Rescued goats quickly multiplying at Alaqua

Nathan Cobb | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunNate | nathan@waltonsun.com

In preparation for Hurricane Michael, Alaqua Animal Refuge took in more than 170 goats from a Callaway resident.

However, refuge staff and volunteers quickly realized that the majority of them were or are now pregnant, and Laurie Hood, the Alaqua's founder, said they're finding new babies each morning.

"We've probably had, easy, 25 babies by now," Hood said, who added that the females and males weren't separated when they got them. "Half obviously were females, so we anticipate that the majority of those females are pregnant."

Dr. Amy Williams, a staff veterinarian for Alaqua, said the hardest thing they've had to deal with is turning Alaqua into something it wasn't originally planned to be.

"The difficulty has been creating a goat place, because we haven't had any large numbers of goats," Williams said. "We've got to create a facility that we didn't have, on the place that we've already had."

Hood said that when the goats arrived, some were visibly pregnant. They expected some of the other goats to be as well, but didn't expect anything like this.

"I have no idea, other than the ones that are obvious," Hood said when asked how many goats are currently pregnant. "I would imagine that a great number of them are. They can get pregnant as early as a few moths old, we hear. ... We could be having babies until March."

She said caring for the goats has been a little overwhelming because all of them have to be vaccinated, given medical care and put into their system, but that things are running smoothly and the goats are doing well — other than a few with pregnancy complications.

Williams added that for the most part the goats are friendly and smaller, which she said is what people look for when adopting them as a pet.

Once the goats are vaccinated, dewormed and declared healthy, they'll be available for adoption.

Hood said the goat's previous owner put a few on a construction site, which grew into almost 200 over several years — since gestation for goats is only about 150 days.  

As of now, the goats are roaming Alaqua's horse pasture, and the staff is helping them get healthy and ready for adoption.

"We're looking forward to finding them good homes where they can have lots of pasture and lots of places to do what they do best," Hood said.