“They were getting a little bit fatter than we expected.”

That’s how Hay River’s Northern Farm Training Institute discovered a tiny, cute problem: surprise baby goats.

Animal manager Thomas Schenkel bought a dozen cashmere goats, prized for their wool, from a woman in British Columbia late last year.

Schenkel brought them back to Hay River completely unaware that he was actually getting more than he had bargained for: many of them were pregnant.

“After a couple of months, we realized they were unusually large,” Schenkel admitted to Moose FM.

“We realized we were going to have some unexpected babies. So we’ve been scrambling here for the last month, building extra shelters, cleaning out the hardware stores of heat lamps and anything we can find to accommodate these new arrivals.”

Goats

More goats. Photo: NFTI

By Monday afternoon, nine baby goats had emerged. One of the farm’s French Alpine goats added to the mix with triplets of her own, and there are also newborn Nubian goats on site.

Schenkel said more goats were due “any hour”.

“They’re actually going to be a welcome addition,” he told us. “We wanted to increase the numbers regardless.

“It’s just that dealing with newborns in January, at this latitude, is not the optimal way to bring animals into the world. But we need all the numbers we can get and so we’re happy to have them.”

Cashmere goats are prized for their wool. Schenkel says the farm also expects the goats to be good at clearing land and to produce a “good, nicely flavoured” meat.