Ever heard of a ‘geep’ before? Probably not, a geep is the name sometimes given to a goat-sheep hybrid, and it is a pretty rare occurrence. There are only a few cases reported of a sheep and a goat mating successfully, and this usually includes a billy goat and a ewe. While there have been a few cases of the successful mating between these two species previously resulting in offspring there have been even fewer cases of the offspring being born alive or surviving for more than a few days.
However, one such hybrid has been born in Ireland just a few weeks ago. Not only was the animal born alive, but has defied all of the odds by thriving. The animal’s mother did not reject him as most ewes would and continues to raise him as though he were a typical lamb. The geep has continued to grow and thrive and is showing no signs of fading even weeks after his birth.
So – how did such an adorable little creature come into the world? While many have attempted for years to breed geep successfully this little guy was born completely unintentionally. During the usual sheep tupping the farmer spotted a goat in with his ewes, but didn’t think anything of it and a few of his workers around the farm were reasonably confident that nothing had happened, but a few months later the product of a goat and sheep mating was born.
The animal hasn’t been given a name, but the farmer is reluctant to use him for slaughter and explains that he will keep the animal for as long as possible, however should it become a nuisance he would have to get rid of it. The farmer who owns the animal, Pat Murphy, has also explained that he has no intentions to breed more of the animals, given that it was a one-off accidental breeding.
Despite no interest in breeding more geeps Murphy has commented that the animal has an unusual character, not only is the little guy starting to grow in some horns to give evidence of his goat heritage, but additionally the animal is proving to be more physically advanced than most lambs. He is a thriving boy who can run considerably faster than other lambs born around the same time, and has proven himself to be particularly agile. It was also noted that he was up and about after birth faster than most lambs would be.