Teenah LeBlanc carries a bit of celebrity status in her west Courtenay neighbourhood – or at least her animals do.
LeBlanc breeds Nigerian dwarf goats. Rarely will an afternoon go by without visitors coming to the fence to get a better look at her prized possessions.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “Especially during school times … we have some regulars, but there is always a handful of kids who stop by and feed them a little grass over the fence, which is fine, as long as it’s just grass – nothing leftover from their lunches.”
The popularity is not surprising. Who doesn’t love goats?
Especially little goats!
Leblanc owns Folklore Farm – a registered Nigerian dwarf goat breeding business. She said Nigerian dwarf goats are popular for many reasons.
“They are excellent if you have a smaller piece of property because they eat less, they make less of a mess, they are a lot easier to handle, and great if you have kids, because they aren’t clomping around and knocking people over,” she said. “And they’re just cute. Everybody loves them.”
There is also an agricultural angle to Nigerian dwarf goats.
“They are excellent dairy goats,” said LeBlanc. “They are a miniature dairy breed, and they have the highest butterfat content to their milk of all the goat breeds. So they make excellent cheese.”
Despite growing up in Vancouver, goats have nearly always been a part of LeBlanc’s life.
“When I was young, my neighbours – an older couple next door – always had goats,” she said. “So I remember goat births, and helping out with kids and all that from a very young age. It just kind of stuck with me. I didn’t realize at the time, living in the city, that it was strange that I had experience with these farm animals.”
When she and her husband, Scott, met, they chose to leave the big city for the Interior and found a property outside of Penticton. Their first purchase was, naturally, a couple of goats.
“We actually bought our first two goats from someone in Langley before we even closed on that farm,” she said. “I just always wanted goats of my own, obviously.”
The LeBlancs have been in the goat-breeding business for about seven years now. They moved to the Island last year, bringing their two original goats with them, and relaunched the business once they got here.
They did have a Nubian goat in the Interior, but Teenah said that breed is not as popular for suburban living.
“They are extremely loud, so they are not necessarily great if you have neighbours close by.”
All cuteness aside, there is a science to the goat-breeding business. The Folklore Farm Nigerian dwarf goats are registered, and the LeBlancs are constantly monitoring their stock, to ensure health protocols are in place.
“We do have a level of bio-security, because there are some diseases goats can get… we draw blood and test for that (regularly) to make sure the herd is clean, so we can’t really just have people wandering in and out.”
LeBlanc said the move to the Island has been ideal for the family, and the business.
“Our last place was a little remote, and we were finding it hard with the (children), trucking them into town all the time for activities. So when we decided to move to the Island, Comox Valley was perfect. It checks all the boxes for us in regards to the size of the community, and the beauty of the place. It felt right, and it has just all worked out.”