Goats in Winter

For the first time, the goats of Lake Martin’s Goat Island remained on the island all winter. Photo by Kenneth Boone

Lake Martin’s favorite goats fared very well over their first winter on the island where thousands of children and adults stop to feed them every summer, but they miss having regular visitors, said caretaker Ricky Baker.

“They’re doing great!” Baker said. “We haven’t lost any goats, and all of them are very healthy. The only thing is they are eager to get some attention. They really miss their Cheez-Its and Cheetos.”

Baker and his wife, Stacie, took over the care of the goats from Stacie’s father a couple of years ago. They check on the goats several times every week, he said.

“When Stacie and I go over to feed them, they are so glad to see us, they just bombard us. And as soon as they get full, they just want to be rubbed,” he said.

In previous years, caretakers have ferried the goats to a mainland farm for the winter months, but Auburn University veterinarians told the Bakers it would be healthier for the goats to stay on the island.

“That has proven to be a fact this winter,” Baker said. “We’ve had no sick goats this year. It’s much more difficult for us with them on the island, but it’s better for them.”

Baker encouraged boaters to stop and visit, just as they normally would in summertime.

“If you’re out on the water on warmer days and weekends, go by and see them. Pay them a visit,” he said.

To support the goatherd, the Bakers have designed a T-shirt and koozies that are for sale on the Goat Island of Lake Martin Facebook page.