The farm is actually two parts: The goats and their feed, and everything else!
Most of the farm is dedicated to our goats so they can provide us with the high quality and great tasting milk we use to make our cheeses.
We have three breeds of goats – Saanens, Alpines and Toggenbergs – chosen because of their unique milk tastes and their hardiness needed to live in our cold valley during our Iowa winters. The Saanens and Toggenbergs are Swiss breeds, and tend to be somewhat intelligent and easy to manage. The Alpines are a French breed, very hardy but also very independent, and forever the first ones to test any fence.
Our goats have access to plenty of space. In the spring, summer and fall, they are out in the pasture whenever they choose to be so they can eat at their leisure. Before heading out to the pasture in the morning and at night, they have plenty of baleage to eat, and we do supplement their feed with a grain ration.
We milk seasonally, allowing the girls to stay in their natural cycle. This means their maternity leave is usually from early December to mid February. During this time, they have earned their rest, and so have we. Of course we all pay for the down time when kidding season arrives, and each doe delivers an average of 2 kids each! The next 10 months they get milked morning and night until the process repeats itself.
The rest of the farm.
Our fields and pastures are surrounded by forest which is in the forest reserve program, which means all livestock is fenced out. We are also in a multi-year forest improvement program designed by the state of Iowa’s district forester.
We also have a large garden which provides us generous amounts of good food to eat. We have lots of chickens and sell eggs at the farmers market, plus we have plenty of cats!