This is the fifth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers considerations for how to raise goats on your homestead, including research strategies, space planning, herd management, the fundamentals of milking goats, pasture development, and making cheese and yogurt.
When starting a farm business, make sure you know your states rules and regulations. You can contact your states Department of Agriculture and/or your county Cooperative Extension Agency for info. Make sure you know what you need to know about the basic safety and maintenance of goats to begin with: What are their needs when it comes to health, shelter, food, etc., and what are concerns such as plant toxins and predators?
Goat rentals are a good way to "value-add" your goat herd, as well as provide additional rotational-grazing space. But, sometimes you run into problems. This blog series about how we started our rotational-grazing goat-rental service wil outline what some of those problems are and how to deal with them.
You've heard of a one-horse town? Well, we are a one-goat micro-dairy! That doesn't mean we only have one goat to milk, but that our milking parlor is set up to take only one goat in at a time for feeding and milking. Here is a story about a little goat kid who wouldn't give up so, how could we?
Farm life has its risks and we don't need to add to them by acting in unsafe ways. Read more for 10 Simple Ways we follow here on Serenity Acres Farm to keep us safe.
Rotational grazing can reduce the parasite load of goats, but this is difficult to accomplish with a dairy herd which needs to return to the same location every day for milking. On our homestead, we developed a rotational shelter and management system that allowed us to keep the herd on pasture 24/7 during the warm season. This significantly reduced our reliance on chemical de-wormers and helped us feel better about the quality of our milk and our soils.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing the right cow for a small herd or micro-dairy, but it is worth taking the time needed to select an animal that will best fit you and your farm.
Follow these 11 easy tips to experience a good kidding season as shared by Serenity Acres Farm.
Do not let not owning or using a microwave prevent you from making up a batch of mozzarella cheese. Using this easy technique, you can have your mozzarella and ricotta without a microwave. We learned from a trip to the Belton, Texas, MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR and had a blast.
Finding balance between farm work, work life, family, fun and business.
Local farmers face unexpected obstacles in the historic community of Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Not many people in our sphere of influence drink goat’s milk, so we have a great opportunity to educate those we come in contact with about the benefits. These are our four main reasons why we drink goat's milk.
Serenity Acres Farm shares its experiences with WWOOFers so yours will be a good one.
There are many ways to use raw goat’s milk, but these three favorites are quick and fantastic. Let us tell you about them!
Goats tie you down, particularly dairy goats. Even an overnight absence, or a short trip to visit family for the holidays, creates a management problem for the daily needs of your left-behind livestock. By developing working relationships with other goat enthusiasts, you can have your milk and travel, too.
How should you choose good hay for your dairy goats? Hay should be composed of plants goats like to eat, cut and cured properly for best nutritional content and storage life, and free of unwanted chemicals and weed seeds. If you can, buy hay fresh from the field of a trusted source, where you can inspect it and its growing conditions.
Our DIY goat barn was built using mostly reused materials and cost us less than $1,000. In this post, we show you how we did it and give you tips along the way!
This buttery cream cheese is exceptionally easy and takes no cooking.
Death on a farm is unavoidable as life itself. These stories share lessons learned, words of wisdom and how a farmer can prepare for the inevitable when raising livestock.
Dairy animals such as goats produce milk in a seasonal cycle, requiring homesteaders to handle both an abundance and shortage of milk during the year. Freezing milk directly, and making & preserving cheese, are two ways to ensure a reliable supply of dairy year-round. Allowing your diet to change with the seasons can also reduce the impact of low-milk periods, replacing its nutrition with food crops or meat when milk isn’t convenient to produce.
Kefir culture can be used to start a broad range of dairy ferments. This recipe shows how kefir grains will culture cream into delicious creme fraiche - a tasty, healthy alternative to whipped cream. Part 2 of a series of articles explaining how to use traditional cultures for cheesemaking.
Raw milk, so controversial to buy and drink, can also be used in the kitchen for everything from cheese and yogurt to soufflé and custard.
Milking your cows is a repetitive chore. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer details his process which demonstrates through efficiencies how you can do it in less than 30 minutes.
