Goats, Rams & Pigs

Feral Goats, Arapawa Rams & Wild Pigs

Feral goats live in groups of mixed ages, often containing both male and female animals.  Males are the largest sex, with clearly heavier forequarters, shaggier coats, and larger horns. There is great variability in the colour as they can be black, white or brown or any combination of these.  In New Zealand, both sexes have horns. For females, the horns are slender and curve upwards and backward, with a clear space between the bases. In males, the horns are larger and sweep up and backward or up and outwards in an open spiral.  The horns are not shed annually like antlers but are retained for the life of the animal.

The Arapawa Sheep is a breed of feral sheep found primarily in the mountains of New Zealand, where they have probably been since they were introduced in 1867.  Although there are many theories of how the sheep arrived, it is generally accepted that they are descendants of Merino strains from Australia.  Most commonly the Arapawa colouring is all black. However, quite often, white points are displayed and on occasion, an all-white sheep can be found.

Wild pigs were introduced as early as 1769 by the French explorer Jean Francois Marie de Suville. A year later, Captain James Cook brought pigs with him, gifting some animals to local Maori that were then bred. These pigs occasionally escaped to form the wild pig populations that we have today. As a result, feral pigs in New Zealand are often referred to as ‘Captain Cookers.’  Most Captain Cookers are commonly black but there is considerable local variation in colour with ginger, sandy brown, white, gray and smoky blue, or combinations of these.  Their tusks extend out from the lower jaw and curve upwards, outward and backward and can protrude 150 mm plus.