Our goats are all pasture based which means, they go outside a lot!
Nearly the entire herd is registered with ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association). We also participate in DHIA and LA programs and are slowly starting to show some of our goats.
DHIA is a program that helps to see what an animal is producing. Every month a sample of milk is taken from all the lactating animals on the farm and sent to a lab for analysis. The entire milking from that animal is also weighed. We then get back from the lab a report that includes how much was produced that day by weight, the SCC (Somatic Cell Count), the amount of protein and the amount of fat. This is valuable information to have on hand when making breeding decisions and to see over the course of a lactation (typically 305 days), how much that animal is producing.
The LA program is Linear Appraisal. This is usually done on the farm or friends farm and pretty simply lets you know your animals strengths and weaknesses when the animal is compared to the breed standard. The scores can change every year.
Combining these two programs can help avoid some genetic issues in future generations--like weak pasterns or a poorly conformed udder.
Aside from that, the goats are tested for CAE, Q Fever, TB and Bangs (as the vet feels necessary). Milk is tested weekly (along with cow milk) at a lab for Standard Plate Count and Coliform Count. We also do a Standard Plate Count and Ecoli count on the farm with 3M Petrifilm.
We have several breeds:
Most of our does are bred yearly with having kids born over about 5 months. The does are milked for 305 days or so and are dried up for 2 months before having their next kids.
We drink the goat milk raw as well as make cheese and other products from it. Dairy is an interesting and controversial topic over the last 100 years or so. Throughout the ages, milk and cheese was consumed raw, that is, without being pasteurized. Today, many people are seeking out raw milk for its better flavor and added nutritional properties--which of course, can not be scientifically proven. We drink raw milk from our goats and cows as well as make fresh and aged cheeses. All using raw milk.
Raw milk is not for everyone. If you are afraid of it or unsure of it, don't drink it! Animals optimally would be on pasture and not given large amounts of grain. Antibiotics, hormones to increase milk production, and vaccinations are usually not found in raw milk dairies.
Our animals are fed grains at milking time. A mix of corn, oats, and linseed meal. No GMO's are fed. Mineral supplements are provided for them free choice. We do not vaccinate or use antibiotics unless necessary. As a result, our animals tend to be very healthy, and the milk tastes wonderful!
For further information on getting dairy products from the farm, please email for an information package.
Aside from milk and cheese, we also make yogurt and kefir. Homemade ice cream is out of this world good too! We incorporate some type of dairy into each meal we have. Snack cheeses, melted cheeses, grated cheeses, all are welcome additions to every meal!
The recipes used are not the modernized ones. These recipes generally predate WWII and often were not written in stone, leaving the cheese maker room to change the cheese depending on personal preference and seasonal flavors. While some cheeses have not changed with modernization, many have. For example, Colby should not taste like a young cheddar!