Nazi-threatened goat goes on show in Perth

Ayra, the Golden Gurnsey goat, with Lucy Gibson, 4, from Denny. Picture. Ian Georgeson

Ayra, the Golden Gurnsey goat, with Lucy Gibson, 4, from Denny. Picture. Ian Georgeson

2
Have your say

ANIMAL lovers will get the rare chance to see a breed of goat almost made extinct by the Nazis.

Without the intervention of brave Miriam Mildbourne, the Golden Guernsey would have been eaten into extinction by hungry soldiers.

German forces occupied her home island of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, on June 30, 1940 and running short of food as a result of Royal Navy blockades, the Nazis took to eating the pretty, golden-coated goats.

Determined not to let the Nazis eat her herd, and risking execution if discovered, Miss Milbourne hid a small group of her goats from the troops.

• READ MORE: Bees have distinct personalities to find nectar, study reveals

She eventually used the remaining animals to establish a breeding programme which resulted in it eventually coming out of “critical” status, although it remains on the Watch List of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Only 1000 breeding female Golden Gurnsey goats remain in the world and a rare herd will be on display at the Perth Show this weekend.

Owner Avril Garrett, from Glenfarg, devotes her time to keeping the breed alive and has spent the last 14 years growing the heard.

Helped by husband Robert and daughter Lisa, they will offer a rare chance to see more than a dozen of the animals in one place.

• READ MORE: Help save Scotland’s vanishing fruit orchards

Although they are only showing seven goats they do not plan on separating mothers from kids for the event, meaning they will have a total of 16 with them.

Avril, a retired photographer, said she had become involved with the breed by accident after spotting an advert in the paper.

“I just wanted a pet goat,” said the 55-year-old. “I ended up with two Golden Guernseys but I didn’t know one goat from another.

“We don’t breed them every year but we have 10 babies this year. It’s so difficult to get a male – we had to go to Caithness to get one. There’s not many people breed them in Scotland unfortunately.

“Because there are so few of them people are having to search far and wide to find ones that aren’t related. I sold a male years ago to a lady in Northumbria and last year when I was looking for a male I found I had shot myself in the foot because all the males in the north of England were all related to him.

Like The Scotsman on Facebook

DOWNLOAD THE SCOTSMAN APP ON ITUNES OR GOOGLE PLAY

Back to the top of the page