Typically, 4-H is a family affair. And who can resist a sweet pair of twins? When you put the two together, you have a recipe for success that’s as easy as...pie.
This year, at the Barton County Fair, siblings Katherine and Matthew Hicks entered a pair of Boer breeding doe twins named Coconut and Creampie in the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat competition Friday. They dominated the breeding goat 6-12 mos. doe category.
“They are absolutely almost identical,” judge Bill Toews said.
It was difficult to decide, and all parties had to agree there was little difference between sisters in this family affair.
Ultimately, he awarded Creampie, shown by Mathew, with the champion ribbon, and Coconut with the reserve champion ribbon.
The siblings each raise their own herd of goats, mom Heather Hicks said. She supplies the buck, but the kids do the planning and paperwork to make sure the goats are bred in time to have babies in the early part of winter so they are ready to show at the fair, she said.
Katherine also brought a trio of dairy goats to show. While they are still young, and have yet to be “freshened”, she has high hopes of delving into the craft of cheese making and soap making sometime next year when they are ready.
The milk will also come in handy for feeding baby goats with from their herd. Currently, the Hicks get goat milk from another 4-H family to feed the 1 mos.- old bottle fed doe Katherine showed in the 0-6 mos. class.
The family raises mostly meat goats at this time. Heather says goat meat is in demand in the eastern United States where there are concentrations of various middle eastern and hispanic populations. Outside of the United States, goat meat is the most eaten domesticated meat. Hicks has tried it and said it tastes similar to pork, and is has less fat and cholesterol than many other kinds of meat including beef and pork.
According to Toews, the goat category is here to stay, and he expects it to grow in the future. He’s had a herd of over 1,000 goats at one time, and knows the market well.
“There is demand for goat meat and that’s not going away either,” he said. “We sell some in Kansas, and many get shipped back east,” he said. “Depending on the holiday and the ethnicity of the market, there are different weights that suit different sorts of people and the time of year or the holiday will determine what the market price is.”
The Hicks also competed in showmanship, meat goats, and breeding does in the 0-6 mos. category.