This, That, and the tale of a rare goat/sheep hybrid species in Co Mayo

This and That were the fruit of a week-long dalliance between Daisy the goat and a neighbouring ram.

A nanny goat called Daisy has given birth to twin “geeps” — goat/sheep hybrids — after a week-long dalliance with a Cheviot ram on a Co Mayo farm.

Angela Bermingham, originally from Bury, Manchester, the proud owner of the unusual progeny, intends to keep Daisy’s offspring as pets, rather than dispatching them to a butcher or a meat plant.

Her geeps, which she nicknamed “This” and “That”, may, according to livestock experts, be the world’s only surviving twin sheep/goat hybrids.

Michael Holmes, father of Padraic Holmes, who owns the Cheviot ram believed to have impregnated Daisy on the Holmes farm at Murneen, Claremorris, has done extensive research on geeps, since This and That came prancing into the world some weeks ago.

“To have one geep survive is rare”, he said, “but to have two fit and healthy twins running around must be regarded as something of a miracle.”

Ms Bermingham, who doesn’t own a billy (buck) goat, says there are no roaming billies who could have mated with her Daisy.

She says she knew there was “something going on” when Daisy, “a bit of gallivanter”, jumped a fence outside her cottage into land owned by Mr Holmes, where a flock of ewes, which were being serviced by a Cheviot ram, were grazing.

“I knew something was going on, because she didn’t come out of the field for a week,” Angela said. “When she became obviously pregnant, I knew immediately what had happened.”

Angela Bermingham with her twin ‘geeps’, named This and That, at her home in Murneen, Claremorris, Co Mayo. Geeps are a cross-breed between goats and sheep and are very rare. Picture: Keith Heneghans
Angela Bermingham with her twin ‘geeps’, named This and That, at her home in Murneen, Claremorris, Co Mayo. Geeps are a cross-breed between goats and sheep and are very rare. Picture: Keith Heneghans

Hugging the two extremely agile little animals, on one of the rare occasions she can get her hands on them, Ms Bermingham took a close-up look and reckons: “Well, they’re not goats and they’re not lambs, either.

“They were born with no horns and a full set of sharp teeth. That’s not usual.”

She then pulled back one of the geep’s lips to reveal a formidable sawtooth arrangement of sharp incisors.

Michael Holmes, a member of Mayo County Council, expressed certainty that the curious-looking little animals are the product of a relationship between Daisy the goat and his son’s ram.

A long-time livestock farmer, Mr Holmes is a former chairman of the IFA’s National Sheep Committee.

Ms Bermingham, with the blessing of the ram owner, who technically has some right to ownership, says she intends holding onto the unusual progeny as pets.


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