Many garden vegetable crops produce excess leafy material perfect for feeding goats. Using these materials as milking snacks helps reduce the need for purchased grain & hay while recycling these waste products on the homestead.
Learn ten step to raising calves so that they will grow to become tame, calm and well-mannered cows. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer takes us through the steps he follows on his farm.
Kefir (rhymes with deer) is a traditional yogurt culture from Central Asia. Often described as a fermented milk, kefir is a flavorful, drinkable and slightly effervescent yogurt.
Where could you start your cheese making journey? Well, why not try something like Feta cheese? With minimal stirring after cutting the curd, and a pressing of only 4 hours, this cheese is an excellent place to start cheese making.
Goats need to be held still in various contexts, including slaughtering, hoof-trimming, and milking. Ideally, the method of restraint should be comfortable/humane, strong, portable, easy to use, and affordable. We’ve developed a homemade goat restraint that fits these categories and has worked for many years.
Dehorning calves can be a controversial topic. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer discusses why he thinks dehorning dairy cattle is necessary.
Who would have thought that making your own cheese at home could be so much fun? I have produced cheese as a hobby regularly since 2009, so I thought it would be practical to share with some valuable tips that I have learned along the way.
White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) is a potentially toxic plant, particularly for dairy animals as the toxins can be passed through the milk. It caused many human deaths during the age of European settlement in eastern North America, due to dairy animals grazing in brushy areas and woodlands. Modern homesteaders using such landscapes for their goats or other ruminants should learn to identify and remove white snakeroot to ensure the safety of their milk supply.
Are you planning to buy a goat? Here are 12 tips to consider when you are shopping for a goat.
Homestead dairy goats need proper shelters. Ideally these would be easy to set up and move, while providing all the animals’ needs. A variety of basic shelters can be based on simple, reusable pieces like cattle panels, pop-up tents, and chain-link panels. These structures make pasture-based goat management easier on a budget.
A review of a new book that not only gives recipes, but truly teaches the art and fun of cheesemaking.
It is now possible to produce animal-free milk.
The changing landscape of farming and farmers.
Grass feeding cows may be the latest craze, but not necessarily the best diet for dairy cows.
Includes a list of 21 must-have medical supplies a goat farm should never be without and a list of some nice to haves we have at Serenity Acres Farm.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan shares a preview of her children's book about raising lambs.
Spring has been slow to arrive in the Green Mountain State. But there are signs of spring in Vermont and that means preparing your Micro-Dairy for the change in seasons. Bob-White Systems' Steve Judge shares more tips to transition a Micro-Dairy into spring.
Springtime means mud season in Vermont. And on a micro-dairy, it also means preparing the cows, fields and barn for the transition to warmer weather. Steve Judge offers tips to prepare for Spring on a micro-dairy in a two-part series.
After deciding to take a year off from lambing, Maine dairy farmer Dyan has a change of heart and gets a four-legged Valentine, a baby lamb.
Four easy steps to guide small dairy farmers to filter, chill and clean properly to ensure delicious, farm-fresh milk, yogurt or cheese every time.
As farmers, we know the importance of creating a milking environment that is clean and healthy for the animals. In Part 2 of Making Clean Raw Milk, we outline the steps needed to milk your cow or goat in a manner that keeps it clean.
In the year of the goat we must compare the personalities and characteristics of goat people with goats.
Homegrown.org blogger Dyan Redick of Bittersweet Farm honors - and helps keep alive - the legacy of fellow Maine goat herdswoman Pixie Day.
A big benefit of running the private and FDA-certified Bob-White Systems Dairy Lab is that we get to see what works and what doesn't work to keep milk clean. “Clean," for our purposes, means that it passes Vermont's Tier II Raw Milk Standards, which happen to be some of the most stringent in the country — more stringent than federally regulated pasteurized milk standards. At the lab we perform FDA-certified testing to ensure raw milk producers are compliant with Vermont’s standards.
It's important to prepare your Micro Dairy or small farm for winter by making small improvements to your facilities. But it's also important to mentally prepare for the dark, cold months.
Helping your cows transition from fall to winter can be easy to do. Here are five steps to consider when the cold weather starts settling in.
