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Woman's soft spot for goats grows with a happy herd

Woman's soft spot for goats grows with a happy herd

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RUFFIN — It took Robin Lovings time to be able to sell her baby goats without it bothering her. She's understandably still picky about where they go.

Now Robin and her husband, Charles Russell Lovings, have 28 purebred registered Nubians on their farm in the Mayfield community where she was born and raised.

“I’ve only moved 600 feet in my life,” said the daughter of Robert Hayden of Eden and the late Brenda Pyron Hayden.

Since she was young, Lovings said she always “had a soft spot for goats and horses.” She had pygmy goats as a child.

When she got married in 1997, she had three boer goats as pets to keep her horse, Thunder, company. She later sold the goats.

Ten years ago her husband’s uncle, Mike Lovings, went to a sale and brought home several Nubian goats, which are dairy goats.

“They were so sweet and affectionate and I loved their long ears,” she said, recalling how she later acquired three baby goats from Mike to start her herd.

“They were my pets but I had to find ways to make them pay for themselves so we decided to start raising pure-bred Nubians,” Lovings said.

“It was very hard the first couple of years to sell the babies,” she said. “It’s hard. If I get a bad vibe in talking to a potential customer, I won’t sell to them.”

Although most of their stock goes to people with small farms, they also sell some as show goats. Many go to individuals who show them through American Dairy Goat Association-approved events up and down the east coast.

The Lovings ship baby goats from New York to Alabama and west to Tennessee. Goats have become increasingly popular and can easily live 12-14 years.

Last year, the Lovings’ goats added 19 babies to their herd.

However, one mother got sick shortly after birthing triplets. Lovings said she bottle-fed them continuously day and night for several days before selling them to buyers in Tennessee and South Carolina while they were still on the bottle. A baby has to stay on the bottle for 10-12 weeks, she said.

Although the herd grazes in larger pastures during the day, Lovings puts the smaller ones in at night under the watchful eyes of livestock guard dogs, Bria, a Great Pyrenees, and Sandor, an Anatolian/Akbashcross, to protect them from predators.

Lovings' largest pasture is one of her favorite places since it is where her “Papa,” the late Ernest Pyron Sr., raised cows.

“I like to stand on the pond dam and look back at the barn,” she said.

She always has been industrious. She took auto mechanics for two years at Rockingham County Senior High School, where she graduated in 1997. She attended Draper Elementary and Holmes Middle schools when she was younger, and enrolled at Morehead High School her freshman year before transferring to RCSHS.

During the summer of her senior year, Lovings took a job with Burlington Industries in Madison. When school started again, she worked third shift. After Unifi bought the company, she switched to Unifi’s Reidsville plant.

But with the buyout came her realization that she did not have good job security.

“I wanted to have more control over my life,” Lovings said. “I knew I had to pick a profession where I could go to school and get in and get out as fast as possible because of financial reasons.”

When several people suggested she cut hair, Robin said she “didn’t know if I wanted to cut hair. I don’t even know if I can cut hair.”

A barber friend pointed out that most area barbers were older and there were fewer of them “so I thought barbering provided even more job security.”

And, being a country girl, Lovings felt she could converse more easily with men about agriculture and cars than discussing purses, makeup and fancy clothes with women.

In February 2004, Lovings enrolled at Winston-Salem Barber School and, 10 months later, had her barber’s license. She worked at Haynes Barber Shop until 2012 when she had the opportunity to take over Modern Barber Shop, which has been in business on South Scales Street in downtown Reidsville for 66 years.

As for her goats, Lovings said she and her husband haven’t ventured into producing products made from goat milk at this time.

Although the pandemic caused many other businesses to falter or close, Lovings said it seemed actually to help their sales.

“We sold our goats in record time,” she said, adding, “I don’t know if people, not being able to go to stores, were wanting to be able to sustain on their own or they just recognized the quality of my goats.

“We try to raise a really good quality goat that is well rounded and can suit everyone’s purpose,” Lovings said. “They are more sought after and it’s a blessing that people who live so far away come to us and want our goats. They trust us and our knowledge of breeding so they know they are going to get a good quality animal.”

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