WHEELING -- All jokes aside, theres a lot of kiddin around going on at Avalon Farm these days.
Robert Brown, third generation owner of the farm which is nestled in the rolling hills of Ohio County on W.Va. 88 between Oglebay Park and West Liberty University, was a busy man during March when 21 kids -- or baby goats -- were born.
It was a pretty hectic couple of weeks, he recalled during a visit to the farm earlier this week. There were 23 born, but two died.
A kid, baby goat, plays with in a feeder while two older goats look on.
Brown, who has been in the goat business for about four years now after raising sheep for a while, said the goats are a high percentage Boer breed from Africa.
There are more and more ethnic groups adapting to eating goat meat in the world these days, Brown explained. We havent been used to it in the past because the world got spoiled on beef, but roughly 60 percent of the world eats goat meat.
Theres a big demand for it, he added.
Brown said he got into the goat business after several years of raising sheep.
We had a big herd, probably 65 head or so, but we got out of it (the business) because wool became worthless and eating lamb meat never picked up like people thought it would, he noted.
When asked if he had names for all his kids, he replied, My wife does for some, but I dont. I know them by number, he added, pointing to a tag in each kids earlobe.
Brown said goats are no different than any other animal, as far as caring for.
Theres a lot of work involved, he admitted. They need their feet trimmed four times a year. They need vaccinated and they need wormed four times a year.
To keep them healthy and productive, you have to take the time, he noted. He said you also have to rotate pastures for them to graze.
Once the kids reach 90 days old, if off to market for some, others are added to the flock.
Some of the little ones, if they are males, go to market, Brown said. The other ones are pick-n-choose.
He said he keeps some for his flock instead of going out and buying them.
You just dont know what youre getting, as far as diseases go.
All 21 kids were fathered by the same buck.
He can take care of 25 does with no problem, Brown added. Ill keep him for another year, then Ill get another one.
Browns grandfather purchased Avalon Farm back in 1939. He had milk cattle, but switched to black angus beef when the government went to stricker standards about stainless steel containers, according to Brown.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org