Some sheep farmers keep female milking goats on hand to “nanny” lambs when sheep mothers either die or reject their babies.
But the name nanny goat didn’t come from this common practice.
In English, Nanny is a derivative of the common name Anne.
Like jack and jenny mules, there are billy, short for William, and nanny, “Anne” goats.
The term “Nanny goat” originated in the 18th century.
Female goats are sometimes referred to as does.
Goats, and in particular nanny goats, can on occasion be vicious when defending their kids, or when having a bad day.
When in doubt, it is wise to leave them alone unless you feel like being a scapegoat.