Herd mentality: Yukon farmers moving operation, and goats, to New Brunswick

·2 min read
There are two of the 35 animals making a cross-country journey with their owners from Dawson, Yukon, to Cornhill, N.B., near Sussex. (Submitted by Gemma Pearce - image credit)
There are two of the 35 animals making a cross-country journey with their owners from Dawson, Yukon, to Cornhill, N.B., near Sussex. (Submitted by Gemma Pearce - image credit)

If you thought your summer road trip featured a motley crew, you haven't seen this crowd — an old school bus, a car, a horse trailer, four humans and 35 assorted barnyard animals.

Gemma Pearce and Jeremy Duplessis are moving their farm from Dawson, Yukon, to their new home in Cornhill, N.B., just outside Sussex.

CBC News spoke with the farmers as they stopped for the night in Leask, Sask. It's been quite the journey so far.

"We get lots of attention," said Pearce.

"Every time we pull into a gas station or a grocery store … it's full-bore noises and people coming up," said Duplessis

Gemma Pearce
Gemma Pearce

Duplessis, originally from Fredericton, and Pearce, originally from England, met in Dawson about eight years ago. They started their farm.

The couple started raising Nigerian dwarf goats before moving on to geese, ducks and chickens, but the plans for their herd were put in question after new regulations on raising goats in the city.

Submitted by Gemma Pearce
Submitted by Gemma Pearce

"They changed the regulations around keeping goats and sheep in the Yukon, so we decided to move," said Pearce.

That's when the family decided to start looking east. They bought 17 hectares of land without setting foot on the property.

While moving 35 animals across the country sounds like a gargantuan task at the best of times, it turns out these critters are fairly calm.

"The goats normally stick close to the vehicles" said Pearce. "We've been pretty lucky at the campsites.

"We just get the birds out, feed them every morning and hope that no one complains about the roosters cock-a-doodle-doing at 4 a.m.."

Submitted by Gemma Pearce
Submitted by Gemma Pearce

While things may be a little cramped on the move, they'll have plenty of space to stretch out when they arrive at their new home.

The couple already has some things in mind. They are considering a farm "glamping experience" for people who want to to visit and stay with goats.

A bonus of moving to New Brunswick will be the relative ease of living that will include cheaper food and transportation.

"It's a lot closer to England so I'm able to go home easier to see mom and dad, which is nice," said Pearce.

Submitted by Gemma Pearce
Submitted by Gemma Pearce

But there are some things the couple will miss. They made lots of friends in the North.

But, surprisingly, one of the things Duplessis will miss is the winter.

"I love the cold and I love that kind of deep isolation," said Duplessis.

Duplessis expects the crew will arrive in New Brunswick in 10 days.

"I'm getting pretty excited about it. This is the first time I've left the Yukon in eight years."

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