Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ETGRA Spring Open Sale on March 3

Gleaned from Goat Gossip
By Fred Vandermartin

The East Texas Goat Raisers Association will hold its Spring Open Sale on March 3 at the Ike Carden Arena in Fairfield, Texas. Freestone County has a wonderful facility with covered pens, and a covered arena. This is an auction sale and is open to anyone who has goats for sale.  
Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at noon.  Sale starts at 1 p.m.  Consignees pay $7 for each meat goat and $10 a head for breeding stock, registered or not registered.  Animals will be checked for signs of illness;  registered animals must be tattooed.  
Sales rules posted on the Internet at 
The Elkhart 4-H will be providing concessions and Jake Cooper will be working his magic with the smoker to provide the BBQ brisket! We welcome anyone who would like to vend their products.
Visit for more information on events and about our association or friend us on Facebook at

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barn fire kills 36 goats used as 4-H projects

From the Journal-Courier


To help the 4-H kids who lost goats in the Clarks Hill fire, e-mail Leslie Summerfield at
CLARKS HILL, Ind. -- Children and adults cried Saturday when they learned that a barn fire killed 36 goats used by 4-H members for the annual Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair.
But things are looking up. A Clinton County woman already has sold the 4-H'ers five pedigree goats -- at $50 each, instead of usual $125 to $175 -- plus, she donated seven bales of hay.
Fire quickly destroyed Mike Summerfield's barn and the goats shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. The Clarks Hill volunteer fire department responded.
"My husband Mike is a member of the fire department," Leslie Summerfield said Monday. She is former 10-year 4-H member who showed goats. "His beeper went off at 1:10 a.m. and he found out it was our address.
"The barn is about 1.5 miles down the road. He could see the flames. Mike went straight to it, but within two minutes the barn collapsed. For his own safety, he didn't go in."
Firefighters believe the blaze was accidental. She said it's likely a goat knocked over a heating lamp used to keep baby goats warm.
Leslie Summerfield's mother, Kathy Monjon, is the 4-H leader of the Lauramie Township Willing Workers Club, which housed goats in the barn.
"This is so gut-wrenching," Monjon said. "When I was called, my first thought was, 'Did any of the goats get out?'"
None did.
"We are a close family. We have to learn from this experience and go on."
The Summerfields could not get insurance on the barn because they do not live on the property.
They let the 4-H members borrow the goats for their county fair projects. The 4-H members would visit the goats at the Summerfield barn to feed and care for them.
Monjon has one granddaugher and three grandsons who show goats. Nine of her club members and two from another club had goats in the barn. She said the challenge is to replace the goats and find a place to house them.
"I had an offer Sunday night from a relative with a construction company who said he if we get the materials, he will build a new barn," Monjon said.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goats can develop accents, study shows

LONDON -- Goats, like people, can develop accents based on their surroundings, a British university study indicates.

Until now, experts assumed most species' "voices" were dictated exclusively by genetics and not their surroundings. Exceptions were thought to be limited to humans, elephants, dolphins whales and bats.

A team from Queen Mary, University of London, recorded the bleats of four groups of pygmy goats that were siblings or half siblings at 1 week old and then at 5 weeks old, the study published in British journal Animal Behaviour said. At 5 weeks old the young goats, known as kids, form social groups with other goats of the same age, the researchers said.

The results indicated the goats' "accents" changed as the goats moved into different social settings, disproving claims their quality of voice and intonation were entirely genetic.

