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


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.

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org

Kelsey Wallace | 503-220-5754 | kelsey.wallace@oregonzoo.org