Goats in trees: it’s a thing. Did you know it was a thing? I did not — until I saw it with my own eyes. In my very own place of employment.

There she was, little Brownie, up a tree at Children’s Fairyland. I had a flashback to when my young daughter would climb high up in a tree: I couldn’t bring myself to watch, anticipating a fall that never came. Watching Brownie, I wondered how on earth she’d get down. And then she did. I can’t explain exactly how, but it was … effortless. Defying gravity or something.

I called my friend Terry Orzun, who owns a business called Goats R Us — perhaps you’ve seen her hard-working ruminants chomping weeds around Alameda County — to get her expert opinion on the phenomenon. Terry has 7,000 goats. This week some are working at munching weeds in Hercules, Anthony Chabot Park and Orinda.

“Oh, yes,” she said without a trace of surprise. “It’s like their jungle gym.” Goats, Terry told me, are by nature very cautious creatures, and they test before they climb.

Terry has many photos of her goats climbing trees on their various worksites. She has even seen one goat balancing on the back of another to reach a tasty leaf. Here’s the coolest part: they then changed places so both could enjoy the treat.

If you Google “goats in trees,” you’ll see photos of nine adventurous goats perched in the twisted branches of a 17-foot argan tree in North Africa. I learned that farmers follow the herds as they move from tree to tree, eating the argan fruits. The goats can’t digest the fruit’s nut, so they either spit it out or excrete it. The farmers than collect the nuts, which can be ground to make argan oil, which is used for cooking and cosmetics. You can buy four ounces of the oil for $24 on Amazon. Although the oil has been collected for centuries by the locals, the tree is slowly disappearing due to overgrazing, and some of the primary locations where the trees grow have been declared biosphere preserves.

Our miniature goats, Cookie and Brownie, appear to be having a lot of fun during their tree time.

We plan on making a little sign so families can learn that goats are, in fact, the only ruminant able to climb trees. Would we stoop—or rise—to depositing treats in the tree at certain times of day so that our guests could regularly enjoy the unusual sight?

Goat lover and expert Terry thinks that would be just fine.

“It’s like what Miley Cyrus sings,” she told me. “For them, it’s the climb.”

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