"This suggests that goat kids modify their calls according their social surroundings, developing similar 'accents,'" postdoctoral research assistant Elodie Briefer, who led the study, told the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Asked whether the same could be true of other mammals, she said: "We don't know, because people are so sure there's no effect of the environment that no one has checked. But if goats can do it maybe all mammals' accents could be affected by their environment."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Petting zoo goats may have been slaughtered for meat

Lesley Ciarula TaylorToronto Star Staff Reporter
Retired pygmy goats that once entertained children at a Stanley Park petting zoo appear to have been slaughtered for their meat.
Vancouver Park Board officials on Monday returned to a hobby farm in Langley, B.C., run byTrevor French, who adopted 17 goats and four sheep from the Children’s Farmyard in January, 2011.
“I was very distressed to learn of the alleged mistreatment of several goats and sheep adopted out to a local farm,” park board chairwoman Constance Barnes said at a news conferenceSunday.
“I have also directed our city solicitor to take aggressive legal action” against French.
Parks board spokeswoman Joyce Courtney told the Star on Monday that staff had believed there were four goats left at French’s farms when the SPCA inspected on Friday, but they’re no longer sure.
“All of the animals we saw were well cared for,” SPCA Vancouver spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk told the Star. Whether any were retired petting-zoo goats “would be very hard to discern.”
Vancouver Parks and Recreation set out stringent requirements for anyone adopting petting zoo animals after the city closed the attraction in 2011because of a $3 million budget shortfall. The chief requirement was that they not be sold and be allowed to “live out their natural lives.”
Vancouver Sun investigation, however, found records from the Fraser Valley Auction house showing French brought in 15 pygmy or smaller goats last year for sale.
Auction house owner Ken Pearson told the Sun: “all the wether (castrated) goats are meat for sure” because they wouldn’t have been bought as pets. He identified the goats as former petting-zoo animals from photographs.
French told the newspaper that the horned goats were nasty and he had to get rid of them. He denied any had been sold at auction, and saying they were sold or given to friends. The four sheep died, he said.
Barnes also ordered an investigation of the well-being of all animals — cows, pigs, donkeys and a pony, as well as goats and sheep — that had been farmed out to B.C. families after the petting zoo closed.

Friday, February 10, 2012

SW Mo. Spring Forage Conference Feb. 28

The 28th Annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference will be
Tuesday, February 28, at the University Plaza Hotel, Springfield, Mo. The conference will cover issues and topics affecting today's graziers. Join other livestock producers for lunch, presentations and view the latest in products and exhibits on forage related information. The conference fee of $25 (NON-REFUNDABLE) is due by February 22 ($35 after February 22 or at the door). The fee covers registration, proceedings and meal. Several of these sessions may count toward CEU credits for Certified Crop Advisors and AFGC Grassland Professionals.     For more information call 417-831-5246, ext. 3.

Deep in the Heart movie honors 4-H, FFA supporter

Texas 4-H families asked to support
feature film opening Feb. 17

By Paul Schattenberg
AgriLife Communications
Texas A&M University System

COLLEGE STATION – 4-H families are encouraged to support Deep in the Heart – a full-length feature film about the remarkable life of Richard “Dick” Wallrath, the top individual financial contributor to Texas 4-H and Texas FFA scholarship programs, said a Texas 4-H administrator.

Wallrath’s overall contributions to 4-H and FFA, including scholarship contributions through his educational foundation, currently exceed $16 million.

“We sincerely request that 4-H families see this film about Dick Wallrath’s life for two reasons,” said Dr. Chris Boleman, director of the 4-H and youth development program of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “First, we feel this story of overcoming personal challenges, discovering what’s truly important in life and second chances will resonate with many families. Second, because of Mr. Wallrath’s continued generosity, a portion of all ticket sales will go to both Texas 4-H and Texas FFA.”

The money donated from ticket sales will go to further strengthen much-needed scholarship programs, Boleman said.

“Mr. Wallrath also has provided tremendous financial assistance to 4-H and FFA members through his participation in livestock show premium auctions, including buying show steers at junior auctions in major shows throughout Texas,” he said. “In addition, he established the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation, which to date has funded almost $8 million in scholarships to high school students who’ve enrolled in Texas universities.”

