Raising goats isn’t just kid stuff

Saanich youngster gains approval for urban goat pilot project

Jillian McCue has been granted approval by Saanich to raise goats on her Gordon Head property as part of an 18-month pilot project.

Jillian McCue has been granted approval by Saanich to raise goats on her Gordon Head property as part of an 18-month pilot project.

Starting next week, there will likely by a pair of leashed mini goats walking the streets of Gordon Head.

On July 22, Jillian McCue got her official approval to have the urban goats as part of an 18-month pilot project.

However, she’ll be the only mini goat owner in urban Saanich, as no other households followed through on the opportunity to be part of the pilot project.

“It’s surprising that no one else is going to be a part of it, but also not surprising, because it’s a very different thing,” McCue said. “It’s not something you see. People walking around with a pet goat is a change.”

Maybe it was the unknown of goats as pets, or maybe the application process was too onerous. Regardless of the reason, the window for applications closed on July 25.

It’s the latest step forward in a process the 12-year-old started four years ago.

Coun. Dean Murdock said there is still much to be learned from what the McCues experience, even if it’s just one household in the study.

“Council did the responsible thing by not just reacting to a request but invited participants to join a study and understand the implications of having goats,” Murdock said. “There’s a lot to learn from the McCues though there would have been a benefit from multiple houses with multiple goats.”

There’s also an ongoing opportunity for households to add mini goats following the 18-month study, he added.

All the McCues have left to do before bringing the goats home is to add some fencing inside their yard, Jillian said.

“I’m so excited that something that I have been working very hard on has come through and I can see the final product of it.”

Documenting the support of every neighbour in a 50-metre radius of their home was among the many terms the McCues had to meet. There is also the request for double fencing on the property.

McCue’s dad Rich says the thorough nature of the application may have put other parties off from applying.

“I had heard there was some interest from others,” he said. “The application process was quite large, including an overhead image of the house, from Saanich’s GIS map, to point out where the goat condo will be, with ramp and an enclosed area.”

The ‘condo’ is a converted playhouse that will act as the goat pen.

McCue expects to bring her goats, Millie and Nellie, home by this weekend.

For months, she’s been making the weekly trek to a Deep Cove farm where she’s bonded with Millie and Ivy, the pair of fainting goat sisters she’s adopted.

“Every Saturday I’ve been helping on the farm, and learning to properly take care of them,” Jillian said.

That includes taking them for walks, preparing the goats for their upcoming shift to an urban pet life.

“There is a market near the farm, and the market organizer likes having me bring the goats there. It brings a farm feel, and they’re very popular with [children],” McCue said. “[Children] get very excited, they want to know what the goats are, and then they want to play with them.”

When she’s not caring for the goats, McCue is busy babysitting, and the children she cares for are also excited to meet the newcomers.

 

“It sounds like there’s going to be quite a welcoming party.”