The practice of letting a goat accompany flocks and herds at pasture was favoured in the Isle of Man. It is said to be followed still on a few farms.
The goat’s presence was believed to have a beneficial effect on the general health of cows and sheep and especially to promote their fertility and successful calving and lambing.
As it is wiser than the beasts, it knew before they did when bad weather was coming and led them to shelter.
(source: A Second Manx Scrapbook by W W Gill, 1932; artwork ‘Goat on cow’s back‘ by 3greendogs)