Geologist strikes gold with mini goats

Carolyn Scott-Burgess with baby buck Attunga Miniature Goat Stud

Geologist strikes gold with mini goats

DECEMBER 2015  | Joanne Eisemann

FROM THE moment we drove up the driveway, we just knew we wanted to put an offer on it,” says Carolyn Scott-Burgess of the family’s 50-acre property in Golden Valley.

Bought in 2003, Carolyn and her husband, Dale Burgess, were keen to provide their then three small children with a “feeling of a sustainable life on the land and an understanding of animals.”

Dale’s work in mining and Carolyn’s, as a geologist, inevitably took them away from the property; returning from Vietnam to live in Golden Valley two years ago.

The idea for rearing miniature goats on this property came from their son, Dominic.

The family had seen some during their travels in England but it was he who inspired his parents to purchase, given the quirky animals’ quaint personalities.

“They are good tempered and… a lot more playful. So they bring a lot of joy into our lives,” shares Carolyn.

She adds, “They have been very good for establishing a pasture here that is weed free… because they are browsers. They like to eat lots of things that other grazing animals do not.”

One of only a handful of miniature goat studs in Tasmania, ‘Attunga’ has a number of mini goats grazing their lush wallaby proofed pastures.

Having only been around 20 years, miniature goats as a breed are relatively new in Australia and are “still very much in the establishment phase”.

There are three grades: A, B or C – dependent on the height of the goats’ shoulder, with an A grade measuring 57 cm or under to this height.

Bloodlines are varied. “They are a breed in themselves but have had roots in many breeds that have come together,” comments Carolyn.

About the size of a medium dog, miniature goats are bred primarily to be sold as pets.

Management practices include de-budding of horns at a young age, a five-in-one vaccination, and regular hoof care to prevent foot rot.

“We’ve never had any disease here because we keep them vaccinated. It’s a standard, particularly as they are a pet animal they may be going to people who are not used to having livestock,” says Carolyn.

These goats handle the snow very well, and are fine for rain or wind but not together.

“So we have in each paddock some form of shelter, small sheds built by Dale that they can sneak into if they need to,” she adds.

Gestation for goats is five months, so two kids per year is possible.

At Attunga, the choice is to breed only one lot of kids per year, as it helps reduce stress on the animals and the family caring for them.

For more information about the miniature goat stud visit www.attungaminiaturegoats. com.au or call 0438 523 084.

 

 Mike Moores