TINGHA dairy goat breeder Darlene Brown has made history at Ekka. Down to her dedication and devotion to her black Australian Melaans, she swept the kitty of top dairy doe, butterfat and udder places at the prestigious show.
Darlene said it was a day of extreme emotion, often leaving her in tears. She recalled taking her doe Jubilee Rose into the ring for final Champion Doe award under the scrutiny of international judge Darryl Bishop.
“I went out, and he just pulled me in straight away. That was just…I never won it, I couldn’t believe I’d won it. It was the first time an Australian Melaan had won a Royal,” she said. Darlene came home with a total of 14 first places, four second places and four thirds for her Melaans Jubilee Black Flame and Jubilee Black Rose.
Rose topped all the breeds with Champion Udder of Show, Grand Champion Dairy Doe, All Breeds and Supreme Champion Dairy Doe, All Breeds.
An original Australian breed, Darlene explained Melaans are a black mutation from white Saanens or British Alpines. The breed was only officially established in 2000. Darlene said she owned goats in the past, but in 2005, with a newborn baby, she told her partner Wayne she wanted a house goat for milk for her tea and baby.
“So I bought a British Alpine doe in milk, and she had this little black kid running around,” she recalled.“I just fell in love with that kid straight away.”
She fell hard and bought an entire herd from an elderly woman who was getting out of breeding. When the animals arrived, Darlene set out to improve what she had, critically evaluating the herd and trimming it down to refine what she wanted.
Besides conformation, her production has skyrocketed and she is continually assessing her herd conformation and type.
“My goal in life is to leave the breed better than I found it, so that the next person behind me that wants to step into Melaans is starting with some good stock.”