Goats are clearly no strangers to happiness. Just look at these little chaps.
But, as a responsible goat-owner, you need to know the signs to look out for to make sure your goat is content.
Thankfully, scientists have now studied this important question and provided us with some answers. They found three key indicators of goat happiness.
1. Happy goats have their ears pointed forwards more often.
2. They have their tails pointed up more often.
The scientists worked with Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent on the research.
Twenty-two goats at the sanctuary took part in the study over two months. The scientists came up with three different situations to get different emotions from the goats. In the first they gave them food, in the second they gave food to only one goat in a pair, and finally they isolated the goats for a short period of time. Each experiment lasted less than five minutes, so the goats weren't put under any unnecessary stress.
The researchers looked for signs that might indicate positive or negative feelings during each of the experiments, and used the results to build a picture of the goats' emotional states.
Such indicators are important for the welfare of the animals, because they tell us when the animals are experiencing a negative versus a positive emotion, and we can thus adapt the environment to avoid negative emotions and promote positive ones.