Mt. Vernon residents Gregg and Betty Starr are retired and have grown children, but they also have 11 “kids” at home — baby goats, that is.
One of their adult female Boer goats, named Blondie, recently gave the Starrs a shock when she gave birth to five kids, though one was stillborn.
“She had them all by herself — one outside the barn, then she went in and had three more, plus a stillborn,” Betty said.
Knowing goats usually have one to three kids per pregnancy, the Starrs were amazed Blondie had five at once.
Betty called John Day veterinarian Colleen Robertson to see what she thought.
“She had heard of it, but had never seen it,” Betty said.
Betty immediately named the four living kids using a “Star Wars” theme: Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan and Leia.
Gregg said his wife names all the kids, usually with biblical names, such as Ruth and Naomi, or after musicians, like Simon and Garfunkel.
“I’m the goat herder. She’s the goat woman,” Gregg said. “Betty feeds them, and she’s the main one with bottle feeding.”
He said they’ve been watching Blondie to make sure she’s feeding her kids properly.
The Starrs started raising goats to help keep their pastures trimmed down.
“We’ve had cows and horses, but they’re too big, and it hurts when they step on you,” Betty quipped.
Their goat herd started with three females and one male in 2013, and now they have 29 in all, including Boer and Kiko breeds.
They plan to trim the herd down by selling some this summer.
When asked why they enjoy raising goats, Betty said “They’re sweeter than any other animal.”
“They eat everything, and they have a personality that’s neat with them,” Gregg added. “To watch them jump and hop, they look like they’re little kids.”
“They’re fun to watch,” Betty said.