A lot of farmers think that raising goats is a terrible idea, and here at BOTL Farm we were interested to find out exactly why that is. Turns out, goats are the noisiest, nosiest, most curious creatures we have… but they love to eat poison ivy and all the bushy, thorny things that grow in the forest that other grazers avoid. Their dedication to hard forage makes our passive, animal-driven forest clearing possible!
So, against the advice of generations of farmers before us, we’re still making more goats! We have a herd of purebred Kiko goats that we raise for meat. Eating and preparing goat meat might not be familiar to everyone, yet in many cultures around the world it is a regular part of their diet. At one time, it was considered to be the most commonly eaten meat worldwide. We describe the taste of pasture-raised goat meat to be a cross between lamb and beef.
Our goats are raised using intensively managed rotational grazing methods. They move around the farm paddocks with their buddy sheep, who they live with for most of the year. They live outdoors all year long, on pasture and in wooded paddocks, and are never confined or kept indoors. They are Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World, and also Certified Grass Fed by the same organization, meaning they are grass-fed, grass-finished, and never fed any grain.
The breed now known as Kiko is originally from New Zealand, and is basically the super-heroes of goats. It’s rumored that the breed originated when an enterprising farmer in the hill country of New Zealand let a bunch of goats go into the wild, came back five years later, rounded up the animals that were left, and started selective breeding from there. Kikos are famous for hardiness, low susceptibility to worms and disease, ability to birth and successfully raise triplets (although we’ve yet to see it on pasture), and the males have truly epic horns (up to four feet!).
Turns out, it’s wildly expensive to get Kikos in the US so we started our herd with just two goats, our future matriarch (named Goaty McGoat Face) and the male we would, for some reason, name ‘Grandma.’ We’ve slowly expanded the herd from there, bringing in fresh genetics as necessary to maintain healthy expansion. New breeding stock is chosen based on parasite resistance and growth rates, but mostly parasite resistance. Have we mentioned parasite resistance is a challenge for pasture-raised animals?
What the Goats Eat
Our goats are Certified Grass Fed by A Greener World, which means they are grass-fed and grass-finished, never supplemented with grain. They graze on grasses but also enjoy browsing on tree leaves and taller, shrubby plants during the warmer months. They eat locally sourced hay (which is dried grasses) during the colder months. We also give them Alfahay as a treat. Year-round they have access to a loose mineral mix that satisfies their drive for salt, but also contains minerals, probiotics, and Icelandic kelp.
What We Make
What We Don’t Sell
Whole and Half Goats
Want a whole or half goat? Because of limitations imposed at the slaughterhouse we use, we can’t offer whole or half goats for purchase. For info on the closest we can get to bulk goat, check out our Meat CSA page.
We don’t sell them. Due to our farm’s humane standards, we don’t sell live animals for any reason, unless you’re a farm with current Animal Welfare Approved certification for the species in question.
Goats for Religious Slaughter or Ritual Slaughter
We don’t sell goats for on-farm slaughter, religious slaughter, or ritual slaughter.
All the milk our goats produce goes towards feeding their kids. We don’t milk the goats so we don’t make any dairy products.
Nutritional Benefits of Pasture Raised Goat
This is a fact sheet from FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) and highlights some of the nutritional benefits of pasture-raised goats (and sheep) compared to conventionally-raised (aka in a barn or building or concrete slab or cage) goats. We love a good FACT fact sheet!
Last Updated on 2024-01-23