It was always Ian’s dream to start a goat farm. After just a few days work experience with goats, he was converted and realised they are much friendlier (and safer) to work with than cows. Sarah’s Mum kept goats so she was easily won over. Our motivation has always been our love of goats. They are very curious creatures and all have individual personalities. They do occasionally appear to be acting infuriatingly stupidly but it’s usually all a decoy while one of the others is busy untying a knot to escape to eat a fruit tree or strip the buddleia yet again.
We milk the goats twice a day and over the year, each goat produces an average of 3 litres on milk a day. The nannies have kids once a year and we now have them all kidding in February.
It is most common for the goats to have twins but quite often they can have triplets too. We had an amazing set of triplets in 2013 – two normal sized kids came out and then the tiniest little creature practically fell out. She was perfectly formed but absolutely tiny. We decided to bottle feed her straight away as we thought she wouldn’t get a look in with two older sisters. Amazingly she drank well and grew little by little until she caught up with the others. We named her Tiny Tina.
In their natural environment, goats love to climb and you can see many wild goats up at Cheddar Gorge or in Bristol precariously balanced on cliff edges. In an ideal world they like to eat trees and hedgerows as they are browsers not grazers like sheep. However we wouldn’t have any trees or hedges left if we let them do that. They are quite happy eating grass and our meadow hay, silage and straw. Goats hate the rain so they always have to have access to dry barns and we keep them in during the winter to allow the grass to rest.
If you want to find out more about these lovely animals, you can visit the farm and check out the farm shop, or stay on the campsite. We also run activity days in some school holidays for children aged 5 – 12.