Because of their ancestry, people consider the Bagot goat to be Britain’s oldest goat breed. However, historical sources show that the breed was first written around 1389. In the English Midlands, Sir John Bagot kept the original herd at Blithfield, his estate in Staffordshire.
The wild and semi-wild parkland Bagot goat breed was first tamed and fostered three miles from Blithfield Hall.
People did this at Bagots Park. Consequently, they displayed a significant amount of autonomy., which has been crucial to their ongoing existence over many centuries.
The Bagot goat, which people see as a historical parkland breed, originated from a single isolated herd and evolved over six centuries.
The only intervention they did was the occasional cull to manage the population; hence natural selection was responsible for the majority of the evolution of the breed.
These black and white goats exhibit a range of coat patterns, despite 20th-century culls meant to create a more uniform herd.
Today, humans control a small herd of bagots across their wide habitat. Levens Hall in Cumbria is one of the few places globally where bagots live “wild.” Domestic Bagot goats have done well. Many goats can overcome their shyness and become gentle pets.
A few small herds of bagots are maintained and allowed to flourish in paddock enclosures. These enclosures offer the bagots daily access to forage and new vegetation.
The vast majority are kept as grazing animals on pastures and spend most of the year there; you can only see the bagot during the birthing process.
The Bagot is surprisingly rain-resistant for a goat. However, it’s crucial to make them durable and weatherproof for Britain. All except the largest ranges should have modest shelter.
Origin of Bagot Goat
Although nobody knows where the Bagot came from, there appear to be two main schools of thought. The first hypothesis proposes that they introduced them to Britain during the Crusades in the Middle Ages.
Following that, King Richard II hands them over to Lord Bagot as a symbol of appreciation for the fruitful hunting on the estate.
The second possibility is that they descended from goats that were already living in Britain at the time. During the Middle Ages, color had great value when many different breeds were in demand.
Some regulations govern how people use different colors according to a person’s social standing. These sumptuary regulations accorded a high position to black and pure white, as demonstrated by the Bagot goats and the White Park animals.
Black and white animals stand out against the natural setting, which may have been a consideration in selecting the livestock on these old country estates.
There is also the potential that they came from the same progenitor as the Valais Black-Necked goat native to Switzerland. But there hasn’t been any proof that they are informed about this goat breed, whose pattern is similar to theirs.
The Valais is a breed that people enhance and keep for its meat and sometimes its milk. People believe that its early predecessors resemble the Bagot, but the modern version of this animal has a drastically different appearance from its ancestors.
In modern times, landrace breeds native to Northern Europe and Scandinavian countries, such as the Icelandic goat, Dutch Landrace goat, and Old Irish goat, have produced goats with color patterns and physical features comparable to those of the Bagot.
After 600 years of genetic isolation in Staffordshire, the Bagot goat is now a distinct breed with a significant historical position.
Overview of Bagot Goat
Goats are a mountain and upland species in their natural habitat; however, the Bagot is the only primitive breed of goat in the United Kingdom to have spread in the English lowlands, which has blended with the challenges of this environment.
Supporters of the Bagot goat recognize the value and importance of preserving one of our rarest native breeds.
The Bagot goat’s appealing appearance, fascinating personality, and long history have helped it find favor with its supporters.
Their behavior is a fascinating look at how independent herd species interact with each other, even though people manage them like a domestic breed. But, of course, this is because they are of a domestic breed.
The Bagot is a breed of goat that ranges in size from miniature to medium. It has enormous horns curled to the side and swept backward with little twist laterally.
The majority of the head and forequarters are black, while the hindquarters are primarily white. In addition, many animals have white blazes on their faces and black spots on the backs of their legs.
People conclude that a prescriptive breed standard is not appropriate for the breed, given the significance of natural selection in its evolution throughout its historical development.
On the other hand, the Bagot goat has a breed description that considers the wide variety of phenotypes present in the herd from which it originated.
The meat and milk production of Bagot goats has not been the subject of selective breeding, and as a result, people don’t know that these goats have any potential for use in the commercial sector. Nevertheless, they are important because they are natural selection-bred goats.
As a result, they have evolved to be able to flourish on a large range in lowland Britain with very little interference from humans for the majority of the year.
(During the period of kidding, it is particularly beneficial in domestic and parkland settings to protect from potential predators and inclement weather.)
The current research aims to determine their usefulness in conservation grazing and habitat management, notably in eradicating species that are detrimental to woodlands and scrublands.
Due to the relatively low number of Bagot goats, locating suitable breeding stock can be difficult. However, goats to start a herd are usually available yearly for patient buyers.
The Bagot goat’s long history also contributes to its allure. Their guardians derive great pleasure from their Bagots, even though they have no widely accepted economic purpose.