Fresno County ranch raises fainting goats

No animals were injured during our visit though some were momentarily scared stiff.
FRESNO, Calif. -- Sometimes even animals can be overcome with emotion - whether it be excitement or panic.

"Fainting goats" raised in Sanger delight visitors who stop by. People have come from as far away as China and Russia to see Lillian Paul's collection of cute animals.

The fainting goats though are the star attraction. Their legs stiffen up when they're startled by a loud sound. They're not in pain. It is the natural reaction of myotonic goats. The fainting begins when the goats are two weeks old.

Pauls explained, "They will just cry when they faint because they don't know what's happening to them and when they try to jump up onto a bench or something they'll often faint on the way up and then fall back down."

Sometimes the goats just lock up when they're over-excited about mealtime.

Lillian also has a chicken, miniature horses and two llamas who love to eat aspen leaves which is why her ranch is called Aspen Acres. The 86-year old Pauls started with just two pygmy goats 13 years ago but an employee saw a YouTube video of fainting goats falling over.

Lillian recalled, "My ranch hand I had at the time told me we need to get us a fainting goat and I said like another hole in my head."

But they're like potato chips. You can't have just one. Lillian now has over 100 animals and has folks stop by for tours. To hear Lillian tell it, fainting goats were raised in Europe to help protect sheep from wolves.

Lillian explained, "The sheep would be eaten so they started taking the fainting goats along and when the wolves would come the fainting goats would faint and be eaten while the sheep would run away and they started to be called scapegoats."

The bearded animals also gave us another term - goatee.

No animals were injured during our visit though some were momentarily scared stiff.

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