Baby dwarf goats steal the show at Open Farm Day

Apr 20, 2024

What could be cuter than a dozen Nigerian Dwarf goat babies? Each weighing only 10 pounds, the 8-week-old babies, or “kids” as farmers call them, pranced about and nibbled on hay as children and adults crowded round to pet and cuddle the miniature farm animals. 

The goats were a special treat for Round the Bend Farm’s first Open Farm Day of 2024, which saw over 200 people who came out despite the rainy weather on Saturday, April 20. 

Of West African origin, Nigerian Dwarf goats are barely two feet tall and weigh only 80 pounds when they’re full grown. Humble Hands Farm, based in Taunton, provided the goats that are generally used for their milk and landscaping on account of their insatiable appetite for weeds and grass. 

But the goats had an appetite for more than just hay. They chewed on any shoe laces, clothing or even hair that got too close to their greedy mouths. Among the people to crowd into the petting zoo was Marion resident Dan Burgo and his two-year-old daughter Isabella Burgo. 

“It’s been wonderful getting to know the animals and agriculture here,” Dan said. 

Round the Bend Farm produces fruits and vegetables while also providing educational workshops and field trips for children and families. 

The farm also provides healthy meals to families in need through its Manifest Love program, which was established during the pandemic to provide food to vulnerable families in New Bedford. 

Desa Van Laarhoven, executive director and co-founder of Round the Bend Farm, said the farm’s main focus is educating the youngest generation on the importance of being good stewards of the land.

“Being connected to nature is really important, and I think most parents know that,” Laarhoven said. 

Elements Learning Collaborative, a non-profit that offers nature-based education for children and families, set up a booth for identifying native plants, which can be used in everything from brewing tea to treating bee stings. 

“Tea is generally a great way to get the nutritional benefits from plants,” said Rachel Medeiros, co-founder of the Elements Learning Collaborative. 

The more people learn about native plants and their benefits, the more likely people are to be considerate of how they treat the environment, Medeiros said. 

“I think it helps for people to have that knowledge because then you’re more able to see the value that it provides and therefore protect the land,” Medeiros said.

Cristy O’Brien, the other co-founder of the Elements Learning Collaborative, said that identifying native plants is just one more way that children can take ownership of their environment.

“The kids love the empowering essence of being able to ID them on their own and forage them on their own,” O’Brien said. “It’s something really beautiful that we can teach the kids.”