Doug Backhurst

Doug Backhurst

I am sorry to report the recent death of Doug Backhurst, after a fairly long illness. It is a loss of one of our old time goat characters, and many people who kept goats in the 1970s, 80, and 90s will remember Doug.

His wife Pam bred the Norbrook herd of dairy goats. They lived in Normandy, very close to us here. At that time there were a number of us keeping goats in a very small area, and we all used to help each other out, goat sitting, check weighing and even helping each other out with milk supplies to keep out customers going when we were still able to sell fresh milk from our holdings.

Pam bred up an excellent herd from a couple of very non descript cross breeds and established a very useful herd, mostly white AOVs and a few BA types that all milked well and were competitive at the shows. She and Doug were regular supporters at the local shows. Doug did a lot to help at the shows, bringing a gas boiler to provide plenty of hot water for us all and dealing with the quantities of milk that would be produced by up to 100 milkers.

Doug was also MD of his family business, C P Backhurst & Co. This started out as a small hay and straw merchant but expanded into the general market of animal feeds. Not everyone knew that Doug was highly qualified in the field of animal nutrition. He developed one of the first, if not the first, properly balanced feed mixes specially designed for dairy goats, well balanced and with all the correct minerals in the correct proportions. He made up different mixes for the different requirements of milking, dry and growing stock, and the business supplied the mix to many goat keepers far and wide.

As well as the concentrate feed Doug also supplied hay and straw to many of us. He sourced wonderful red clover hay from farmers on the South coast, where the hay seemed to grow so well in the sea air. He delivered this by the lorry load to many goat keepers far and wide across the country. Many of us relied on him for this for several years until the farmers retired or moved over to more profitable crops than the clover.

The memory of Doug brings with it many memories of a golden era for many of us goat keepers, and reminds us how much people of his generation contributed, not just to the goat keeping fraternity but to the community as a whole. I am sure that members join me in sending our best wishes to Pam and the family.

Nick Parr