There are many non-dairy sources of calcium to choose from to make sure you are getting enough of this vital nutrient.
I can hear it now: “What the devil? Angus? They are not milk cows!” Well, it all got started when the neighbor purchased four, what he was led to believe were, Black Angus calves from someone in a valley some distance from us. But the udders on these two cows were huge! They clearly had more milk than the calves could handle.
Here are 12 simple tips that will help you to fight the war on worms and coccidia in goats.
Finding time to make improvements on a small dairy is difficult but making a few improvements as the seasons change can often make a micro dairy or any size small farm more efficient. Here are 7 steps to help you prepare your barn for the cold winter months.
Feed and hay management tips to get through winter.
What you need to think about to prepare your cows, barn, feed and yourself for the cold weather.
Why I have never trimmed my cow' nails in 8 years of running a micro dairy. Read on to choose whether you want to be trimming your cows' hooves.
How and why I started using leftover raw milk as a natural soil supplement and fertilizer on my dairy farm.
Our little farm received the USDA Value Added Producer Grant and we are embarking on an exciting future. Be with us from start to finish.
How installing a pipeline milking system can help dairy farmers of all sizes make the most of their valuable time.
Bucket milkers offer small and micro-dairy farmers affordable and reliable system for milking cows. Here are my basics for how to use a bucket milker on a micro dairy.
There are some questions worth exploring, find out if there is a BEST way to clean your goat's udder before milking.
Cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, camels and, even, horses have been successfully milked by hand for thousands of years. Though it's an age-old practice, milking a cow by hand is not as easy as it may first appear. It’s best to know what you are getting into before you take on this important farming task.
Spending the time to get to your goats is more important than you may think
The flavor and shelf life of the milk you sell directly to consumers are directly impacted by how the milk is produced and handled on your farm. Here are my best practices for handling and producing the highest-quality, most delicious milk on the farm.
With its recent FDA approval, the first LiLi pasteurizer was purchased for use at a New York micro dairy.
Ilene White Freedman contemplates sharing goat milk with the nursing kid.
Silvopasture is a newfangled word for wooded pasture. Basically, all it means is that you are using wooded land with trees and forage for pasture. The trees can be managed for firewood production and/or saw logs and provide welcome shade and shelter for your livestock and forage.
Understanding and effectively executing a breeding program depends on understanding the calving cycle and when and how to dry a cow off in preparation of calving.
Cows are big, powerful animals, and milking puts you right beside the strong hind legs and feet. If you find yourself with what I call a kicky cow, there are steps you can take to manage the animal.
Cows love routine. The more things stay the same for cows, the safer and more secure they feel. Here is my abbreviated list of best practices for milking a cow, learned over many decades in the barn.
Your homestead is complete when you get your own cow for milking. But problems such as a cow who holds her milk or who kicks can make milking difficult and even dangerous. Here are some helpful hints so that you can enjoy your cow and enjoy milking her.
Managing the feed regimen for cows in a micro dairy environment is a matter of setting clear goals and understanding what your cows need.
The blog describes the experience of applying for a federal grant and shares some advice for others who might want to follow in those foot steps.
Cow manure is a key indicator of bovine health and well being. After milk, it is the most valuable thing your cows will produce. Micro-dairy expert Steve Judge explains why it pays to get comfortable with cow manure.
21 things you should know—or wish you had known—before starting a goat farm.
Using fresh raw cream to make butter by hand.
More goat babies and finding ideas to make money on a farm.
Making your own buttermilk and créme fraîche (French sour cream) is so easy, you'll never buy it again.
After a rocky start, the second half of breeding season ends happily for both goats and owners.
Dairy goat farmer Julia Shewchuck learned a lot about keeping dairy goats in her first few months (and much more since). It was a learning curve too steep to be repeated willingly, but which has saved many other goats’ lives since.
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
Follow Sarah Cuthill's search for a dairy mentor and her very first experience milking a goat.
A chemical-free way to keep goats' teats clean and the milk pure.
A dairy goat owner chronicles the frustrating beginning of her first breeding season.
Author Maggie Bonham recounts the various ways she's managed to obtain free goats, including Craigslist ads and trading for chickens.
