The Baxter farm at Woodrow has been known for its sheep production for generations. Current owner Jeff Baxter grew up raising and showing sheep. He and his wife, Michelle, have continued the family tradition, but have added a small herd of pygmy goats to the mix.
Two years ago, Michelle was contacted by an individual who said she had two pygmy goats available and once Michelle saw them, she fell in love. Soon those two goats – Fancy and Cutie Pie – were joined by a buck named Sammy.
“Sammy Hagar,” Michelle said, laughing. “Clay’s wife named him because he looked like a samurai.”
The Baxter’s only child, Clay, and his wife moved to her native country of Hungary, but not before meeting the new additions to the family.
It wasn’t long before Fancy and Cutie Pie had litters.
“The last time, we gave away all the babies except one,” Michelle said. “It was the only girl. We’re keeping everything this time. Hopefully, they don’t fight and carry on.”
One of the girls had triplets and the other had twins, bringing the herd to a total of nine. The babies are named Charlie, Margaret, Mary, Ginger, Star and Cow.
“A little girl came by and said she wanted to name him Cow because he looked like a cow,” Michelle explained, pointing to the black and white goat. “I said, ‘do you mean C-Y-L-E.?’ and she said, no, ‘C-O-W.’ So, he’s Cow.”
The goats have their own little personalities and are very loving. They are eager to meet new people and love to be held and petted. Their long fur is soft, and they are very playful. If you put your fist out to them at eye level, they will butt it with their heads.
They are also known for their climbing skills. If a person is on the ground or in a crouching position, it won’t be long before they have a goat on their backs.
“When they’re small and you get down, they run up and do goat yoga,” Michelle said as Charlie raced up her back.
The Baxters aren’t the only pygmy goat owners in the county. Just down the road, Pocahontas County Sheriff Jeff Barlow has a small herd and uses Sammy for breeding season.
“I also have a lady on Beaver Creek who has used him to breed,” Michelle said.
While all the goats have interesting personalities, it sounds like Sammy also has a reputation.
Most goats are raised for meat, but Michelle said she and her husband have decided to keep their goats purely as pets.
But that doesn’t mean the Baxters are out of the farming business. They still raise and sell sheep.
They currently have one buck, 14 ewes and 16 lambs – and a donkey that watches over everyone.
It’s evident that the goats are the highlight of her day as Michelle enters their pen and calls their names, giving them hugs and head scratches. They keep life interesting with their insistent bleats when they’re hungry, the loving nudges to get petted and, of course, the workout routine of climbing on your back for farmyard yoga.