According to documentation, during Wallrath’s 13-year involvement with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, he has purchased 130 steers, including three reserve champion and three grand champions, one of which he bought for $601,000 – a world record. He also has purchased six grand champions at the Star of Texas show in Austin, and two grand champions, one reserve champion and 82 breed champions at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. Wallrath’s combined purchases at these shows totals more than $5 million. In addition, he recently bought the grand champion steer at the 2012 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for $230,000, which was the most ever paid for a champion steer in the history of that event.

From 2006 to the present, the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation has awarded a total of 780 $10,000 scholarships to 4-H and FFA members, with more than 500 students who have received these scholarships currently attending Texas universities.

Deep in the Heart opens Feb. 17 at theaters throughout Texas. The 113-minute feature film stars Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite; Real Genius), Elaine Hendrix (The Parent Trap), DB Sweeney (Eight Men Out; Memphis Belle; Fire In The Sky) and Val Kilmer (Top Gun; Tombstone; Batman Forever) and was directed by Christopher Cain, who directed Young Guns, Pure Country and Pure Country 2.

“This film tracks Mr. Wallrath’s life story from losing everything to rediscovering his faith and finding redemption with the support of his family,” said Jim Reeves, executive director of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation. “After struggling with alcoholism and the loss of a child, Wallrath once again found his faith and was given a second chance, which he made the most of by building a successful business with his sons. He has generously shared the financial fruits of that business with 4-H and FFA members, who he calls the ‘future leaders’ of our country.”

Reeves said the success of the film’s opening weekend will have a significant impact on plans for its nationwide release.

More information on Deep in the Heart can be found at: For information on Texas theater locations showing this film, go to

“While Dick Wallrath’s story is a Texas and an American success story, it is also a human success story that speaks to the four H’s of our program – heart, head, hands and health – as well as to the importance of treating others with fairness and respect,” Boleman said. “4-H families and others will be inspired by this movie and by the man who has lived by the concept that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

To view a 2:11 film trailer and movie poster, go to:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More details on Brian Payne's hay feeder

Schematic of Brian Payne's hay feeder made from rebar.

Panels used for
fence-line feeder.
In the February Goat Rancher we published an article about Canadian goat producer Brian Payne's hay feeder design. Because of space limitations, we were not able to print Brian's schematic, which shows the dimensions for rebar panels used in the construction of the feeders.

Brian and Goat Rancher have received several requests for more information on building the feeders, so here is the schematic and some extra notes from Brian:

"My illustration shows 7 1/2 inch centers on the slanted bars with the panel dimensions being 58 inches wide by 45 inches high. The addition of 3/4" or 1" pipe adds some extra length so that 5 panels will do a large round bale and 6 panels will do a large square bale."

"Older nannies and bucks with longer horns can be a problem. Our solution is to make the same panel with 9-inch center-to-center spacings on the slanted rebar. Even one panel with the wider spacings in a feeder will allow the mature animals and bucks to eat. For doelings we reduce the center-to-center distance to 5 inches. Younger animals and shorter necks will require some bale management. As the group eats into the bale we reduce the feeder from 5 panels to 4 and then to 3."

ETGRA Spring Open Sale on March 3

The East Texas Goat Raisers Association invites all folks to
participate in their Spring Open Sale on Saturday, March 3rd. We will
start checking in animals at 7:30 a.m. until Noon. 

Animals will be sifted for obvious health problems prior to sale. Knots, other than
those caused by recent injections, will exclude an animal from sale.
The ETGRA acts as an agent only. Soundness of the animal as well as
accuracy of information contained on the registration paper,
application to register and service memo are the responsibility of the
seller. Consignees pay $7 for ETGRA members and $10 a head for non-members.
Please see the sales rules at

The sale will start at 1 p.m. This will be an open sale with folks
with meat, dairy, and pet goats invited to participate. Our last sale
was a success with buyers leaving with good stock at fair prices and
sellers who were satisfied with the results of their transactions! We
would like to thank Mr. Nathan Lapp for calling our sale again.
Details will be added as I get them.

