It will be a bleating good time.
San Clemente Island goats, Mulefoot pigs and a Newfoundland pony are some of the rare breeds of heritage baby animals that will be on display this month at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth.
End of the Road Farm in Berwick, Maine, is where breeder John LaPierre and his wife, Lisa, raise the goats. There are only about 850 known Sam Clemente goats in the world, and they are listed as a critically endangered heritage breed on the Conservation Priority List by The Livestock Conservancy in North Carolina.
The animals are thought to be descendants of goats brought to the Channel Islands of California by Spanish missionaries and settlers. They remained feral until the United States Navy sought their removal, according to Wikipedia.
LaPierre has a set of twin boy goats who are about a month old and a two-week-old boy goat who is almost as big as the two others. He said they are already getting themselves into mischief.
LaPierre found one on his porch Tuesday morning.
“They like to get out and see what kind of trouble they can get in,” LaPierre said.
Exhibit Curator Peter Cook said it is important for people to interact with these rare heritage breeds because there are so few in the world and they can be saved if people start breeding them to create food and other products for humans.
Cook used the example of the Mulefoot pig, saying there are less than 500 in the world. They are also critically endangered.
“We have to eat them to save them. We have to sell them for food, pork, to create a market, so it’s an interesting dynamic,” Cook said.
Cook, who owns Tare Shirt Farm in Berwick, Maine, with his wife Nancy, is a heritage breeder himself. He has Lincoln Longwool sheep and says he plans to bring them to the exhibit in Portsmouth for people to see. He is expecting the arrival of some baby sheep any day now.
“I’m designing an exhibit and what’s on display hasn’t been born yet,” Cook joked.
More than a dozen heritage breeds of baby animals will be at Strawbery Banke from April 20 to 28. The event will take place under a tent on museum grounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 17 and free for children under 5. Military families can go for free, and Strawbery Banke members receive half-price admission.
For more information, visit www.strawberybanke.org.