Names: Gandalf & Frodo

Sponsored by:

Principal Sponsor:  Giddy Goat Toy Shop, Didsbury

Gandalf and Frodo are our two billy goats. They have the run of two large adjoining grassy areas in Pets’ Corner and live in the goat shed. They are both still young and very lively and can frequently be seen play fighting and headbutting each other.



GandalfGandalf came to Pets’ Corner in September 2014 when he was around 1 year old. You can recognise him because his black and white coat is slightly longer than Frodo’s. He is very lively and as well as headbutting his playmate, he also likes to headbutt the volunteers if they don’t keep an eye on him.

He eats most fruit & veg and is especially partial to bananas.

Gandalf originally came to Pets’ Corner with his brother ‘Amber’ but unfortunately some, probably well meaning, visitors ignored the ‘Do not feed the goats‘ sign, fed some poisonous leaves and branches through the fence and Amber died.







FrodoFrodo came to Pets’ Corner in May 2015 following the death of Gandalf’s previous companion, Amber. He has a very sweet nature, loves to play and run around and also loves his food. He has even been known to try and get to the doves’ food pellets! He eats all types of fruit & veg.



The Goats’ Story – A Personal Account  – by Jean Wren 

When I first came to Manchester in 2013, there were no goats in Pets’ Corner, and Trafford Council were still operating it with Peter, the park keeper, in charge. Soon after I arrived, I was taking my daily walk round the park and noticed, to my delight, that there was a pair of pygmy goats in the enclosure. As the name suggests, pygmy goats are small and naturally live in mountainous areas, where they spend their time scrambling among the rocks seeking out the tasty grasses and shrubs. They have long, thick coats and are very active, cheeky and inquisitive.

I found out that Pets’ Corner was being taken over by volunteers and Janey, one of the original group, had bought the goats. They were about 9 months old and very lively. They were named Gandalf and Amber by children at an Open Day. Despite being a male, Amber’s name stuck.
In no time I had managed to be accepted as a volunteer as I had almost 30 years’ experience of keeping milking goats and no-one else knew about goat needs. I knew they were very different from my, mainly docile milking goats as I had loved watching some pygmys at play in a neighbouring village but I had no room to have any more animals. So being able to indulge myself with Gandalf & Amber made life in a city much more acceptable.
Unfortunately, Amber ate poisoned leaves put through the wire and died after the vet’s attempts to save him failed. Gandalf was very lonely and missed Amber’s company. Goats do not do well on their own and we knew we had to find a friend for Gandalf. Kate (Williams) and I drove up to the Preston area in my car and brought back Frodo. He was very well behaved on the journey and I had the car well protected from goat poo which is produced virtually non-stop. However, Frodo, obviously very stressed, also copiously emptied his bladder – something no other goat had ever done with me on journeys. You can imagine the soup which met our eyes when we opened the boot to bring him out –and the smell which lingered for some time despite professional cleaning.
The pair bonded very quickly with Gandalf impressing on Frodo that he might be very welcome, but Gandalf was, and intended to remain, Big Boss. Frodo is a cross between a pygmy, because of his size, and a milking goat which gives him the smoother coat and docile nature. Through time, Frodo has established his superiority at feeding times and he gobbles his food so that he can chase Gandalf who is a slow eater, away from his bowl. So we have to separate them when they have their bowl of dried beet pulp in the morning and vegetables at teatime.
Hay forms the most important part of their diet as our grass isn’t the right sort of grass for any grazing animal. Goats browse in the wild – they wander around eating the sweetest part of plants, bushes and grasses. Cows and sheep graze which means they eat the entire plant, so goats are very wasteful eaters. And not having a large area to browse in, ours find their grass unattractive, so they have to have lots of hay. Again they are very wasteful, letting less sweet hay fall to the floor and they wouldn’t deign to eat that! They will seldom pick up even the sweetest food once it has been contaminated. A neighbour of mine has for many months supplied me with her daily banana skins for the boys. Recently Gandalf refused to eat his although Frodo gobbled his. After a few days, I realised that the skins had a faint smell of perfume and so Gandalf has a carrot or piece of apple instead. So although greedy, goats are very particular.
Being kept in an unnatural environment which is often wet and muddy, goats’ feet need careful, regular attention. Gandalf at first was very co-operative when I trimmed his feet but after his sterilising operation he became quite upset when being handled. Frodo has always been very difficult to handle when having his feet trimmed and the trimmer has on more than one occasion had their hand slammed against the brick wall. Not nice!
Gandalf, as well as being cheeky is also very clever, He has learned to open gates and we have to have clips on the ones he can reach. As a pickpocket he easily beats Frodo in stealing food from pockets although last week Frodo beat him to my pocket which had treats in it.He was easy to train when he was young and would walk on the lead round the paddocks. He has recently locked his pen door from the inside during the night which means we have to get in to let him out by climbing over from Frodo’s pen into his. Our young volunteers are fine with this but many of us are incapable!
Frodo is not clever! But he is very affectionate and much better behaved than Gandalf and is many people’s favourite. Gandalf can be very affectionate when he is in the mood but don’t try for cuddles when he isn’t.
There are very strict rules about keeping goats and we have to keep records of their medication and can only move them from their home under rules set out by Defra – and all movements have to be logged. Each goat has its own special number and Pet’s Corner has a Holding No. so that all animals can be traced. There is a form we have to fill in annually about our goats.
From the beginning Giddy Goat Toys, a super toyshop in Didsbury, owned by local resident Amanda, has sponsored our goats and we are very grateful for her support for the past years. Vet bills can be astronomical when things go wrong and we are very lucky to have the support of Andrew Melling and his assistants who have a practice in Horwich. As well as expert treatment, at any hour, all the vets are so good with the boys, who are never at their best when being treated and their bills are much less daunting than many vets I have used over a lifetime of animal keeping.