Lurgan petting farm’s rare goats die after overfeeding by visitors

Three rare-breed goats have died after being overfed by families visiting a conservation farm in Co Armagh.

he Bagot goats were a major attraction at Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm in Lurgan, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The farm is the only Rare Breeds Survival Trust-approved conservation farm park in Ireland.

The death of the goats prompted the local council, which runs the award- winning centre, to ban visitors from feeding any animals.

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council described the loss as “significant”.

“Sadly, the farm recently lost three of its cherished Bagot goats due to them being overfed inappropriate food, representing a significant loss to the numbers of this vulnerable breed and not least a huge blow to the devoted and dedicated farm hands who tend to and care for the animals,” they said.

“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is asking visitors to its award-winning Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm that they must not feed the animals at this time to ensure the health and welfare of the remarkable creatures in their care.”

The farm is home to a wide range of rare and vulnerable breeds including Irish Moiled, Dexter and Shetland cattle, Galway and Jacob sheep, Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, a Connemara pony and a large variety of poultry and waterfowl, as well as the Bagot goat herd.

As the special livestock have their own unique and tailored dietary plans, visitors are warned that overfeeding the animals or giving them unsuitable food can make them sick or kill them.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Lord Mayor Kevin Savage said: “Visitors can be assured the animals will be fed the appropriate food daily by the farm staff.

“They are still welcome to engage and interact with these wonderfully unique and award-winning animals.”

The ban on feeding is temporary and will be reviewed.

Bagot goats are classified as vulnerable by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, which means there are only 200 to 300 breeding females in the UK.

The breed is believed to date back as far as 1387, when King Richard II sat on the English throne.

Sunday Life

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