Herdshares and Goat Boarding….what it is and how to get yours!

Unfortunately it is currently illegal to sell Raw Milk or Milk Products in the state of Tennessee.  However, it is perfectly legal to sell a share or shares of a dairy animal, and it is legal to drink the milk produced by an animal that you own, or partially own.  While we could more easily sell milk “for pet consumption” or making soap or milk baths or whatever, we want to be in honest compliance with the law, knowing that whatever milk that leaves our farm will more than likely be consumed by humans.  Participants in the Herd Share program purchase a share of herd for an one time fee of $45.  This fee acts to reserve your share of the goats. There is an additional refundable deposit on your milk containers of $25.00 if using glass containers.  The share in the herd is yours for as long as you wish to own it, and can be sold back to the farm at any time at face value.  All part owners in the Wolf Creek Herd pay a monthly boarding fee of $40 for the feed, water, vet care, bed care and upkeep of your share of the herd by the farm.  In return each Share owner is entitled to a weekly share of the milk “profits”.  Each share works out roughly to a gallon of milk a week.  A share owner may request their share be delivered as milk, or one of our many products  –  butter, cheese, yogurt, soap or lotion for an additional fee.  Share owners are welcome to come to the Farm and visit with the goats by appointment.

Wolf Creek Dairy Farms retains all rights to board and care for your goat, kids birthed by your goat, and to make decisions regarding the goat’s care and management.  We also reserve the right to buy back your goat share at any time at face value.

If you decide that you would like to have a Dairy Goat on your own property please inquire about our stock for sale.

While there are many benefits to drinking raw milk, you should be aware that there are also risks.  Please take the time to educate yourself about these matters.  We feel comfortable drinking, and allowing our children to drink the raw milk produced on our farm.

We have tried to answer the most common questions you may have about getting started below.

What will my goat be fed?

Our girls are fed a high quality diet.  They are given a non-medicated grain ration while on the milkstand.  They are fed Alfalfa hay (when available)and silage daily as well as having access to almost 30 beautiful acres of pasture and brush to browse.  They have access to baking soda (to keep the pH balance in their rumen just right), salt, minerals, kelp, and fresh water at all times.   Goats particularly enjoy leaves and brush, and allowing them to “eat up” rather than “eat down” is a wonderful way to minimize their exposure to intestinal parasites.  You are welcome to come look at their feed, hay, minerals, feed tags, etc.

How will my milk be collected?

We milk morning and evening, doing our best to keep the interval as close to 12 hours as possible.  We prepare the goat by first cleaning and disinfecting her teats and udder, and then allow her to be milked by machine until she is empty.  The milk goes directly into a sanitized, sealed, stainless steel milk pail.  It is then filtered through dairy filters and kept in an ice bath to rapidly cool the milk while the remaining barn chores are completed.  From there, it is placed in individual containers.  The milk is placed in the refrigerator where it is kept below 40 degrees F. until you pick it up.  After milking, the goat’s teats are coated with a protective spray or dip to help insure that no pathogens are able to get inside the udder through an open teat orifice.

What should I do when I receive my milk?

Care should be taken to keep your milk at or below refrigerator temperature.  This will insure that it stays fresh and good tasting.  Please bring a cooler to transport your milk until you can put it in your refrigerator.  A frozen bottle of water in the cooler is a good way to keep the milk cold until you get it home.

How long will my milk stay fresh?

It is not unheard of for raw milk to still be good after two weeks or more.  A safe rule of thumb, however, is one week to ten days.  If you have more milk than you can use in a week or so, you may freeze it, make cheese, kefir, yogurt, or soap.  We will write the date and time of milking on the lid (example: 5/25/16 pm) on the lid of each jar, so that you can take care to use the milk before that time the following week.

What should I do with my milk containers?

Please rinse empty containers with lukewarm water prior to washing them in very hot water, either by hand or in the dishwasher.  This will prevent milkstone from developing.  Please return your clean, empty containers when you receive your next week’s supply of milk.  A $5.00 fee (taken first from your goat share price) will be charged for each unreturned container.

What about medication?

We do not routinely medicate our girls.  From time to time, a goat (like a human) may become ill and require medication.  All milk from medicated does will be dumped for an appropriate withdrawal time.  The goats are wormed on an as needed basis and the milk discarded for the required time if necessary. We use an herbal wormer weekly which does not require any milk withdrawal time. We will only use a chemical wormer when absolutely necessary. We will do our very best to insure you are still able to get your share of milk in these circumstances.

Are the goats tested for diseases?

Tennessee is a certified TB and Brucellosis free state, meaning that there have been no incidents of these diseases since the state’s certification, and any new animals brought into the state have to have negative test results or come from another certified free state prior to entering the state.

In order to ensure the highest quality goats and products our girls receive the highest quality care and testing to ensure they remain disease free.  Our girls are tested for CAE, Johne’s, and CL bi-annually.  They are Brucellosis Free Certified, TB Free Accredited.  We also participate in monthly DHIA milk testing,  and annual Linear Appraisal to ensure the highest genetic breeding.  Our farm has been certified Scrapie Free since 2005 and we are the only farm in Tennessee to actively maintain a Scrapie Export Certified Status.

Will milk be available year round?

Goats, like all mammals, produce milk after giving birth.  Does require being kept dry for a minimum of two months prior to kidding so they can put their energy into growing their babies in the final stage of gestation.  We will do our best to stagger breedings and kiddings so that there is a continual supply of milk throughout the year.  Goats can generally be bred between September and February, and they have a five month gestation.  There will be times of plenty at peak lactation, and times through the year (usually winter) that are more lean.  There are a variety of ways to handle this in a herd share situation, either by taking more milk during the peak times and less at lean, or taking aged cheese in lieu of milk in lean times.  Communication is key here.  We want you to be in the know about how your herd is producing, and we want to be accommodating to your needs as a shareholder.

What if I don’t need my milk for a week or so?

You cannot legally sell your milk to someone else.  In order to insure that we are in compliance with the law, we insist that you not sell your share(s) to a third party.  If prior arrangements are made, we can freeze your milk for you for the week you aren’t able to pick it up, and you may have your frozen milk with the following week’s delivery.  Goats do not go on vacation as people do, and must be milked every day.   We only have so much refrigerator and freezer space, so please keep that in mind.  We will do our best to be accommodating, and ask that you do the same.  Additionally you can request that your share be made into one of our many cheeses for an additional labor fee.

How do I get started?

Please contact Wolf Creek Farms to inquire about the availability of herd shares. If we have shares available, you will be asked to sign a Caprine Bill of Sale and a Caprine Agistment Agreement prior to making payment and receiving your milk.

 

* We currently only accept payments for Herd Share by Cash or Check.  We hope to accept Paypal in the near future. *