Doing it for the kids - talented goat performs showbiz routine

A performing goat and her trainer have become an instant hit at Hatton Country World near Warwick.

Honey the goat and 16-year-old Natalie Ambrose-Hadlum have amazed staff and visitors at the tourist attraction’s farm village by creating a routine of tricks usually performed by dogs.

North Leamington School pupil Natalie, who works as a farm village assistant running birthday parties during the weekends, spotted that one of the resident goats had an appetite for learning.

She said: “I’ve always enjoyed working with the goats, which are very intelligent.

“However, when I met Honey I thought she was exceptionally bright. She was always first to know where food was and I thought she might have the right temperament to enjoy training.

“My step-dad works as a trainer with Guide Dogs for the Blind, so I understood the principles of teaching dogs to respond to certain commands.

“I came in the next week with a ‘clicker’, which is used so dogs come to associate a clicking noise with a command.

“I used a carrot as a reward and Honey was immediately alert and responsive.

“After watching her for a day I had some idea about what I could teach her to do.

“She would paw at the fence so I used this natural response to teach her to shake hands. She loves the mental stimulation and is always keen to please me.”

As well as shaking hands, Honey can walk around in a circle, stop on command, stand on her back legs and touch Natalie’s hand with her nose.

Farm village manager Richard Craddock said: “Natalie has really thrown herself into the job since joining us last year and has built up good relationships with the animals.

“Honey recognises Natalie as soon as she approaches the gate and runs straight over to her.

“The double act has proved a great hit with the visiting children, especially during the birthday parties where the guests are in awe of Honey’s party tricks.”