pygmy goats

Vermillion County Fair 4-H member Brittany Lewis, 11, shows her pygmy goat Max-o-Man during showmanship judging Wednesday at the Vermillion County Fair in Cayuga, Ind.

First-year 4-H member Abby Austin has wanted to show pygmy goats since the first grade, when her teacher, Debbie Chew, sparked her interest in the small animals.

"I helped her at the fair that year," said Austin, 10, of Cayuga, Ind.

Austin is now the proud owner of 8-week-old Dori, and on Wednesday became beginner goat showman champion at the Vermillion County Fair at Cayuga.

Chew’s daughter, 16-year-old Bethany, also became interested in goats being around friends’ animals. Chew, this year’s reserve grand goat showman, is in her seventh year showing goats and says she enjoys her project because the pygmies are good companion animals.

"They’re really friendly," says Chew as she strokes her pygmy goat, Krissy.

Phillip Messer, president of the Indiana Boer Goat Association, says that pygmy goats are originally a choice meat and milk producing breed.

"As of late, they’ve turned into more of a hobby," he said. "Goats are more docile than any other show animal. They’re easy on the kids, and they don’t eat as much as cattle."

Messer says he looks for mass thickness and structural correctness when he’s judging a goat.

"For a meat goat, we’re looking at the amount of meat especially in the loin and rack area. Second we look for large hind legs as that’s another good source of meat," he said.

Brittney Lewis, 11, of Newport, Ind., says she studied the anatomy of goats while preparing her project and has been caring for 4-month-old pygmy goat, Max-o-Man, for about two months.

"Before the show, I washed him and brushed him, and gave him a little pep talk," she said.

FAST FACTS

The Vermillion County Fair ends Friday at the fairgrounds at the Cayuga Park.

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