A new homesteader commits some classic mistakes when buying her first goat.
Now the milk is in the chill room and we can eat cheese and freshly made chiabata with nearby cheese and horseradish sauce.
Did anyone ask if you wanted your milk to be homogenized?
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan reflects on the changes that arrive with fall, including her own sense of melancholy.
Choosing the business model for Bob-White Systems micro dairy.
How a small and inexpensive High Temperature-Short Time pasteurizer could change the dairy industry.
Five shops depend on Whitey Top farm for fresh milk supplies.
Choosing cows for the Bob-White Systems micro dairy.
We are trying to wrestle back the food business into our neck of the woods. To create a micro dairy and a micro economy for all to enjoy. Wish us luck !
Why we chose to build the Bob-White Systems barn we did.
Selecting the location for the Bob-White Systems’ micro dairy barn.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
In the wake of the summer solstice, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan takes time to appreciate the longest days of the year.
A guide to creating realistic goals for your micro dairy based on your own experience.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan learns that giving up control, whether over a mischievous flock or a single lamb, can have its own rewards.
We passed the "phosphataze" test with the Health Protection Agency and know that the milk from our dairy farm is safe to sell.
How to finance your micro dairy and manage your budget for success.
"Garbage in, garbage out," is as true to goat nutrition as it is to the computer world and more folks should take heed!
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan Redick divides her time differently these days, Before Milking and After Milking, in the wake of spring births on her Maine dairy farm.
Guidance for aspiring micro dairy owners and managers when navigating regulations and permitting on the local and state levels.
After almost 50 years of raising cows and dairy farming in New England, I’ve developed what I consider to be 15 universal truths for micro dairy owners.
All land is not created equal when it comes to raising animals on a micro dairy.
Facing massive snow drifts, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick forges a new path to her barn and finds inspiration in the process.
Step 3 of "How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps" will help you understand how to handle cows and what to expect during milking.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan recalls how the seasons affected her childhood and how they guide her activities now on her Maine dairy farm.
Dyan writes about the changing season at Bittersweet Farm, and introduces us to the newest member of the flock, a black sheep named Little Man.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a goat herder, it’s that at breeding time, the goats are in charge.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.
The summer days are getting longer, and so is the list of barn chores! Goats are kidding, cows are arriving, and a dream of having a raw milk dairy is becoming tangible.
Overdue does, goats with bloody milk, harried milkmaids... Oh where does it end?! Life isn't ALWAYS roses in the goat life; sometimes it does leave you tired frustrated.
The third and last part in choosing a herdsire.
The second part to choosing a herdsire for the dairy goat herd.
What to look for in a buck, and how to choose a herdsire.
A look into each dairy breed, on how much milk each one averages and what to expect in taste.
An introduction from a goat-crazy Oregonian.
Janice Spaulding teaches goat husbandry both at her farm in Maine, and around the country with her "Goat School."
When one of her goats starts looking for love for the first time, and hollering her little head off, Angela has to do some quick thinking to keep her precious pets from becoming that night's dinner!
The author discusses setting up small-scale dairy for local, doorstep milk sales in Great Britain.
Even dairy goats can have self-esteem issues...
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner.
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner!
Micro Dairy Industry Leader, Bob-White Systems, Launches E-Commerce Site.
Mark Oldham shares childhood adventures of taking care of dairy cows and beef cows including milking, herding cows out to pasture and employing a cattle call in Appalachian country.
A boy growing up in Appalachian Country shares the farming practices of his family.
Nutrition breakthrough lets health conscious consumers drink in the benefits of Omega 3s.
Government subsidies to corn growers results in foods that are less expensive then they should be, resulting in people eating more than they normally would.
Whether you abstain from dairy by choice or you’re lactose intolerant, you probably know how difficult it can be to find really great non-dairy cheese. I’ve taken away some of the guesswork by reviewing some popular brands: Vegan Gourmet, Daiya, Dr-Cow, Chreese and The Vegetarian Express. Read about my dairy-free cheese experiences, and let us know which brands you’re loyal to.
Raising dairy goats has benefits that extend beyond fresh milk and cheese.