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Running a large-scale goat operation ... from the farmer’s


daughter’s perspective By Ren Slavens


I remember being about eight years old and near- terminally excited when my dad, Kent Slavens, first brought home two healthy milk goats for the family to take care of. It was meant to be a sort of hobby or ex- periment. “Nothing too serious … just something inter- esting to do” — these were some of the phrases thrown around about the new, ornery neighbors taking up res- idence in our back yard. But if there’s one thing I know about my dad, it’s


that he can’t resist throwing himself fully and passion- ately into a craft. Two measly milk goats? A “hobby”? When there was so much potential, so much to be learned? Not likely. The chances of us having two quaint little milk goats and nothing more weren’t just slim — they were in need of a quintuple cheeseburger before they keeled over.


Sure enough, it was only a few months later that the façade broke. In the weeks leading up, I remember haphazardly stepping my way over books about goat breeds and parasite loads and a surprisingly many vari- ations of “Goats for Dummies” that littered the floor. My dad threw himself into research, tackling the


Ren Slavens, 18, watched her dad’s “hobby’ quickly grow to a herd of 400 Kiko goats.


November 4th-6th, 2021


Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center 962 Sullivan Drive • Hattiesburg MS 39401


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Darryl Byrd 228-282-4111 Gracie Walley 601-543-2468


42 Goat Rancher | September 2021


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