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Arapawa Goats Arrive in the UK
By Sandra Jones
The first six Arapawa goats to be brought into the UK arrived here on 19 May, 2004. They spent a total of 36 hours travelling from the South Island of New Zealand to Heathrow, and then a further four hours of travelling to reach their final destination here in Ruyton X1 Towns, Shropshire, England.
They spent a restful night but were obviously jet-lagged the next day; however, their appetites had not diminished. The goats were kept confined for a further two days to ensure that they had fully recovered from their journey. All four does were obviously heavily pregnant though none of us knew exactly when they were due! On the third day after their arrival it was decided that they should go out for exercise and fresh air. It was also deemed a safer bet to keep the two young bucks separated from the does as they were very excitable on their first day out onto British soil, and we thought it better to be safe than sorry.
The goats are housed in a stable complex with attached and secure concrete yard. A gate leads from this into another secure compound that allows the goats plenty of room to move. We had to pay particular detail to security to comply with the three-week quarantine that the goats had to be held under upon their arrival here in the UK. We were also told by Betty Rowe that the Arapawas can jump, but think our six-foot high chain link should hold them! The goats are also slightly confused by the fact that the summer they have been through in New Zealand is suddenly continuing despite the beginnings of a winter coat. They have now sussed that winter isn't coming yet and are duly shedding their underfluff!
They are corn fed twice daily, have free access to top quality meadow hay and lucerne, and receive a once daily feed of assorted branches and greenery. The does go out from 9.00am to 3.00pm. They then come in for their greenery in their pens whilst the two bucks go out. Toby and Nelson then stay out until 9.00pm. With an expected increase in numbers, we are already making plans to increase the size of their range to provide them with more adequate grazing for next year.
On the 26th June 2004, the very first Arapawas to be born on British soil arrived. Pretty Girl produced good-sized twins comprising one male (Pioneer) and one female (Pacific). Then, on Wednesday 30th June, another set of twins was born and I was in on the action! Trendy also had one male and one female though these kids were slightly smaller than the first pair. However, as I type this, they are just over one day old and lively little things. We have named the male 'Traveller' which we think is very apt under the circumstances, after all he was conceived in New Zealand and born in the UK! The little female has been given the Maori name Taonga, meaning treasure. Since then, Gretchen and Mia have both kidded – two more sets of twins. These were two males (Gulliver and Gideon) and a male and female (Meridian and Mariner).
The Arapawa is indeed a unique little breed of goat, and, for a 'feral' has extremely good conformation and udder shape. I wish my bigger dairy goats had the same!The above article has been slightly modified from that published in Rare Breeds NewZ.
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