excited to be a part of the herd."

The goat area at the Family Farm is full of new experiences for the kids to enjoy, with climbing structures and a bigger yard to explore. It is also open to the public during certain hours, which should be no problem for the little ones — both goats are very social, thanks to daily walks around the zoo (and all the attention they get from ZooTeens and volunteers).

Ruth and Sonia were born Jan. 20 at a local farm and adopted by the zoo. Keepers bottle-fed the kids for the first two months, then weaned them onto vegetation to prepare them for life with the adult goats. Eventually, they'll 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.

If things continue to go well, guests can catch a glimpse of the new kids as they spend time with the herd this weekend.