Celebrating the Chinese New Year down on the farm


The goat is the eighth sign on the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac. It is sometimes referred to as the sheep sign. Helen Darlington (pictured with her guard maremma dog) has both sheep and goats on her stud property in southern Queensland. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)

Sheep and goats

Helen runs dorper sheep (pictured left) and boer goats (pictured right) and says 2015 is shaping up to be a good year. “It hasn’t been too wet or too dry,” she said. “We’d like some more rain, but we’ve got plenty of grass at the moment. It has been a lot better year than last year.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


“I prefer to eat sheep than goats,” Helen admitted. “Goat meat is great, but the stumbling block is that I don’t like eating my friends, and it’s easier to be friends with goats than sheep.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


“Goats are more social than sheep,” Helen said. “They love humans and happy to be as close as possible to us.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


Helen says while goats are friendlier than sheep, sheep grow faster, which is important for farmers. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


“Goats regularly do funny things,” Helen said. “They’ll climb fences and go exploring. They are more inclined to push the boundaries than sheep. I’ll see them up the tree, and they keep their playfulness even when they are adults.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)

Helen Darlington says she has the best of both worlds running both sheep and goats on her property.

“Goat is an excellent meat, but as a producer the reward per kilo is higher with prime lambs,” she said.

“And there is always good demand for Australian lamb.”

Helen says the demand for goat meat is bigger overseas.

“Our domestic market definitely has a taste for sheep,” she said.

As happens with every zodiac animal, the Year of the Goat is seen by practitioners of Chinese astrology or feng shui as a good year for some and a bad year for others.

Helen says as long as the rain keeps falling and prices at markets stay high, it will be a good year on the sheep and goat farm.

Lawn Mowing Service