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Rare Breeds: Arapawa Goats

Meet some of our rare breed residents at Mary Arden's Farm

Ashley Malia
Arapawa Goat

Here at Mary Arden’s Farm we have 3 Arapawa goats; 1 entire male called Patrick, one weathered male (castrated) called Maestral and a pregnant female called Davina, who is carrying a single kid (or baby goat).

The breed of Arapawa goat is extremely rare, perhaps one of the rarest in the world. Their story dates back to 1773, when Captain Cook sailed to the island of Arapawa, just off the coast of New Zealand, with 2 Old English Milk goats. He left the goats behind as a source of meat and milk in case he or any other settlers visited the island again.

The goats then bred successfully and took to the environment extremely well, so that they became numerous to the point of menace! This is proven by the account of a visitor to the whaling settlement of Arapawa in the year 1839, who wrote in his diary the island was “swarmed” with goats.

The goats thrived on the island for nearly two centuries until the 1970s when they were almost eradicated by a cull implemented by the Forest Service. As the goat is a non-native species, there is still a regular cull held by the department of conservation for the island.

Although the breed is prevalent on the island of Arapawa, there are very few elsewhere in the world. We discovered this ourselves when we began to try and source a male for our little female.

Our search was a long and difficult process, during which we were informed that there were only 2 available males in the UK. One was Davina’s father, and the other was a goat named Patrick. Having started his life at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Patrick was then living in a very unsettled cohabitation with a grumpy llama.

As a result of an altercation between Patrick and his room-mate, he was found to have an intermittent limp. Following an examination by our vet, we were pleased to hear that despite this issue, he is generally a happy and healthy male who was very able to carry out his duties as a mate to a suitable female.

Soon after we were able to introduce Patrick to our little girl Davina, who he was extremely happy to meet. It wasn’t long before the prospect of the little pitter patter of tiny, (and may I add, extremely rare) goat’s hooves was on the horizon.

Davina has been scanned and has been confirmed in kid, with a single baby on the way. We can’t wait to meet them and add a new Arapawa to the UK’s population!

Meet our Arapawa goats and other rare breeds at Mary Arden’s Farm.

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