She only weighed two pounds at birth just a few short months ago, but My Funny Farm Annies Tinkerbell managed to surpass everyone’s expectations for her in a competitive class of Junior LaMancha kids at the 2009 ADGA National Show in Sacramento this July. Owned by Myrna Hazlett, San Bernadino, California, Tinkerbell and her herdmates had an interesting trip to the National Show, topped off by a show ring success that will likely remain in the memory books of Hazlett, her granddaughter, Suzanna Maldonado, and travel friend Amanda Whipple, forever.
The story started with Tinkerbelle’s birth on May 28, 2009.
My Funny Farm Tinkerbell, owned by Myra Hazlette, raised and shown by Suzanna Maldonado, San Bernadino, California, weighed only 2 lbs. at birth. She surpassed owner expectations and placed 20th at the 2009 ADGA National Show.
"She was the smallest of a set of triplets," Hazlett said. "And we suspect the other two sisters were on one side of the uterus and Tinkerbell was in her own horn."
Hazlett said the other two doelings from the litter weighed 10 lbs. each at birth and were big and strong.
"We didn’t expect Tinkerbell to even make it," she said. "But Suzanna tube fed her, gave her lots of tender loving care, and even took her inside to sleep in her bed for the first three weeks of her life."
Maldonado fed the small doeling every hour for the first few days of her life, tubing down a special mix of Nutra-drench, colostrum and goat milk. She kept her in the house for the night, but put her out with dam and siblings during the daytime.
"The mother still cared for her, let her nurse, etc. during the day, but we just felt she might die on us if she had to struggle out there through the nights," Hazlett said. "She needed that bonding with her mother to give her the desire to live, but we still bottle fed her every hour, too."
When the family decided to attend the 2009 National Show in Sacramento, Hazlett didn’t even consider taking little Tinkerbell at first.
"I knew she was too small to be competitive with the older kids in her class," she said. "But Suzanne kept saying, ‘This is an awesome little doe, we have to take her. Plus, I just couldn’t leave her at home to be cared for by someone else. She is our baby.’"
Hazlett had a very nice Nubian doeling which had won all five shows they had competed in so far in 2009.
"The Nubian kid was the only one I wanted to take," she said. "I guess the other three, including Tinkerbell, just came along for the company."
Hazlett and Maldonado teamed up with another goat breeder heading to the Nationals, Amanda Whipple, for the trip to Sacramento to save on transportation costs.
"She lived about two hours away from us, but to get there we had to go through the Tehachapi Pass between Palmdale and Bakersfield," Hazlett said.
The My Funny Farm owner said she had not had truck problems forever and didn’t have any reason to suspect there would be a problem on this trip, but 30 minutes after picking up Whipple, her goats and gear, and then heading back over the Tehachapi Pass, vehicle problems struck.
"We were just cruising along when all of the sudden the truck died," Hazlett said. "I didn’t find out until later that the transmission had melted."
The group sat on the side of the California mountain highway for several hours before finally being able to reach the AAA tow service which Hazlett has a membership card with, for help.
"They sent a tow truck out, but he ended up not having the right tool with him to drop the transmission out in order to tow us to town," Hazlett said. "The second AAA tow truck didn’t have the right tool either, so they finally called one of their competitors who got us over the hill and into town."
Unfortunately for Hazlett, by the time their truck and trailer was taken into Bakersfield, there was not a transmission or auto shop open anymore. The tow service took their trailer to a hotel parking lot where they were able to take care of the goats, which had been in the hot trailer for over 10 hours by this time. The truck was then towed to a shop recommended by phone by a relative and left there with an instructional note.
"By this time I was ready to throw in the towel and just find a way home," Hazlett said. "But my partners had other ideas."
Whipple made a few phone calls and found a friend of a friend who needed to make a trip from near Bakersfield to the show in Sacramento to deliver a semen tank.
"She was a Boer goat breeder and didn’t plan to go to the dairy goat show, but she needed to catch a ride for her semen tank to go on from there. It just happened that she had a truck similar to mine, gooseneck and all, and generously offered to let us use her truck if we would deliver her semen tank for her to Sacramento. It took a couple of hours to get arrangements made to take care of my truck but we were finally back on the road the next day by 2:00 p.m. with just barely enough time to make the ADGA show check-in time of 10:00 p.m."
It would be nice if the drama of Tinkerbell’s trip to the National Show ended there, but it didn’t.
"The kicker of the whole thing was that when we finally pulled into the CalExpo fairgrounds, there was a problem at check-in with Tinkerbell," Hazlett said.
After all they had gone through, it seemed that Tinkerbell’s tattoo was in backwards or unreadable or something of that nature.
"The man at check-in kept saying they couldn’t read it, but I knew it was in there right as I had put it in the middle of the tail with small digits because she was so small at the time we tattooed her," Hazlett said. "When they told me she would have to go into quarantine for the week I was ready to pack it all back up and head home. There was no way our little baby was going to spend the whole week apart from us because someone couldn’t read her tattoo right."
Hazlett was able to get a more experienced tattoo reader over to help and though it took them 20 minutes to get through check-in, Tinkerbell’s tattoo was approved and the My Funny Farm crew was officially at the 2009 ADGA National Show.
"From there on, everything went great," Hazlett said. "All four of the goats we brought made the top 20 cut in their classes and we couldn’t have been prouder."
Little Tinkerbell made the cut, even though she was the youngest and smallest kid in her class.
"All along I tried to prepare Suzanna for the fact that Tinkerbell would be the last in her class," Hazlett said. "At the National level it just doesn’t happen often that little places higher than big. But when you get your hands on this kid, she is just awesome. She is very dairy, has a tremendous spring of rib and that soft dairy skin."
Evidently the judges of the Junior LaMancha class felt enough quality in the My Funny Farm kid to keep her in the top 20. She placed 20th, but for Hazlett and Maldonado, that was success.
"We can’t wait until she grows up," Hazlett said. "She is so dairy and so level. She’s going to be awesome."