When two pygmy goat does gave birth to two sets of triplets, Spencer Kemp, 13, landed a new job on the family’s 10-acre small holding north of Killarney.
“I really help out with the feeding,” said Kemp. “One of the mothers had only two of her baby goats survive, and she rejected one of them. So I have to hold her up to the mom so she can drink while someone holds her. She’s the girl with the green ribbon around her neck.”
The Kemps just took over the care of the miniature goats’ moms this past year, so they are a new addition to their clutch of laying birds, some rare black Sumatra chickens and a pair of luxuriously softwoolled angora goats.
Kemp also volunteers one day a week after school at the local veterinary clinic in Killarney. He helps with sweeping, cleaning kennels, mopping up after the vets and walking the dogs that are in for longer-term treatment.
When he noticed a lump recently on the pygmy goats’ necks, he asked one of the doctors at the clinic what it might be, and learned that they were goiters, and that the animals probably needed iodine as a treatment. Now he supplies the goats with an iodine salt block as part of his caretaking duties in the goat house.
“I’ve been helping at the vets for about two months,” he said. “I’ll probably do it until the end of the school term. I just do it because I like it; it’s not for school or anything. And I learn things too.”
This knowledge may come in handy as he continues to care for the family’s baby goats.
–Kim Langen writes from