Triplets surprise for goat farmer
YOU'VE got to be kidding . . .
This trio of newly-born rare breed goats proved a real surprise after arriving unexpectedly on a farm near Penrith.
Five-year-old mum, Peggy, a Golden Guernsey, had given birth previously to single kids and twins - but never to triplets, which is not common in goats.
Female goats only have two teats in order to feed single or twin babies.
Farmer Chris Dickinson said: "It is not unknown for goats to have triplets, but it is a rare occurrence.
"It is also rare to have three evenly-sized kids, who all got up and started drinking instantly.
"It is also rare that all three survive," added 30-year-old Chris, who farms with mum, Anne, and dad, Alan, at North Netherscales Farm, Hutton End.
"It was a bonus that mum is a slightly older goat, so she has got a lot of milk, which means we don't have to bottle feed one of them," he added.
The two-day-old youngsters, one boy and two girls, have yet to be named - and Chris said it would be fun for the public to pick suitable ones.
The family started 20 years ago with a small herd of Golden Guernsey goats they bought from a Scottish breeder.
"We started with 10 and we have have about 20 counting males.
"They graze in little paddocks around the farm.
"They're very passive and have a lovely golden brown coat with striking beards.
"People often stop and take photographs of them when they are in the paddocks near the road."
The goats, added Chris, are very inquisitive, and love exploring.
"They get quite cheeky as they get older.
"They like to escape from their pen and try to get into the house.
"But they don't make it. They go out of the pen a little way and then scurry back, then they venture out a little further each day."
"It's a common perception that goats eat everything, but they are quite selective.
"They don't like hedges or leaves, but I wouldn't leave our washing in the pen," added Chris.
The Golden Guernsey is a rare pedigree breed but they are not endangered.
However, they are much sought-after, and the Dickinson family have no trouble selling any at the rare breeds sale at Borderway Mart in Carlisle in September to buyers who come from far and wide.