It’s May and Hope rather than Mary and Joseph, but temporary house hunters have pitched up at Hartpury this Christmas seeking a stall to get cosy in.
And with the new Bagot goats only booked in for a five-week stay as part of a breeding conservation programme, staff in Hartpury’s animal collection will be hoping they get friendly pretty fast!
The majestic Bagot is classified as endangered and considered a rare breed with only 150 breeding females left in the UK. Believed to be Britain’s oldest breed of goat the first record of the breed appears in documents from 1389! Although they have little agricultural use they make excellent conservation grazers.
Thanks to a partnership programme with St James’ City Farm in Gloucester and the Bagot Goat Society, Hartpury’s current Bagot residents, known as Demi and Cesar, have been joined by a buck, Bemborough Lad, and two young females, Hope and May, in the hope they will reproduce and help ensure a brighter future for the Bagot breed.
Hartpury’s animal collection manager, Aleksandra Lipinska, said: “It’s great to be actively working towards the conservation of a rare species at the college. This breeding programme will give students practical experience and an understanding of how organisations work together to promote the longevity of rare breeds.”