You’ve goat to be kiddin’: At 20, is Jarvis the UK’s oldest kid on the block?

Olivia Taylor celebrates the 20th birthday of Jarvis the goat. Photos by Jason Chadwick.
Olivia Taylor celebrates the 20th birthday of Jarvis the goat. Photos by Jason Chadwick.

Meet Jarvis, who at the grand old age of 20 is believed to be the UK’s oldest goat.

The loveable - and sometimes stubborn - pygmy goat hates the rain, has no appetite for grass and loves causing mischief.

Jarvis hates the rain and has no appetite for grass.

Jarvis hates the rain and has no appetite for grass.

But owner Olivia Taylor, 27, from Furness Vale, said: “He is part of the family and we couldn’t imagine our lives without him.”

A visit to American Adventure in 1997 proved to be a life-changing moment for the Taylor family. It was here that Liv’s mum got talking to the staff in the animal section at the park, who explained how at the end of every season they had to sell the babies so the animals could breed ready for the spring.

After falling in love with Jarvis and his sister Abbey, they decided to take them home.

Liv said: “It was great growing up with goats. All the other children used to come around and play with them, and sometimes we would have races which were so much fun.”

Jarvis has a nibble at some birthday cake.

Jarvis has a nibble at some birthday cake.

Abbey died eight years ago, but Jarvis is still fit and healthy - even is he has lost most of his teeth!

“He’s a very mischievous animal,” explained Liv. “He eats everything he shouldn’t, like ivy and conifers. I don’t think he has ever eaten a blade of grass.

“He has been spoilt with carrots and apples, and for his birthday we got him a cake - but he didn’t touch it.

“He hates the rain, so when the weather is rubbish he doesn’t come out of his shed.

“When he was younger both he and Abbey used to come into the house, and I remember very clearly we one time were all watching The King And I with the goats.”

Over the years Jarvis made several bids for freedom from his garden enclosure, and when there was an aviation fuel leak in the area he had to be evacuated to a nearby farm.

Liv said: “When Jarvis was younger he used to get really scared of the fireworks so we used to go to the shed with a radio to make him feel safe.”

She admits can be very stubborn at times, but also very playful: “When he wants to play he will follow you around until you give him attention - it’s really lovely.”

Liv added: “I think it’s great he is the oldest goat in the country, and I don’t think he has any plans of giving up that title anytime soon.”

A ‘tail’ as old as time

Jarvis is a pygmy goat, and the breed of animal has a life expectancy of between eight to ten years.

The fury figure was born on March 17, 1997, making him a few months older than a goat from Yorkshire who previously grabbed the headlines by claiming to be the country’s oldest goat.

The world’s oldest goat was McGinty, from Hayling Island in Hampshire, who died in 2003, aged 22 years and five months.