Updated: Feb 21, 2022
A little bit about an at risk breed, Golden Guernsey goats.
Golden goats have been known on the Channel Island of Guernsey for 200 years. However, there are goat bones in megalithic tombs on the island that date back 2000 years B.C! Guernsey was occupied by the Nazis during the WWII when most livestock was slaughtered. Miriam Milbourne hid a small herd of Golden Guernseys for several years and thus saved the breed. They were exported to Great Britain in 1965 and the Golden Guernsey Goat Society was formed in 1970. They are now classified as “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in their new 2021-22 Watchlist (https://www.rbst.org.uk/golden-guernsey) with 500-1000 animals. Many were lost in the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK, but this did not affect the island of Guernsey where Peter and Mandy Girard keep Golden Guernseys for milk, yoghurt and cheese (https://channeleye.media/meet-the-producers-golden-guernsey-goat-farm/).
The Golden Guernsey is an efficient producer of 2-3 litres of milk per day. The high butterfat content means that it is good for producing both cheese and yoghurt. The RBST describes them as “affectionate and docile” which may be why city farms and farm visitor centres keep them! Walby farm park near Carlisle has Golden Guernseys (https://www.facebook.com/WalbyFarmPark) as does Tom’s Farm at Nightingale Community Academy in London (https://www.facebook.com/tomsfarmOHCAT). My photographs were taken in both these places and the Cotswold Farm Park in Gloucestershire (https://www.facebook.com/CotswoldFarmParkLtd).
Their coats can be any shade of gold, as can be seen from the photograph. Consequently, I have bought alpaca fibre in many different shades, much of it from Why Not Alpacas in Sedbergh (http://www.whynotalpacas.co.uk). I started needle felting Golden Guernseys after joining the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. I wanted to help to raise the profile of animals on their Watchlist without being able to keep them myself. 10% of my rare breed sales goes to RBST.