They can be rude and intrusive. And they sometimes try to bite chunks of her hair out, despite being (contrary to popular belief) notoriously finicky eaters.
And yet, Miranda Brown still loves them.
If you think we are talking about problems with kids here, you are right — if you mean kids in the sense of young dairy goats.
“Each of the various breeds has its own stereotypical personality. But then each goat has an individual personality, of course. And they are a hoot,” said Brown, who began raising and showing dairy goats 19 years ago, at age 8. “The bottle-raised babies have a personality all their own as opposed to the [mother]-raised babies. The bottle-raised babies do not care about personal space. And they will nibble on everything. I have one who likes to try to rip my hair out while I’m clipping her. That’s why I am wearing a hat.”
Brown, who raises goats of the Nubian and La Mancha breeds, will be showing five entries at this year’s Stock Show Dairy Goat show, which begins Sunday at 9 a.m. in the Swine Arena and concludes Monday at the same time and place.
“I love this because it’s a vacation from work. I get to go to a show and enjoy the food,” said Brown, who is a manager at a Tractor Supply Co. store when she is not running the B13 Ranch in Rendon with her husband, Dusty.
Raising and showing goats hardly sounds like a vacation to an outsider. Brown said she has to milk her does twice a day by hand. And to prepare them for show, she has to fuss over every aspect of their appearance, from their hair to their udders.
“They even judge their toes,” said Brown, who has taken home a number of blue ribbons at the Stock Show. “They want tight toes.”
Indeed, the judging of the dairy goats seems extremely exacting. Brown said that the judges want to see “a correct doe,” which means one with “a long neck, a feminine-looking body and a straight, level, top line.” And all the while the judge is evaluating those traits, the exhibitors are also being judged on their showmanship abilities.
Brown concentrates on showing and is not one of the competitors who sells the milk her goats produce. But she said many breeders do, including some who operate like typical dairy cattle operations with large herds and stainless-steel milking machines.
When asked if there was anything more about dairy goats that the public should know, both Brown and the show’s superintendents had interesting answers.
“Actually, goats can be pretty picky eaters. They are not the junkyard grazers they are often made out to be. They prefer shrubs, woody vines and low tree limbs,” said dairy goat superintendent Holly Burke. “They will not even drink from dirty water buckets.”
“And they will not eat hay that has been on the ground,” said Valerie Russell, who, like Burke, has served as a goat superintendent at the Stock Show for 20 years.
Brown wanted to clear up something about the ears, or lack thereof, of a certain breed.
“Everybody asks, but we do not cut the La Manchas’ ears off,” said Brown, alluding to the breed that has sort of stubs where most goats have floppy ears. “Some people call them earless goats. That’s how they are born. My husband says we pickle them, but we do not.”
If you go
The Stock Show continues through Feb. 7 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center at West Lancaster Avenue and University Drive.
▪ Grounds admission: $10 for adults; $5 for children 6-16; free for children 5 and under
▪ Rodeo tickets: $25 on Friday nights and weekends; $19 on weekdays. Special rodeo events vary in price. Rodeo tickets are good for general admission to the Stock Show the same day.
▪ Advance tickets: The office, at 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; 817-877-2420.
▪ Parking: $8 per vehicle
▪ Weekend shuttles: For $1 each way from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority offers shuttle rides to the Will Rogers Memorial Center from Ridgmar mall (near Macy’s) in west Fort Worth and the Billy Bob’s Texas parking lot in the Stockyards.
▪ Information booths: In the main concourse of the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall and the Richardson-Bass Building. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Friday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday.
7:30 a.m. Southwest Intercollegiate, 4-H and FFA Dairy Cattle Judging Contest — Cattle Arena
8 a.m. Texas MADE Competition — French Room, Watt Arena
9 a.m. All-American Dairy Goat Show — Swine Arena
9 a.m. AQHA and NRCHA Working Cow Horse Classes — Justin Arena
9 a.m. Cowboy Church provided by Shepherd’s Valley Cowboy Church — Auditorium
9 a.m. Pigeon Show — Poultry Building
11 a.m. American Premier Boer Goat Show — Sheep Arena
12:30 p.m. Best of the West Invitational Ranch Rodeo Award Presentations — Coliseum
1 p.m. Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show Invitational Ranch Horse Show and Sale — Coliseum
2 p.m. Junior Agricultural Mechanics Awards Presentation — Equestrian Multi-Purpose Building
2 p.m. Super Regional Point Santa Gertrudis Cattle Show — Watt Arena
3 p.m. Ayrshire and Milking Shorthorn Dairy Cattle — Open Show — Cattle Arena
6 p.m. National Braunvieh Sale — West Arena
7:30 p.m. Best of Mexico Celebración — Coliseum
8 a.m. AQHA Quarter Horse Cutting Classes – Justin Arena
8 a.m. Southern Regional Brown Swiss All-American Qualifying Show and Guernsey Dairy Cattle – Open Show – Cattle Arena
9 a.m. Longhorn Cattle – TLBT Youth Division Show – Watt Arena
9 a.m. Southwestern Classic Dairy Goat Show – Swine Arena
11 a.m. Yellow Rose Classic Boer Goat Show – Sheep Arena
Noon Jersey Dairy Cattle – Open Show – Cattle Arena
2 p.m. Cowboys of Color Rodeo – Coliseum
2 p.m. APHA Paint Horse Cutting Classes – Justin Arena
4 p.m. Braford Cattle Show – Watt Arena
4 p.m. Southwest Regional Holstein Dairy Cattle – Open Show – Cattle Arena