Eagle: Go get your goat
EAGLE, Colorado During the Eagle County 4-H Livestock Show, kids will parade around the show ring with steers, sheep and swine as the crowd envisions stocked freezers come winter.But what about those goats?Fair organizers expect 25 market goats will be part of the sale this year. But goat meat isnt something you routinely find at the supermarket. Whats more, goats have a reputation for being obstinent creatures who can eat someone out of house and home. So why are so many local kids commiting themselves to goat projects?According to Vickie Olson, 14, of Eagle, goats are actually pretty easy to work with. Like people, sometimes they are a bit cranky, she admits. Whats more, she said committing to a goat project means working with an animal daily or they tend to forget their manners. One time I went to Denver for a couple of days and when I came back, it seemed like my goat had forgotten everything I had taught it, said Olson.Olson has been working with goats for the past three years. Two of Olsons cousins were raising the animals and they convinced her to join them in the effort. This year she is raising both a breeding goat, Larry Lou, and a market goat, Curly. I just dont have a third goat so I couldnt name it Mo, she explained.Theres something poetically appropriate about naming goats after the Three Stooges. According to the Goats and more goats: The goat pages website, the animals are fun being they all have different personalities and have different little habits that can be amusing or interesting.The experts go on to say goats are very affectionate and liked to hang around people. Their size makes them a bit more manageable, as opposed to a cow. These very characteristics seem to scream pet as opposed to project.But while she has raised her goat Curly from kid-hood, Olson has always know his ultimate fate as a market goat. Like all the animals in the livestock show, Curly is headed to the butcher when the show is over and Olson will be a bit richer for the effort. Two years ago, her market goat netted $750.As for her own experience, Olson said she has eaten goat meat once when her aunt tricked her. I think it tasted like beef, she concluded.The 4-H market and breeding goats, along with all the other 4-H animals, are on display at the Eagle River Center through Saturday. The Junior Livestock Sale will happen Saturday, Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. at the Eagle River Center.
Here are the characteristics of a prime, healthy goat: Clear, bright eyes tearing or cloudy eyes probably mean a pinkeye infection. Smooth, shiny coat a dull coat could indicate parasites. A fluffed up coat means the goat is not feeling well. Good appetite. Alert attitude hunched back and droopy tail means something is wrong. http://www.goats4h.com