Of Pygmy Goats and Learning
Next to spring on the farm, fair time runs a close second on the “busy” meter. Hoosier Heritage Farm shows pygmy goats during fair season. Many people are surprised to learn that you show pygmy goats just like other people show cows, horses or pigs. In fact, pygmy goats are the smallest livestock in the 4-H show ring. Routine chores for the goats include feeding, watering, cleaning stalls and just observing the general “cuteness” of these pint sized critters. Fair time brings the additional tasks of grooming and showmanship practice to the mix. Yes, the goats get a bath!
While our family has shown goats for years, we discovered that we had many more goats to show than one person could handle in the show ring. My wife came up with a clever solution – a Hoosier Heritage Farm 4-H pygmy goat showmanship program. The program provides suburban 4-H members with the chance to care for and show livestock without having to house the animals. The program is currently full with six participants in addition to our daughter. Each participant is required to perform husbandry chores three times per week on the farm from May 1 through the end of the State Fair. Since 4-H requires the kids to own the animals, the animals are purchased on contract for a nominal fee. The fee covers feed and veterinary costs for the season. At the end of the period, the goats are purchased back by Hoosier Heritage Farm.
The Hoosier Heritage Farm pygmy goats and their handlers performed very well at the Hamilton County fair. The group received the following awards:
Katie Thieme: Grand Champion Doe and Reserve Grand Champion Registered Doe
Laura Alaben: Reserve Grand Champion Doe and Reserve Grand Champion Senior Showman
Mya Lotarski: Reserve Grand Champion Junior Showman
Claire Fisher: Grand Champion Junior Showman
Julia Fisher: Reserve Champion Clover Showman
We wish all of the Hoosier Heritage Farm pygmy goat herd the best of luck and anxiously anticipate the State Fair in August. Look for the handlers wearing the red Hoosier Heritage Farm pygmy goat t-shirts!