Updated: Sep 16
Our introduction to goats was at the Great Yorkshire Show in 1968. We were attracted to the Anglo Nubian because of the long pendulous ears, Roman nose and their very superior attitude. At this time we lived in a semi in Leeds so keeping goats was out of the question, we did however keep and breed hamsters, guinea pigs and budgies. A year later in 1969 we bought 2½ acre smallholding called Poplar Farm. (hence Poplartime)
We purchased our first AN type goat in 1970, this was through an advert in our local paper which read Two AN goatlings for sale £10 each, so off we went. Some months later we discovered the goats we had purchased were only HB, they looked like ANs. These two sisters Happylands Honeytan and Honeytrim were duly mated - Honeytan to Reedness Valentino who was by Buffcoates Mahogany our of Walnut Caramel. Valentino was cream coloured, the colour has persisted over 20 years and become synonymous with Poplartime goats. Honeytrim was mated to Malpas Maypole, she produced one dead kid and never got in kid again. Honeytan had two female kids, Polartime Princess and Patchwork. These were mated in their first year to provide us with our first ANs. Mother and daughters were mated to Nenevalley Apollo whose dam was R33 Walnut Whirl Q* between them they produced 5 female kids. This is when we started showing.
We entered our first show in 1972, the Yorkshire Male at Pannel, Harrogate. We came last in a class of 23 AOV kids. (Many of the shows at that time had no separate classes for ANs.) We liked the kids we had bred so arranged to have Apollo on loan. The following year we bought him and he stayed with us for some 10 years. The next two years we spent much time travelling the length and breadth of the country attending shows. Also in 1972 we joined the newly formed ANBS and travelled to attend the first AGM at Kidderminster where husband Mick was cast in the role of Vice Chairman. At that time it was agreed that a points system should be used to assess males entered in the Stud List. We volunteered as inspectors. The first males we had inspected belonged to Miss Lupton's herd, so a trip to Beechwood, Leeds was arranged. It was all rather daunting as this was an old established herd and we were rather new. We did our best, Zarano, Xakkusi and Banto were duly allotted points. Next came a trip to Halifax to Glen Everington's Highstones Impresario and Winkie Taverner's Cheswardine Mowgli then down to Han and Mrs Nixon's Comberbach Cactus and lastly across to Mrs Wilmot's Clanalpine Echo and Northdale Lordmerlin. It was very interesting to study the different males but eventually it was decided that to asses a males potential more importance should be placed on his dam, sisters and progeny.
About this same time we decided to go into pig breeding and egg production. With the build-up of our pig unit to 50 sows and a laying flock of 400 free range hens also a small amount of calf rearing, the goats began to take rather a back seat. We still had six milkers and some young stock but showing was definitely out of the question as we had very little time to spare. The pig and the poultry venture terminated in 1976 due to financial pressure (no money) pig prices as anyone who has kept pigs will know are very unstable. Next came major house alterations so still no time for showing. We did however travel to Great Yarmouth to purchase SM † Browston Eniskillen in 1979. It was after much perusal of the Herd Book that we wrote to Mr and Mrs Brooks about a male kid they had registered - he had been exported but Mrs Brooks wrote back to say his dam had been mated to † Chipping Couscous who was a grandson of Redgilll Hebe. We much admired Hebe having seen her take Best in Show at the 1974 & 1975 Breed Show and it was agreed that if a male kid was forthcoming then we would be interested. Thus Eriskillen was collected in May. Eriskillen remained with us for some 9 years. In the middle years when we had his daughters, we used a variety of Wayward males.
In 1981 we moved to Drax and also entered the show scene once more. It was quite entertaining to listen to the instruction and advice we the newcomers were given. Also in 1981 our first Breed Champion R136 Poplartime Godiva Q*2 BrCh was born, sired by Wayward Highspot, she was awarded 14 BCC's. In 1983 we bought Wayward Elana from Margaret and mated her to § 29/28 † Wayward Gullivar. She had just 1 male kid SM † Poplartime Illiad. Illiad sired some good milking daughters. Godiva's daughter RM134 Poplartime Ishtar Q*3 BrCh was burnin 1984 sired by Eriskillen, this was a grandfather to granddaughter mating as was that of RM156 Poplartime Jacinth Q*3 also SM § 136/26 † Poplartime Kritos BrCh. In 1985 we started milk recording with MMB, club recording was not available at the time. Ishtar's daughter RM199 Poplartime Kassandra Q*4 BrCh was born in 1988, in the same year R183 Stopford Fay Q* BrCh, RM191 Norbury Amber Q*1 BrCh and RM185 Norbury Candy Q*1 BrCh joined the herd. In the spring of '86 Fay came to the Northern Breed Show which I ran.
It was her first ever show and here she attained her Q8. I mentioned to Mrs Lewis Fay's owner that I liked Fay very much and that if she ever wanted to part with her, would she let me know. Mrs Lewis said she had a goatling daughter by CH Cr107/103 Anson Zulu BrCh that she was willing to sell, so Norbury Amber was duly purchased unseen, arrangements were made to collect her from Leicester Services. Later the same year Mrs Lewis's circumstances changed and so we were offered Fay but only on condition we had her daughter Candy as well. This was rather a major decision as we had several kids of our own (much arm twisting was done) but Fay and her daughter came to stay. With the crossing of our original Poplartime lines to Fay's daughters, we bred Fay's granddaughters CH AR234 Poplartime Nastasia Q*2 BrCh , DMAR169 Poplartime Natailia Q*2 BrCh and grandson SM §§ 191/185 † Poplartime Nizam BrCh these in turn went on to produce numerous excellent goats in fact many of today's champions and breed champions contain several of these lines.
In 1997 we moved to Adlingfleet, house alterations and antique fairs have taken precedence over goat showing. The goats are still here (far too many according to Mick) 12 to kid this year, 5 kids come to goatlings and 3 males. I have accompanied Mrs Earl to some shows this year and given a hand with some of the organisation. It is lovely to see old and new faces and of course all the different goats. Since we started goat-keeping in 1970 the AN's have improved dramatically in udders and milk yields but some now seem to be lacking in stature and head. I find this somewhat regrettable, me being very much a head person.
The breeding and showing of pedigree goats has declined at an alarming rate over the last 20 years and I feel if the present rules and regulations were ever relaxed then goat-keeping in this country could once again attain its former popularity.
Published in ANBS Newsletter Winter 2012
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