18 June 2019
Is a goat your next family pet?
Meet Kate Thompson. She is an award-winning goat breeder who fell in love with the furry critters at a very young age.
It was her first Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) when a toddler-aged Kate spied the cute furballs in the animal pavillion. Little did she realise her curiosity would cause a whole lot of drama.
“At my first Ekka as a little tike, I got away from my parents,” Kate laughed. “They were frantic and went to the police and the police said they had just heard there was a toddler alone at the dairy goats. It was me. “My parents had passed the goats and gone on to look at other things and I went back to the goats.”
It was in that moment her parents realised she wouldn’t follow in the family’s footsteps. “It was destiny. My family were dairy cattle people so I deserted the dairy cows for the dairy goats,” Kate said. “I didn’t learn that story until I was an adult and when I got my first goats my father said, ‘I’ve been waiting for that to happen’.”
Kate’s love of dairy goats centres around their quirky personalities. “I just love dairy goats, I love their character, they give unconditional love,” she said. “Goats are great therapy, they are crazy little critters.” And she’s had them for more than 40 years.
“My husband and I hadn’t long been married and some goats were advertised and I said, ‘Oh look darling, there are some goats for sale’,” she said. “Needless to say, he thought it was going to be one or two goats in the backyard... I’ve been a registered dairy goat breeder for 35 years.”
According to Kate, the most important element of keeping goats is excellent fencing. “We tell people, don’t get a goat until you’ve got your fencing under control,” she said. “They need shelter and if you’ve got sheds for them, you’ve got to clean them out and that’s wonderful compost for the garden.
“It’s easy to keep a few goats in your backyard but if you’re wanting to have show quality animals, you have to put a lot of work into them. “They need a good quality hay and they have a grain ration as well. If you can look after a show horse, you’re looking at a similar feed routine for a goat.” And that’s exactly what she does with her fur-babies each year at the Ekka, and has for the past 20 years.
“I love showing my goats at the Ekka,” Kate said. “Coming from Charters Towers, it really is an epic packing job because you’ve got to pack so much stuff for the goats and you’ve got to pack for yourself but we wouldn’t miss the Ekka. “I love catching up with people that you don’t see from one Ekka to the next and meeting new people. “I love the atmosphere, and for me, coming from the country, it’s my chance to do a little bit of city shopping.”
You can find goats and their breeders in the Arrow Energy Animal Pavilion at this year's Ekka.