Fred VanderMartin
Purveyor of fine Goat Gossip
Rancho Volsa Basias
278 F.M. 489 East
Buffalo, Texas 75831
Call Anytime 903-388-8528

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wall Street Journal writes about goat meat

The Wall Street Journal

After years of celebrating boutique meats such as Berkshire pork and heritage turkey, chefs have fallen hard for another protein. Goat has been embraced everywhere from sustainability-focused restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and Blue Hill in New York to "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard's Chicago spot Girl and the Goat. The meat has become so popular among chefs that many now complain about not being able to source enough of it.

A mainstay in Jamaican, Mexican and Arab cuisine, goat can seem like the ultimate mystery meat for American home cooks. For all our love of goat cheese and our growing interest in goat yogurt and butter, we still think of goats as cute little horned creatures with stubborn personalities. It's just not part of our food culture.
Katy McLaughlin on Lunch Break has a home cook's guide to buying, prepping and cooking goat, the meat of the moment.

Anyone who loves red meat but has become bored with beef and lamb would be remiss not to give goat a try. It is healthy, hearty meat, with a third fewer calories than beef and half the saturated fat of chicken. 

Greek-style baby goat soup

(Editor's Note: Ok, this article is too late for Super Bowl, but it's a great story!)

  • Chef Spiro Megalis holds a finished dish of goat soup Wednesday in Niles.
Chef Spiro Megalis holds a finished dish of goat soup Wednesday in Niles. (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)
By John Kass
Chicago tribune
Most Super Bowl feasts are nothing but hate crimes against your taste buds. Those bland Buffalo wings, that bleh cheese dip, the boring little sliders. Do you really want a Betty Crocker empanada?
Of course not. What Super Bowl feasters really want is this:
A man-size bowlful of Greek-style baby goat soup (tasty with the head or without), a hunk of fresh crusty bread, some good feta cheese drizzled with virgin olive oil and dusted with fresh mountain oregano, and a glass of good red wine.
One spoonful is like a vacation to sunny Greece, to the village of Achladokambos, where the famous soup was born. And if you don't believe me, and you want to make some yourself, just click on the Tribune video at

Goat broth, oregano, lemon, goat meat, salt and pepper are elemental. Eventually, they'll put it on the Food Network and fancy food writers will give it a fancy name. It will be all the rage. But I want my readers ahead of the foodie curve.

