Thursday, March 31, 2011

Five of a kind: Parma Township teenager's goat produces rare litter

Source: Jackson Citizen Patriot / Mlive.com

This spring is going to be a little busier for the Snyder family. The Snyders, who have a collection of backyard pets — including a pig, a duck, chickens and goats — at their Parma Township home, welcomed quintuplets of the hoofed persuasion last week. The foot-tall, week-old, knobby-kneed “kids” bounded and leaped, twisting in the air, screaming anguished bleats at their mother, Starlight. The goat gave birth March 18 to the five kids, an unusually high number.

Goats typically have one or two kids in a litter, said Emily Snyder, 17, who raised Starlight and bred her for a 4-H competition this spring.But, she said, winning a competition isn’t why she raises goats.“It’s more about having fun,” said Snyder, “I like having babies grow up on the farm.” And babies she’ll have. Sunny, Lucy, Audrey, Moon and Dmitri will spend the spring and summer months grazing in a grassy paddock behind the Snyders’ home. Snyder said she plans to pursue a veterinary degree in college because of her love of animals.

She heard about the birth via text message from her father, Mike, during English class, she said. Her classmates read “Huckleberry Finn” while she studied the screen on her phone for updates. “I almost screamed in the middle of class I was so excited,” she said. Snyder said she had no idea Starlight would have five kids and was happily surprised all were healthy. Emily’s father said Starlight didn’t have any babies last year. “But she sure made up for it this year,” said Mike Snyder, who has been supportive of the growing brood since his now 21-year-old son started taking goats to the fair at age 9.

The Snyders now have 21 goats, which is more than Mike Snyder would like. “We’ll probably have to give some away, but for now, we’re enjoying watching them jump around,” he said.