Campers who stay at the park from Spring Break through Earth Day may get a chance to bottle feed a new generation of Nubian dairy goats
LARKSPUR, Colorado – The Grenier family can hardly wait for Spring Break. Not only because they get to go camping at the Jellystone Park campground , but because the timing might work out to bottle feed the park’s newest members – a new generation of Nubian dairy goats! “The goats have roped us in!” exclaimed Lisa Grenier of Castle Rock, whose five children have become enamored of Jellystone’s goats, particularly her 12-year-old daughter, who got a chance to trim the hooves of one of them last fall.
Several Castle Rock families, in fact, are staying in close contact with Jellystone Park owner Ian Steyn regarding the park’s new arrivals. “We’re really looking forward to going there and bottle feeding the baby goats,” said Jennifer Sturgeon of Castle Rock, who has taken her two boys, ages 6 and 9, to the park several times in recent months to interact with some two dozen goats that live on the property.
Steyn brought what he thought were 24 male goats to his campground last year after a local dairy goat farmer expressed remorse over having to butcher the males, since they couldn’t produce as much milk. But Steyn later discovered that four of the goats were “mis-sexed,” and he wound up with four doelings, who later became pregnant does that are about to give birth.
But since Steyn bottle-fed all of his goats from infancy, the animals are unusually tame, companion goats that interact gently with guests, sometimes even jumping on their laps like cats or dogs. “They’re great entertainment for the kids, and they’re just fun to watch,” Sturgeon said, adding that they can also be trained to go hiking. “You can put a pack on them and they’ll go hiking with you.”
In addition to providing entertainment for children, Steyn uses the goats to naturally maintain and fertilize the grass on the campground’s 2-mile long disc golf course. He also uses the does to educate park guests about the benefits of goat’s milk and the cheese that’s produced from it, which is called “chevre.” In fact, the park frequently holds classes for guests who want to learn how to milk a goat and make various products from it, including cheese, butter, ice cream, pudding and goat soap.
Guests also help with bottle-feeding, since young goats need to be fed three times a day. Some guests have even adopted some of the goats, and care for them on a regular basis. “We use the goats to tow sleds in the winter, and in summer, they tow little carts that the kids can ride,” Steyn said.
Close to 20 goats are expected to be born at the Jellystone Park at Larkspur around the time of spring break and will need to be bottle fed for several weeks, potentially until Earth Day. For more information about the goats and other family activities and attractions at the Jellystone Park in Larkspur, visit www.jellystonelarkspur.com.