The Secret Life of Beach Goats
Living on Prince Edward Island there is a herd of goats who enjoy life on the beach. At the little farm called Beach Goats you can reserve a goat experience whether it be goat yoga, paddle-boarding, or a hike with goats to see the autumn tree colors. Although goats are supposed to hate water, this herd never got the memo as they grew up on the beach. These goats are so fearless that quite a few of them will wade in the water until it is close to their necks. The sand and the waves are all in a day’s work for them.
Devon has owned goats for about 8 years. She has mostly Nigerian Dwarf goats with some Alpines and a single Pygmy named Peggy. Through the years as she would take a few goats with her around town or for walks along the beach, locals and visitors would love to interact with the friendly animals. As more and more people began requesting to come hang out with the goats on her little beach-side farm, Devon knew that she needed to make this a business otherwise it would be taking over her life.
Beach Goats became an official business 4 years ago. It hasn’t been the easiest 4 years. The first year was simply beginning operations. The next year was when covid hit and everything was shut down. The third year was still pretty deep in covid regulations and people not getting out much. This year, the 4th in business, has been the first actual normal year since opening. Normal operations or not, the business certainly has great appeal.
Beach goats has a herd of about 25 goats all with their own personalities. Peggy, the lone Pygmy, acts like the cranky old granny and enjoys sitting in the shade under the Alpine does. Ariel, or as she has been re-named, Ari-yell, lives true to her new moniker. She is half Nubian and inherited their propensity to yell for no apparent reason. Ari-yell has multiple quirks. She would prefer to be a forever baby, even at 4 years old. Last year she gave her twin babies to her mother to raise, opting for a life of ease and continued nursing from mom. This summer Devon separated mother and daughter to force Ari-yell to raise her own kids and stop nursing off her mother.
Another quirky goat, Daisy, is the resident diva. Much akin to “Miss Piggy” from the Muppets, she lives for food and attention. If you point a camera in her direction, she will pose and tilt her head from side to side until you are done taking pictures. There are also the introverted “sporty” goats who would rather leap and climb as high as they can than interact with anyone. The yearlings tend to be quite jealous of the new babies who receive extra attention that they remember having the year before.
Goat yoga is a staple of the Beach Goats farm, but there are quite a few other attractions as well. One day as Devon’s son was setting up his paddleboard, one of the goats jumped on and stayed there throughout the ride. Now paddle-boarding with a goat (staying in shallow water) is available for guests. Early spring may be the slow and muddy season but it is also gearing up for late spring when the babies are born. Everyone wants to come see the baby goats. Winter is a unique time to visit the beach goats. Due to an extremely low tide, the sand will freeze and also create ice formations which the goats will skitter across and climb. Another season-specific activity is a Halloween party with all 25 goats dressed in costumes.
Beach Goats also books time for more therapy-geared visits. Devon loves watching the goats and they adapt to whoever is visiting. They intuitively know when they can jump and play versus when they need to be calm and gentle. The goats adapt most when they are dealing with young children or people with disabilities. Goats are highly intelligent, more so than most people give them credit for. Even when it comes to Devon’s own family, the goats will run away from her mother because they know that they can outrun her. However, they don’t even bother running away from her son because they know that they will be caught regardless.
Even though most activities require prior booking, a few days per week Beach Goats has drop-in hours in which you may join the “sampler.” The sampler is typically goat-initiated activity whether it be a walk along the beach, jumping on the goat’s trampoline, or hanging out to run across people’s backs as soon as they sit down. If the goats choose a walk, they will probably browse for seaweed, kelp, or their favorite, an invasive weed called creeping vetch.
If you are ever in the neighborhood of Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia, be sure to book an experience at Beach Goats. Even if you forget to make a reservation, check for drop-in times. However, I do recommend specifically booking because that guarantees you the one-on-one attention from the goats that you truly desire.