Shannon Macfarlane and her nine-year-old daughter, Saraphine, like to go to the Quesnel small animal auction, because they never know what great deals they might find.
Sometimes they come home empty-handed, but as often as not they come across a deal they can‘t pass up.
Their menagerie of barnyard animals on their Fox Mountain acreage attests to that, with Winnie the pony, Pom Pom the alpaca, Smokey the sheep, and Rollie the pot belly pig.
Three years ago at the auction they got the low bid on what the auctioneer said was a three-year-old Toggenburg wether or castrated male.
Shannon knew differently of course because she inspected the animal before placing her bid.
“I knew she was a nannie,” Shannon says. “All the rest of the nannies with kids were going for $200 or $300 dollars, but nobody was interested in a three-year-old wether. So I got her for $60 bucks.”
Once Shannon won her bid, the handlers turned the Toggenburg around to lead her out of the ring, her full udder was fully visible and it was obvious to everybody that the “he” goat was actually a “she” goat.
“I milked Chloe for a whole year and she gave us two litres a day,” she says.
At last year’s small animal spring auction Shannon and Saraphine bought a cute 15-week-old billy goat kid they named Rabbit, with an eye to breeding Chloe and start raising goats.
But having an eye for something is a lot different than having a nose for it, and by October the rank smell of Rabbit changed their minds on that idea.
“Any time I got close to him the aroma was so intense I’d get tears in my eyes,” Shannon says, so she put him up for sale.
It took until January for Shannon to find a taker for Rabbit, who went to a nice home with a herd of “girls” to look after.
The buyer of the billy asked if they wanted to sell Chloe as well, and Shannon admits she wavered.
“At that time we weren’t sure whether Chloe was bred.”
As the weather warmed and the days got longer it was soon evident that Chloe was pregnant.
On April 7 Shannon and Saraphine went up to the small animal spring auction in Quesnel, with an eye to possibly buying another milk goat to keep Chloe company. Fortunately Shannon managed to constrain herself.
“I managed to sit on my hands and not buy anything,” she says. “Lucky for us, because when we got home Chloe had given birth to four babies. At first we thought she had twins, then we saw a third baby, then a fourth.”
Saraphine has already named the new arrivals: Button, Cricket, Bug and Mo. Button is the only female and Saraphine wants to keep her to finally start their herd of goats they have been planning.
After all she loves goat milk, so why not.
It seems like Rabbit was a good name for the father of the quadruplets. It’s pretty rare to have a litter of goats.
“It’s fairly common for goats to have twins, and I’ve heard of triplets before, but never four at one time,” Shannon says.