September 5, 2019.
The annual shows are set to burst again with colour and entertainment across the Fleurieu Peninsula and people of all ages and backgrounds can be assured of a wonderful time.
There will be the agricultural and horticultural competitions, cake and craft prizes, demonstrations, in some cases horse trials, and breeders gaining an enormous sense of pride – and bragging rights when they pick up a blue ribbon. Of course, there are the displays, sideshows and tempting donuts. It all makes a great show.
However, the show doesn’t go on without the legion of volunteers, many of whom are conveners who actually live and breathe their show passion all year round as a stakeholder in their specific field or industry. Meet Megan Miller, a convener in the miniature and pygmy goat competitions at the Strathalbyn and Port Elliot shows in October.
Megan fell in love with miniature goats, which can stand 52cm compared with some normal goats at 75cm, and with husband Shane and help from their other sons Ethan, 11, and Lucas, nine, now runs the Briar Rose Miniature Goat Stud at Hindmarsh Valley.
And so their show trail began – during August Megan was at the Gawler show, this month at the Royal Adelaide Show, October it’s Strathalbyn, Port Elliot, Callington, and come November she will travel to Penola and Ballarat. Success? It was two years ago that she won every prize there was for miniature goats at the Royal Adelaide Show so she donated most of the trophies back.
However, as much as success is important for her stud farm business – in between their family business Cool Cat Transport Pty Ltd – Megan said all of the work, spending thousands of dollars a year and lucky to break even, plus the countless hours she spends doting on her goats is not about personal glory but her love for miniature goats.
“I get enormous pleasure showing the goats and being a convener because I experience the reaction of people – especially the children – when they come in and look at them,” Megan said. “This is what a show is also about; for many it is a rare time they can see and get up close to the animals, birds and poultry on show.
“I had always been fascinated by goats, but four years ago I didn’t even know that miniatures were around. We stumbled across them and we thought, wow, we’ve got to get some of these. We started with two and now we have more than 50.
“We have a big team of 20 that we entered in the Royal Adelaide Show this year, and our children show them as well.”
And get a load of this – Shane and Megan are hosting on their property the biggest bucks show ever seen here. But guys, don’t get excited. It’s the National Bucks Show for miniature goats on November 23 with the president of the Goat Industry Council of Australia John Falkenhagen as the judge.
Megan estimates there are almost 400 registered breeders of miniature goats including 20 in South Australia, but most have only two or three in the backyard as pets. “They are very popular at B&Bs; they love them,” she said.
“We milk them, and also make cheese from them. We breed and sell, which helps refund the cost of a half a tonne of grain, the $3000 worth of hay and the blood testing that we do throughout the year which is another $2000.
“A young miniature goat can sell for $300, but a well-bred doe may fetch $1000-plus. We have genetics from all over Australia. We picked up a little boy (buck) from Tassie last year because we are looking for structure.
“It is not hard when I sell the babies because I have a lot of enquiries and they end up in good homes. But the mums, well, that’s hard. I was there for their birth, I bottle fed them. We have been through so many things together. When you sell an adult that you know intimately and their whole personality, that’s when it’s hard. However, you can’t keep new stock and improve your herd without moving some on.”
If you haven’t guessed, Megan treats her kids as if they were her other kids, including 20-month-old Jamie. Dear Faith and Dora (they’re goats) follow this little tacker around the back yard.
And you won’t be surprised Megan has names for her 50-plus goats and they come to her when she calls their name.
“All of the descendants are from Edna so she has secured her place here forever,” Megan said. “May has a lot of personality; dear thing she is.
“I can honestly say that deep down all of these goats are gorgeous, sweet-loving, good natured, and loving beautiful souls.”
And this includes old Carman. She’s the oldest here at 15. She has no teeth, and Megan admits she can be “a cranky old bag” at times. But she still loves her, as she does Gandalf the Grey who was three weeks old, and old Randall, who glares at all the does from across the road and can’t wait for the big bucks night.
The shows are coming…
YANKALILLA, OCTOBER 5
The Yankalilla, Rapid Bay & Myponga Agricultural & Horticultural Society presents its 137th show at the Yankalilla Showgrounds, South Rd on Saturday, October 5, 9am-4pm. Adults $10, pensioners/children 5-15 $5. Visit: www.yankshow.com.au
STRATHALBYN, OCTOBER 6&7
The Strathalbyn Agricultural Society presents a horses-in-action show on Sunday, October 6 at the Strathalbyn Polo Grounds, and the 149th Strathalbyn Show on Monday, October 7 from 10am-4.30pm at the Sports Oval Grounds, Coronation Rd from 10am-4pm. Adults: $10; pensioners/children: $5; family (2 adults & 3 child.) $25. Visit: www.strathalbynshow.com.au
PORT ELLIOT, OCTOBER 12&13
The Southern Agricultural Society presents the 141st Port Elliot Show at the Port Elliot Showgrounds, Cameron St on Saturday, October 12, 9am-5pm & Sunday, October 13, 9am-4pm. Adult $12, w/end pass $20, pensioner/student $8, children 8-16 $5. Visit: www.portelliotshow.com.au