Mattapoisett farm acquires rare goats via Craigslist

Jan 20, 2018

There are a lot of hidden treasures on Craigslist. Rarely, though, does one happen across rare livestock.

However, this is exactly what happened to the Paine family when they found rare Arapawa goats online. Even before ending up at Pine Meadow Alpacas farm in Mattapiosett, via a Craigslist deal, the Arapawa goats had an interesting story.

In 1773, Captain James Cook brought English goats to Arapawa Island, near New Zealand. He left them there with the intention of returning to the island—but return, he never did. The English goats, left alone on the island, evolved into what is now known as the Arapawa goat.

“The ones he left there were hairier, and didn’t have such distinctive patterns,” Pine Meadow owner Heidi Paine said.

Arapawa goats all have distinctive stripes down the front of their faces, the result of a small gene pool while on the island.

“They’re known to be a heartier goat too, because they were feral for so long and survived on their own,” added daughter Lauren Paine, a student at Bristol County Agricultural High School.

The New Zealand government got rid of most of the goats when they were rediscovered. The government allows only a small population under the island, subject to strict population control.

However, American Betty Rowe took a herd and brought them back to the United States. The breed was brought to Plimoth Plantation in 1993.

On Arapawa Island, the goats were dual purpose and were used for both milk and meat. Currently, the Paines are breeding the goats, with two of the three expecting kids in early February. The third is just eight months old, and will likely be bred next year.

“This is our conservation project,” Jeffrey Paine said. “We’re expanding the breed.”

In addition to being a conservation project, Heidi Paine said they’ve just enjoyed having the goats around.

“They’re a nice size, a nice goat,” she said. “Very easy to take care of.”

The Paines said they always welcome visitors, and anyone who wishes to meet the goats (named Sunshine, Clementine and Moonshine) just need to ask. To reach the farm, call 860-782-1916.