Goat farms gaining in popularity in county

Randy and Cynthia Jennings are quickly becoming popular breeders of goats on their Rockin J Farm in rural
Bowling Green.
After only a few years in the business, he said last year’s success at the Ohio State Fair, when one of
the goats they sold earned reserve champion honors, helped put them on the map. They also sold this
year’s grand champion market goat at the Wood County Fair. Other goats additionally performed well at
other fairs and shows.
The family became involved with the Boer goats through 4-H projects for their children.
"The family fell in love," she said. "So instead of spending hundreds of dollars we are
now spending thousands."
Their youngest child, Heidi, is a freshman at Eastwood High School where she is a member of the FFA
chapter. She is also active in the Blue Ribbon Rangers 4-H Club. Two older brothers, Aaron, 25, and
Allen, 23, are no longer at home on the farm.
"She would rather work with the goats than go to school," her mother said.
"She’s a godsend," Dad added of her value to the farm. "She’s one of a few people who can
say she rode to Texas to look for goats."
They traveled to the Lone Star State when they were expanding their herd.
He explained when the goats first came to the United States, they were originally in Texas and Oklahoma.

"There are super high-quality goats there," he said.
Interestingly, dad knows the goats primarily by their ear tag numbers, while his daughter has names for
many of the herd.
While the Boer goats traditionally have red heads and white bodies, there are now a wide variety of
colors and mixes.
"You can get red, black, dapples and painted. There are all sorts of variations in color and
muscling," he said.
In addition to selling for fair projects, the farm has been selling breeding stock for the last two
years.
They have discovered the need to start their breeding process earlier in the year as the more muscular
animals they are seeking grow slower.
Randy Jennings explained that around this area most of the goats are shown at around eight months old or
slightly younger. In the south, the animals will not be shown until at least nine months old or up to a
year.
The family also sells market goats, primarily in the Dearborn, Michigan, area where there is a heavier
Muslim population.
"There is a big market there, especially around Muslim holidays," he said.
The goats sold for youth to show at the fair are wethers or does. The does are allowed to show with horns
and the farm generally leaves the horns on them.
"They make good handles for the kids to grab onto to hold and control the goat," he said.
The family shared how the popularity of goats is growing, siting the ease, economics and virtues of the
goat.
"They are smart," Randy said, as shown by the goats heading to the barn when just a few
raindrops fell during our visit. He also spoke of their tendency to be fairly easy to handle and work
with.
For those who want a goat for a project, Cynthia said, "It’s a smaller animal you can keep in your
back yard and it won’t break your bank."
She noted feed costs are minimal when they can stay on pasture.
The farm has an average herd of around 40 does with two bucks to service the herd. Their hooves are
generally trimmed twice a year.
Coyotes are regularly seen in the area of the farm. To combat the predator, the family has a Great
Pyrenees dog who patrols the pasture at night.
"She’s worth her weight in gold," Randy said of the young dog. "She’s up all night walking
the perimeter."