Hillside Dreams Callekno is very good at her job.
A purebred Saanen goat, she delivered sextuplets on her second delivery.
Merel Voth, co-owner of Hillside Dreams Goat Dairy with husband, Barrie, says Callekno delivered four baby goats the first time.
“While we have had some does give us quintuplets, to have sextuplets is quite amazing and extremely rare,” says Merel, noting the kids are now two weeks old and are all doing very well. “This is very unusual, she’s a good mother.”
Merel says on Sunday, Sept. 30, around 9 p.m., Barrie went out to the barn to do his regular night check where he found Callekno, with some of the babies already born.
He put the new babies under a heat lamp and helped the mother deliver the rest of her kids.
“We sometimes have many does that are due in one day,” says Merel, noting fall is not the normal time for babies to be born.
She says the quota system requires the dairy farm to provide milk in the winter too, so out-season breeding is necessary –something that is accomplished by eight resident bucks and artificial insemination.
“We have had over 400 babies this year and most of them do really well,” Merel says, noting selling their registered purebred Saanen goats are a big part of the business, with the goats going primarily to Alberta but also to Ontario. “We’re sold out for this year and almost sold out for next year as well.”
Merel says she and Barrie are passionate about their work.
“When my husband goes out to feed the goats, they see him as their shepherd, they’re very social.”
The Voths’ Salmon River Road goat dairy has about 350 dairy goats, with more on the way in a couple of weeks and the next big batch due to arrive in January.
All their milk goes to Happy Days Goat Dairy, about a kilometre along Salmon River Road and, from there, is available in most local grocery stores.
The Voths have owned the dairy farm since 2014. Merel is originally from Holland and Barrie came to the Interior from the Coast. In 2014, the couple moved to Silver Creek from Enderby where they operate their farm.
“My husband loves dairy farming and was working on one before,” says Merel, who also works off the farm as a social worker. “Most days we’re happy to be doing what we’re doing. We have two part-time employees, my husband is full-time and I do the paperwork.”