Myotonic Goats are meat goats and are the only American goat breed. The landrace breed has a genetic condition known as myotonia congenita which causes extended muscle contractions when the goat is startled. When startled, the goat often falls over which has resulted in several names including Tennessee Fainting Goats and Texas Wooden Leg Goats. The condition is not harmful to the goat.
The breed can be traced to the 1880s when farm laborer John Tinsley settled in Tennessee with four unusual “stiff” goats. The goats became known for their muscular conformation, their high reproductive rates, and for being much less prone to fence climbing and escape.
In the 1980s, Myotonics were classified as Threatened by the Livestock Conservancy, but through breeding and educational efforts, they are now listed as Recovering.
Myotonic Goats make excellent pets due to their calm demeanor, smaller size, widely range of colors, and, of course, their “fainting” tendencies. Myotonics are typically horned, but can be disbudded for pets. Some produce cashmere.
Myotonics, as all goats, are herd animals and should only be kept in groups of two or more. Please enjoy the photos of Jargan Farm’s small herd of Myotonic Goats .