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Ibex Breeder Loves The Curly-Horned Animals
Of all the diverse animals exhibited at the nonprofit Hollywild Animal Park, its founder David Meeks especially likes his ibex and turs. That’s partly because of the wild goat’s long, knotted and knurled horns. But there is far more to them than their horns.
  “I just love everything about them,” he says. “Their color, size, agility, gracefulness, comedian-like attitude, the sharp whistle they give when they feel threatened - and the gentleness displayed by the mother as she helps newborn kids get on their feet within minutes of birth. I also enjoy that the males do not have a scent, unlike some of the domesticated goat breeds.”
  He finds great satisfaction from having learned how to successfully breed several ibex species and the rare West Caucasian turs.
  The wild goats are native to the mountainous regions of Europe, north central Asia and northern Africa. Males have the knotty, knurly horns up to 4 ft. long and weigh 100 lbs. or more. Females also have horns, but without the knots and knurls, and weigh less than 100 lbs.
  Besides exhibiting them at the 100-acre park in South Carolina, Meeks selectively sells them to people who are serious about studying, breeding and preserving the species.
  They are a substantial investment. While they are hardy, they require planning and disciplined care to survive and thrive during a 20-year life expectancy.
  “Ideally, they should be placed on virgin land where no other animals have ever been housed,” Meeks says, explaining they are susceptible to the same parasites and diseases as domesticated breeds. Feeders and waterers must be kept clean and the animals regularly checked for parasites and treated as necessary.
  “Ibex are browsers instead of grazers and are easy to manage and feed. You should not feed them a diet with more than 10 percent protein or their hooves will grow unusually fast,” he adds. Meeks supplements their grazing with good quality hay and minerals.
  They acclimate to warm or cold temperatures, but do best on dry ground. The biggest requirement for owning mountain goats is fencing. It must be at least 6 ft. tall but 8 ft. or more is best. Meeks notes that his kids are bottle-fed so they are somewhat manageable, although ibex and turs are never really tame.
  Finally, the enclosed area where they live should have plenty of room for them to exercise and, ideally, hilly areas and large stones.
  “They enjoy any opportunity to climb - babies only days old will quickly join in on a game of ‘king of the hill,’” Meeks says, which is one of the reasons he loves the breed.
  Kids are born March through May. He is expecting a very nice group this spring and has already started accepting deposits for 2016. “Serious breeders will find lifelong enjoyment from interacting with these magnificent animals,” he says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Meeks (ph 864 316-9572; ibexbreeding@gmail.com; Facebook: Ibex Breeding).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2