Ah... love. We all want to love and be loved. And falling in love is one of the most thrilling human experiences. Scientific studies have shown that feelings of love cause our body to release feel-good hormones and neuro-chemicals that trigger specific, positive reactions.
But is this true for animals as well? Do goats feel love? Do they love others? I believe the answer is YES! Just like us, they want to love and be loved, and be close to those who they love.
Goats will show affection for people by approaching them calmly, leaning on them, and by showing positive peaceful eye and body contact. I’ve had the pleasure of having many goats both large and small approach me in the pasture, and sit or lay down with me and sometimes cuddle and fall asleep.
Goats show love and affection not only to humans, but to other goats and other animals! When in little herds of two or more, goats display friendliness to each other in many ways, including body language, closeness, and vocalizations. For instance, they will often huddle and cuddle together. They also make a point to do daily activities, such as eating meals and even sleeping at night or napping, with each other rather than alone. Mother goats (nannies) will call out to their kids (babies). They have distinct voices and recognize each other.
And goats feel emotions from others too! Frans de Waal, a primatologist and expert in animal cognition at Emory University, said: “Goats being sensitive to the emotions of others is a form of empathy. Empathy is a mammalian trait, so this makes sense.”
So do goats fall in love? Absolutely. And we fall in love with them right back.