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City neighbors embrace rewards of rural lifestyle

By: Jeff Burns

Jan 6, 2007

For most people, the image of a goat strolling around the back yard may seem strange. For residents in Sunburst Farms, it’s an everyday occurrence.

The neighborhood, just west of McClintock between Elliot and Warner roads, is home to more than just goats. Llamas, emus, horses, sheep, carrier pigeons and peacocks are familiar inhabitants.

Vince and Marge Zajdzinski, owners of a pair of goats named Rosie and Buddy, say the neighborhood is accepting of almost any kind of pet. One exception, they note: pigs.

According to Vince, the goats have a calming effect on neighborhood horses and are friendly with neighbors. Sometimes children from nearby Waggoner Elementary School stop by to visit Rosie and Buddy on their way home.

The care and feeding of goats is a relatively uncomplicated matter, according to the Zajdzinskis.

“We sometimes refer to them as our recycling pets,” Marge said, noting a diet of leftover meal scraps and hay.

Until their son Steven asked for a goat 12 years ago, the Zajdzinskis never had raised a hoofed animal, they said. They purchased their first goat, “Mike,” and shortly afterward received “Rosie” as a gift from a neighbor.

After Mike died, Buddy was found wandering around the neighborhood and was never claimed by neighbors, who may have been raising him for food, the Zajdzinskis said.

Not only are the goats great around children, says the family; they’re also quite playful.

“Sometimes at night we can hear them playing and butting heads,” Marge said.

With ranch-size lots and no homeowner association, who’s to complain?

Anyone interested in owning an animal such as a goat should request information from a local 4-H or Future Farmers of America Club. A list of 4-H and FFA clubs is available by calling Maricopa County Cooperative Extension at (602) 470-8086.

One final note: The Zajdzinskis say they plan to move from their present home in the near future and hope to find a good home for their amiable pets.



Photo by David Stone


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