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New Kid on the Block

Posted on: 24th March 2015

Mini farmers


With enough sweet, green grass in the goat paddock, and a large indoor pen for the winter months, we thought it was time to increase our goat herd.

Pygmy goats are gentle, inquisitive and affectionate – ideal animals for young children to interact with. Stroking and hand feeding these creatures gives many toddlers (and their parents) a real buzz.

Tim and I would like to breed goats in a year or two, so we decided to acquire another kid from the Devonshire breeder who gave us two of our current goats, Gloria and Gaynor.

Sharon lives in the wilds of West Devon so Bathsheba (our seven year old daughter) and I were charged with the 120 mile round trip in my father-in-law’s trusty, twenty year old Land Rover. The first task was to find it! Farmer John was on the farm, with sheepdog Bramble sitting in the back.

We set off on a fabulous spring day. This is the furthest the Land Rover has ventured in two years. Last time, it broke down and Gloria and Gaynor were delivered to the farm on an AA recovery truck!

It took an hour and an half to get there along winding country roads. Bathsheba’s patience was extended by the lure of a pub lunch! There’s no radio in the Land Rover so we passed the time with conversations including wobbly teeth and Horrid Henry. Finally, Bathsheba instigated some spellings and chanted her spelling song from Roald Dahl’s Matilda: “Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs F, F, I, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs L-T-Y!”

This is tumbleweed country, remote and rural. After a few wrong turns (God bless you, Google Maps) we found a pub in Kilkhampton serving roast or, er, roast. Bathsheba ate a mammoth meal, interspersed with some giggly air violin to the pub juke box music.

We arrived at the farm down ever narrowing lanes. Sharon has bred pygmy goats for more than a decade and won many prizes. She showed us her magnificent black and white billy – Lennox – and gorgeous fluffy Angora kids Perry and Polo. Then we met OUR kid: Izzy. She’s beautiful. Toffee coloured, with black points, she was born on Christmas Eve and, at three months old, was ready to leave home.

Sharon lifted her purposefully into the back of our Land Rover. We’d covered the floor with a deep layer of straw, to make a bed for Izzy. Bathsheba talked to her for the first half an hour before she settled down right behind the driver’s seat. She is convinced Izzy will love Tredethick, with its green fields and a bigger barn.

Once home we gave Izzy a cuddle and food in her new pen. She’ll stay in the barn for a few weeks until the weather is warmer and she’s taller, then she’ll join her big sisters in the goat paddock. Actually Gaynor is her real half sister (they share Valentina as their mum) – if only they knew.

We are hoping to repeat our mum and daughter road trip this summer when we will collect one more kid, who is due to be born this week. Bathsheba’s already looking forward to the pub roast!

Ashlyn (Mrs Farmer Tim!)

Posted in Tredethick animals