Tuesday 23 October 2018

Meet This and That – the rare geep offspring of a goat and ram romance

Daisy popped next-door for a week-long tryst with a Cheviot and five months later, the twins were born.

This and That on Angela Bermingham's farm in Ireland. (Brian Lawless/PA)
This and That on Angela Bermingham's farm in Ireland. (Brian Lawless/PA)

By David Young, Press Association

An extremely rare set of healthy twin geep – sheep/goat hybrids – are proving more than a handful for their shocked owner.

Angela Bermingham, from Bury, Manchester, is getting to grips with the pair who arrived unexpectedly five months after her pet nanny goat Daisy had a week-long tryst with a Cheviot ram in an adjoining field.

Ms Bermingham, who lives in Claremorris in Co Mayo, has christened her new pets This and That, as it neatly encapsulates their genetic make-up – a bit of this and a bit of that.

“They never separate, they are just like little kids, they like playing and jumping up and down,” she said, pointing out their extra-long “tree trunk” legs.

She said: “They are like deer and they are very, very fast.

“They can clear any fence. They were jumping off the window sill at three weeks old and thinking nothing of it.

“So I’m thinking I’ve got my work cut out here, a rod for my own back now.”

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Angela Bermingham with This and That (Brian Lawless/PA)

Romantic liaisons between sheep and goats only rarely produce viable offspring.But Ms Bermingham insists there is no other explanation for the six-week-old twins, as they share characteristics of both types of animal.

She said she had her suspicions Daisy and the ram were something more than friends when she relocated to his field last autumn.

The ram had already done some ground work with a few incursions into her garden to visit Daisy.

“They were together for a week,” she said.

Five months later came the shock arrivals.

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Daisy, second right, with her twin geep (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I came in one night and she comes over to the car when I pull up and this little one just popped out from behind her, just one,” said Ms Bermingham.

“So I had a look around in the barn – heard something but couldn’t see nothing.

“Anyway I put them to bed and locked them in, went to bed, got up the next day and there’s two of them. This and That.

“It was a shock. How she carried them I don’t know because they were massive.”

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Angela Bermingham said Daisy took a shine to a ram (Brian Lawless/PA)

Michael Holmes owns the farm where the amorous encounter unfolded last year and his son owns the father ram.

As a former chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association National Sheep Committee, Mr Holmes has no doubt they are geep.

“Unless it was miracle, because there’s no other buck goat or he goat near them, so there wasn’t anyone else it could be,” he said.

He said in all his years looking at sheep and goats across Europe this is first time he has seen a geep.

“This is the first time I’ve come across it,” said Mr Holmes.

“What I’m told is it is rare for a geep to be born alive, and it’s even more rare for a set of twins to be born alive but for them to be healthy and live on is, I’m told, totally unheard of.

“And they are very healthy – they look in great shape.”

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It is rare for geep to be born healthy and thrive (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Bermingham was an inadvertent goat owner in the first instance, with a friend having originally lent her Daisy to help with the gardening.

“He lent me Daisy, the mother of the geep, to cut my nettles and he ended up giving her to me as a Christmas present two years ago,” she said.

And what of the geeps’ first meeting with their father?

Ms Bermingham says it is only a matter of time.

“I presume he’ll be back,” she said.

Press Association

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