They were barely 48 hours old. Two boys and a girl, three darling little baby goats. And their mother stayed near them, making sure all was well. And here I am, photographing these three little treasures. Wow.
Say hi to Wynken, Blynken and Nodiah, three new San Clemente Island goats at Mack Brin Farms in Ballston Spa. Mack Brin Farms is one of the only breeders of San Clemente Island goats in New York, and through their efforts, this heritage breed survives and thrives today.
And while multiple births are rather uncommon, the mother of these triplets was a multiple berth herself – she and three other does were born two years ago on the farm. “It was four girls in one birth, which is extremely rare,” Mack Brin Farms owner Julie Murray explained to me. “We named them ‘Peanut,’ ‘Butter,’ ‘Anne,’ and ‘Jelly,’ and they grew up on the farm here… and when Annie gave birth to triplets – two boys and a girl – we named the boys ‘Wynken’ and ‘Blynken,’ and their sister is ‘Nod’, although we’ve spelled it ‘Nodiah.’ Their names came from an old Carly Simon lullaby.'”
Some background on San Clemente Island goats. A breed with a docile disposition and striking horns that can span up to three feet from tip to tip, San Clemente Island goats once roamed feral on San Clemente Island, just off the coast of San Diego. In the 1980’s, the United States Government culled thousands of these animals to protect the survival of indigenous plants and foliage on the island. Several heritage livestock breeders moved in to save as much of the herd as they could. At one point in time, less than 250 San Clemente Island goats survived the government culling. Today, thanks to heritage and legacy farms like Mack Brin Farms, the breed has grown to over 500 does and bucks.
In addition to meeting these sweet little triplets, I also got up-close and personal with the farm’s sires. Chile, a San Clemente Island goat who joined Mack Brin Farms a few years ago, has sired over 20 new additions to the San Clemente Island herd, including producing the four doe quadruplets that were born on the farm in 2014. Essentially, he’s also the grandfather of the new triplets.
Chile’s sweeping horns are a distinctive trait of San Clemente Island goats, the horns grow back and then outward. At one point, though, Chile’s horns spread wide and far… but one of his horns was knocked off a few months ago, by another sire on the farm – Chile’s son Ransom.
And while Chile and Ransom do their part to extend the bloodline of San Clemente Island goats, the rest of the herd on Mack Brin Farms peacefully interact with the pigs, chickens and other animals across over 50 acres of land.
You can probably tell, dear blog readers, that I’m having a great time right now. Some of the goats are coming up close to me and letting me photograph them; others are giving me that distinct “You can take my picture for a few moments, but then I have to go” look.
But then it comes back to the triplets. They’re barely a few days old, and they’re already walking on the farm, they’re playing with each other, and they’re still bonded to their mother Annie. Two years ago, she was one of the four doe quadruplets; now she and Ransom have produced three of their own.
It should be noted that thanks to heritage breeders like Mack Brin Farms, these goats have survived the brink of extinction, and are now thriving. And I’m so glad I had the opportunity to photograph these amazing animals. I mean … come on, how can you not smile upon seeing these little babies?
For more information on San Clemente Island goats, visit either Mack Brin Farms’ website, or this website dedicated to the history, legacy and preservation of this breed.