Up goat and personal

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Southside Road couple get milk, happiness and friends from pair of goats

It’s not every day you see a pair of goats being walked through the streets of downtown St. John’s.

But then again, it’s not every day you meet a couple quite like Steve and Lisa McBride.

The Vancouver natives moved to Newfoundland for its affordability. They bought a house on Southside Road. But it was actually the increasing cost of food that made them consider getting a goat.

“It started last year around this time, I think. The price of milk went up by 50 cents,” says Steve.

Gone to the goats

As kind of a joke, they started talking about getting a goat. That joke soon became a reality when they began to research the idea and learned that goats are actually comparable in personality to the king of family companions, dogs.

Intrigued, the couple started goat shopping.

A pair of goats was brought to their door for a mere $300.

They may have been bought for their milk, but this pair of goats knows how to milk a camera shoot for all it’s worth.

The pair know their names, are leash trained, will give a hoof if asked for one and will even stand up on their hind hooves.

And yes, one of them is currently producing milk.

A litre a day, actually, extracted with a hand pump attached to a mason jar.

Steve and Lisa have never owned any livestock. The first time they tried to milk their goat — that time by hand — it was not quite as productive.

“We squat down there. We got a table spoon and we’re both like sluuuuurrrrp. Sharing it,” Lisa says, laughing.

The milk can be enjoyed right out of the goat or it can be heated on the stove to pasteurize.

The couple also makes cheese and yogurt.

“Fresh milk compared to store-bought milk is amazing,” says Steve. “Some people say (goat’s milk) has a slightly stronger taste.”

The goats live in a shelter up a steep hill in the couple’s backyard. City bylaws allow them to live within St. John’s limits and an inspector has been by to make sure the animals are being cared for properly.

Self-sufficient

Steve and Lisa have been learning a lot about being self-sufficient. The goats are only part of the story. There are also domestic ducks in their backyard for eggs. They grow their own vegetables and they even have maple trees tapped along Southside Road to make their own syrup.

But Goldie and Maple steal this show, especially when they join Steve and Lisa on a walk about the city, including the bustling streets of downtown.

“Sometimes we stop traffic,” says Lisa. “I don’t think you can meet a single person that doesn’t smile. Everybody loves goats.”

The goats even join the pair on 20-kilometre hikes on the East Coast Trail, where the leashes are put away and the goats follow along like any well-trained dog.

They eat pretty well anything — grass, table scraps and even the remnants of a Christmas tree alongside the house.

Steve and Lisa aren’t sure what they’ll try next in their oath of becoming more self-sufficient. But they say having goats in the city has brought the community together. They know all their neighbours and every walk involves making new friends.

All thanks to Goldie and Maple.

To see the Facebook page, look up “Goldie & Maple, the Southside Goats.”

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Southside Road, Vancouver, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Earl
    February 04, 2014 - 10:32

    Grandma, if you're concerned about stench (which is due to fertilization), talk to those who don't pick up after their dogs. Gotta walk with your head down most of the time to avoid it!

  • joe
    February 03, 2014 - 01:23

    Check out the duck in the background watching. Quack Quack!!. haha

  • Mel
    February 02, 2014 - 20:32

    These people could teach us all something. The ferry shuts down for a few days and the grocery stores start to empty. We need to become far more self sufficient that we are right now. I wish I could squeeze a couple of goats on my tiny lot.

  • Nice to have you here Steve and Lisa McBride
    February 02, 2014 - 20:31

    Steve and Lisa McBride it is nice having you in our province and your goats are spectacular. Personally I think goats are very personable, intelligent and delightful animals and besides they provide you with nutritious milk . Maybe we should all get a pair of goats to offset the ridiculous price of milk in our province. In British Columbia milk is one item that is much cheaper than it is in Newfoundland and Labrador, matter of fact, what I pay for 2 liters of Milk in St. John's NL cost as much as 4 liters of milk in British Columbia. Yes 100 per cent more than BC. I know because I spend a month in BC every year with my grandchildren. But housing is close to 60 per cent more in Vancouver. Thanks folks for sharing your wonderful way of living, it is a Great story!

  • Really?
    February 02, 2014 - 19:28

    Who cares if they have livestock in the city? You wouldn't know if they had a farm in their yard. It's a couple of goats! Who are they hurting?

  • thomas
    February 02, 2014 - 18:45

    Grandma. there are not enough animals in the goulds and kilbride to make that smell. its from the liquid faeces they spray on the grazing fields. as for the goats? spot on. if salvador dali could walk.around paris with a leashed anteater a couple of goats in town is great.

  • Stephen
    February 02, 2014 - 16:58

    @Jeremiah: According to the city animal control bylaw (#1514), "Animal means all species of fauna excluding humans, fish and aquatic invertebrates". So the bylaw doesn't appear to be species-specific, meaning any domestic animal would be treated the same for the purpose of complaints against the act. This means a complaint to the city would be about the noise, or smell, whether the animal got loose, whether it has proper shelter, etc. rather than what type of animal it is. Sounds pretty progressive, actually. It treats animals based on how they behave and how they're kept by their owners rather than the broad brush of what species it is, since the entire act would apply to any animal kept on residential property. The size restrictions outlined in the act mean you would only be able to keep two or so midsized or larger animals anyways, so we won't have to worry about herds popping up all over the neighborhood!

  • Roolah
    February 02, 2014 - 16:57

    What an inspiration! The McBride's seem like a lovely couple, and gosh, those goats are some darn cute!!!!

  • Marie
    February 02, 2014 - 12:45

    I loved meeting these two on the trails! They're so friendly and clean

  • Robin
    February 01, 2014 - 17:21

    Children, fear the Goat!

  • Patrick
    February 01, 2014 - 15:22

    WOW this is great...good job you guys

  • jeremiah
    February 01, 2014 - 12:44

    So, could a person keep a cow in their back yard or a pony or some sheep? Curious.

  • Rob
    February 01, 2014 - 11:00

    That's not a Baaaaad Idea! Priceless!

  • Brian Carey
    February 01, 2014 - 10:00

    The goats are great and the couple just lovely!

  • grandma
    February 01, 2014 - 08:28

    Isn't it against city regulations to keep live stock in the city? While I love animals we would be in a sorry state if many decided to get a laying hen or two, maybe a lamb or sheep thrown into the mix. Then again maybe the couple live in agricultural part of the metro area. Though God knows you can't leave your car windows open driving through Kilbride in summer, pretty as the area is. The stench can be smelled down to Water St.