Nestled in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a mile or so from Devon's pebbly south coast, lies a beautiful farm, Tidwell Barton. It's here that Lucy Wastenage manages her beloved herd of dairy goats.
The Wastenage family have been farming goats in this idyllic part of Devon for 21 years, and farmed cows much longer before. