Not raised in a farm family or in farm country, I entered the world of dairy goats quite by accident. Having vacationed on a farm as a young child, I fell in love with the Holsteins grazing that land. I had no further contact with livestock until years later when living in a converted barn on a former farm, I became attached to a single goat owned by my landlord. When a friend who owned horses suggested several years after that that she could offer barn space if I wished to purchase an animal, I immediately thought “goat!” and the deed was done.
Buying first a Toggenburg, then soon therafter a Nubian, I purchased my initial purebred French Alpine, Greenfields Mary Lou, in 1976. Within a year, I had chosen Alpines as my breed of choice. With minimal knowledge at that point as to how to judge quality, I was very fortunate in my selection. Mary Lou descended from well known West Coast bloodlines, and she proved to be an outstanding foundation doe, as evidenced by the fact that every doe in our current herd descends from her!! Mary Lou was outcrossed with the famous Sunshine Robelta’s Rommel, owned by Art Keefe. We then purchased *B Little Rise SS Asher Benjamin, a son of Sunshine Stella’s Strike, out of another GCH Rommel daughter, and our breeding program was launched.
Never intending the goats to be a major source of income, I still aimed to have them pay for themselves. We made improvements to the old dairy barn we’d inherited with the property in Windsor, VT and in 1986 we became licensed as a milk handler/dairy in Vermont. We shipped all of our milk to the Vermont Butter and Cheese Company in Barre, VT. From that time until moving to Lebanon, NH in 1997. Soon after our move, the Cheese Company decided that they no longer needed our milk, and our days as a dairy ended.
Our focus in recent years has been that of maintaining a small, top quality, herd of high performance animals, and we are pleased with our results. We have bred twenty-eight Permanent Champion Alpines, (see Hall of Fame) while rarely showing at more than 2 or 3 shows per season. Thirteen of our twenty-seven Permanent Champions, including the beautiful GCH Roeburn’s SVL Layla, are descended from Mary Lou. We have been on DHIA/DHIR since 1980, and with the exception of two years, have been appraised annually since the program began. Repeatedly, customers and others familiar with our herd comment on the consistency they see in our animals. As of 2014, our linear appraisal herd average score (does) stands at 90.25!!
I became a Life Member of ADGA in 2001.
We were extremely pleased to have our herd featured in the May 2006 Alpine issue of the United Caprine News, in the article entitled “The Roeburn herd is small but mighty”. Our herd was again highlighted in the 2010 Alpine issue. Please contact us if you would like a copy of either of these articles!
Our current herd has been strongly influenced by two outstanding and pre-potent herd sires. The first is our former senior herd sire, +*B Roeburn’s Gatwick Brutus, who sired Top Ten does SG Eliana and SG Joie de Vivre, and has been used by a number of Alpine breeders across the country. The second is ++*B Kickapoo-Valley HL Lord Wimsey, aka, “Petey”, our senior herd sire for the past several years until his sale in 2014. We have considered Petey to be one of the most consistent and overall top herd sires we have ever owned. Six of our current 8 mature does are Petey daughters, and three of these are Permanent Champions.
Because almost the entire herd were “Petey” daughters and granddaughters, we really could no longer use him, the reason for his sale this past winter. In his place we have added the handsome Pleasant-Grove Notable Nikola, who looks stunning at this age, and who we hope is bringing in the new lines our relatively linebred herd needs. His pedigree includes a number of animals whom we have long admired, and we have bred almost half the herd to him this season. While also still young, we are using our other herd sires, *B Missdee’s RL Benjamin Britten and Addi-Hill Ledger Corelli to carry on our program of line breeding, in both cases on our SGCH Rose of Sharon doe line.
“Where did you get the ‘Roeburn’ prefix”, is a question I’ve often been asked. “Roeburn” was the name of my grandfather’s family home in Northfield, MA. The main house was a large and detailed replica of a swiss chalet, as the family had travelled and lived in Switzerland. “Roe” is a family name and the house in Northfield was situated next to a brook, often called a “burn” in the British Isles; therefore the name “Roeburn”. When the property in Northfield passed out of our family, I decided to carry on the name by taking it for my herd name.
We thank all those of you who have purchased stock from us over the years for your support and confidence!