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This year's must-have gift: A goat

Goats provide milk, offspring, and manure for crops.
Which would you rather receive for Christmas?
An iPod
A goat

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Forget the iPod -- goats and chickens are the must-have Christmas presents this year.

Shoppers have already snapped up more than 31,000 goats and 51,000 broods of chickens under the Oxfam Unwrapped scheme, which sends animals to people in areas of famine around the world.

And the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) has sold 13,000 goats at £25 (U.S.$48) each.

"It's been incredible," Cafod spokeswoman Debbie Wainwright told The Guardian newspaper.

"We've raised nearly £800,000 from Christmas gifts this year and our top selling gift is the goat. One school raised nearly £5,000 to buy goats."

Oxfam's Douglas Graham said: "It's been a phenomenal success. People like tangibility, but they also understand when they are buying something less tangible. I'd rather have a goat than an iPod."

The Oxfam initiaitive provides novel ways to solve the usual Christmas present dilemma. As well as goats (£25 each) and chickens (£10 for a brood of 10), more than 641,950 tree seedlings have also been purchased.

The purchaser's friend, relative or colleague receives a card and voucher describing the item, while Oxfam uses the funds to purchase the specified item or service and tackle poverty in communities around the world.

"Goats and chickens have captured the imagination of many people," Graham said.

Goats, which are sourced locally by Oxfam, provide nutritious milk, offspring and manure for crops. They can also be sold in times of great need.

The animals are provided to villagers in need and the first female kid produced is returned to the village to be allocated to others. Chickens, which are easy to care for, provide eggs and chicks.

There are four specific gift vouchers -- a goat, a brood of chickens, 50 tree seedlings and teacher training - that can be purchased directly from most Oxfam shops and from the Oxfam Unwrapped Web site.

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