Goats in San Juan De Capistrano
There are many benefits to having the Natural Park at your doorstep be it the clean and fresh air, beautiful wild flowers or fantastic views or great walking trails, but my personal favourite, is the regular passing of the goats!
The sight of the old-fashioned goat herder is not just a thing of the past, nor is it a forgotten memory. No. The tradition is still very much alive. Even in today’s modern world of factory farming and high-production demands the goats are still munching their way through the hills of Andalusia!
In fact, if you are in San Juan De Capistrano you’ll have no trouble spotting the goats for yourself. There is a local goat herd that passes through the back of San Juan where it meets the Natural Park, every evening about an hour before sunset.
Sometimes you can tell they are near, as you´ll hear their bleating, the calls of the herder, or the ringing of their bells. They really are a charming sight to watch especially the amazingly cute kid goats. I always find the herding dogs very impressive; they do a great job of keep the herd together, and seem to take their work very seriously.
These goats in Nerja are known as ‘La Cabra Malagueña’ (the Malaga goat). They have great footing for the rocky hills and steep climbs of the Andalusian mountains and it’s not unusual to see them leaping down from, what looks like to us, a deadly height. Luckily for keen photographers they are pretty indifferent to human presence, meaning you can usually get in pretty close without startling them.
San Juan De Capistrano is a unique part of the world, with a wonderful link to almost completely undisturbed nature and to a way of life that dates back thousands of years. One moment you can be tapping away on your IPad, the next you can pop your head up to witness an age old tradition!
This charming old profession of Goat herding in Andalusia, whilst enchanting, is also very important economically for the region. Andalusia is well known for its longstanding goat milk production. In fact it is still today one of the largest producers of goats milk in the world. Spain produces around one quarter of all goat milk in Europe; and Andalusia is responsible for around half of that production. That equates to approximately 16,500 tonnes of goat cheese per year! There are many different types of Spanish Goat cheese and Andalusia is a great place to sample some of the local produce.
Along with being great for the economy the goats also play a vital role in the ecosystem. It is a well known fact that goats like to eat a lot… of almost anything! Whilst this can sometimes be troublesome if you find one hungrily nibbling on your jacket, it is actually really handy if you have a lot of wilderness that needs clearing. Not only do they cut back the weeds, but they also fertilize the land with their droppings along the way. So there you have it, the Malaga goats are an important part of our community here in San Juan De Capistrano. No Kidding!