Courtesy of Broken Diamond Ranch, AL
The roots of the Alabama Jericho Goats can be traced back to the original goats left in the Deep South by Spanish Explorers. As Southern Plantations developed, these now indigenous goats became a cheap food source for Slaves and landowners alike. Stevenson Alabama, in Jackson County lies at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Here rolling pasture land meets steep, limestone rich mountains with many springs, an ideal place for goats to thrive. In the early 1970’s Mrs. Betty Joe Rudder began to concentrate on improving the family’s goat herd. The goats, originally brought to the farm and cared for by a Man who worked for the family, had been ranging freely from pasture to mountains, paying no heed to fences. Many times the goats stopped traffic while jumping pasture fences to head to the mountains. Mrs. Rudder began to select for meatier goats within her closed herd. This herd has all of the great characteristics of the Spanish goat: great mothers, clean udders, extremely hardy and parasite resistant. Their feet rarely need attention, they have adapted remarkably well to high humidity and wet conditions.
These goats are unique in that they are native to Alabama and have no other genetic influence. They are meaty, easy fleshing goats requiring little to no maintenance. Mature nannies reach around 130 pounds, while billies will go around 175. The colors vary, at one time having quite a few solid reds, but tend to be black or brown, usually with a badger face. Clint LeRoy, Mrs. Rudder’s neighbor and fellow Spanish breeder, obtained a red billy from her several years ago, and still has the influence in his herd.
At the age of 72, with land being sold around her to people who were not tolerant of her goats free roaming ways, the breeder has entrusted her beloved Jericho herd to Shan and Courtney Norman, Broken Diamond Livestock, Montgomery Alabama, where they continue to breed this unique line of goats, so that their exceptional adaptations can be used to strengthen Spanish goats everywhere.