"How many heads? One or two?" asked Christ Dimitropoulos, legendary butcher at the Halsted Packing House. The two sisters who run the place, Kalle and Cookie Davos, told me to use a baby goat. Christ cut my goat into pieces, then chopped the head with the cleaver, then added another head. "Goat soup is the best!"
Years ago, you would have freaked if someone told you to insert an open can of beer into a chicken before roasting. Now you know how tasty Kass' Beer Can Chicken can be. So when I say it's time for Super Bowl Greek-style baby goat soup, it's time.
"Not in my kitchen," said Betty. "No heads."
Aw, honey, it's journalism.
"I don't want goat heads floating around," she said. "And I don't have a pot big enough for heads."
So I called Ari Megalis, a young barbecue master who is always ready for a food adventure. Ari's dad owns the Chateau Ritz Banquet Halls in Niles. And my brother married Ari's sister.
"Betty says the heads are the issue?" said Ari.
Yes. She doesn't want the heads.
"OK, we'll do it here," said Ari. "Bring the goat over. Let's do it."
In the immaculate kitchen of Chateau Ritz, Ari had assembled a worthy crew: His father, Nick Megalis, his Uncle Spiros and executive chef Argyris Panou, plus yours truly and my colleague Shooter. And an entire staff of kitchen workers. More than a dozen hungry people were eager for the soup.
Dimitrios Tziforos stopped by, the only one of us born in Achladokambos. The villagers' expertise in making goat soup is unquestioned. In Chicago, the Achladokambites host a great picnic each year and cook their soup outdoors. They use whole, older goats, and it takes much longer to cook.
Nick Megalis and all the guys said it was best that we use a baby goat for the mild flavor. Whenever I have a food question, I ask Nick. He knows where the best honey can be found on which mountain, the importance of using royal jelly to fight colds, the virtues of Irish steel cut oatmeal, the proper use of dill in a salad. And the cleanliness of goats.
"People don't know this, but the goat is the cleanest animal," said Nick. "The chicken eats from the ground. They're not the cleanest. The pigs eat from the ground also. The pigs put their face in the dirt when they eat. But the goat eats only the fresh clean leaves from the new growth of the bushes. And this one is perfect."
Argyris turned on the giant industrial stockpot, we put all the meat inside, he filled it with water to cover.
"Let's put the heads in there too," he said. Dimitrios nodded.
It simmered for more than three hours, until the meat all but fell off the bone. About halfway through, we added salt to taste. As it bubbled, we talked of goats and the old country, of olive trees, the sun, the taste of mulberries and fresh yogurt, and the old wars, the terrible journey of immigrants. I can imagine Italians doing the same, and Jamaicans, Poles, Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, Nigerians, Assyrians, Turks and Americans from the country, living in the city. Guys hanging around a kitchen, going old school, using ancient recipes to fly their souls home.
We used a large spoon to skim the fat as it bubbled, and later we added potatoes and carrots and celery. We could have left it as a broth, or made a separate pot of rice and added a serving spoon of rice in each bowl. You can do this easily at home and you don't need the heads. Just five or six pounds of baby goat meat in a stockpot, water, skim the surface during simmering, add salt and pepper to taste, and wait until the meat falls away.
To serve: Portion meat in a soup bowl, add vegetables, ladle the broth. Squeeze fresh lemon, pepper, salt to taste, press dry oregano in your palm to release the fragrance.
Ari set a table in the dining room. We all sat down, raised our glasses, picked up our spoons and smiled.
Greek-style baby goat soup. A taste of home.
Ah. Ah. Ah. Mmm.
That's a true Super Bowl.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Raging goats holds woman captive


Police respond to call of one randy animal head-butting door

Debra Giuliani holds her two dogs, Ardy (left) and Lisette, outside her Abbotsford home Tuesday.

Debra Giuliani holds her two dogs, Ardy (left) and Lisette, outside her Abbotsford home Tuesday.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann - PNG, The Province

Call him a bully goat.
An Abbotsford woman was held hostage in her home by her neighbour's randy goat.
Debra Giuliani was heading out to run some errands with her dogs on Monday when she was confronted with the non-neutered billy goat outside her home in the 4500-block Lefeuvre Road.
Giuliani, 45, ran back inside and her two pooches scrambled to safety.
"I tried to shoo the goat away with the snow shovel but it just made it really mad," said Giuliani.
"He came up the stairs and was jumping all over the barbecue and head-butting the door trying to get in."
Giuliani lobbed a couple of empty Corona beer bottles at the marauding goat to scare it away, without much success.
She called animal control, but they were closed for the day, so she called police with the plea: "I'm being held hostage in my house by my neighbour's goat.'"
Abbotsford police Const. Ian MacDonald said two officers responded to the call - a senior officer with 30 years of experience and a junior officer who has only been on the job for four years.
"You can guess who dealt with the goat," deadpanned MacDonald.
The junior officer, who had "less than zero" experience with goats or livestock, picked up a stick and tried to prod the goat from the porch.
The animal was "equally unimpressed with the stick as it was with the beer bottles," said MacDonald.
Giuliani said the officer also tried to coax the goat with broccoli and carrots.
"But the goat was having no piece of that," MacDonald said.
The "hostage situation" came to a head after the senior officer, who got tired of the shenanigans, walked straight up to the smelly creature, grabbed it by its collar, dragged it back to the neighbour's property and retied it to a fence post.
No injuries were sustained by the woman, her dogs or either cop, said Mac-Donald, except the senior officer "might have hurt himself laughing."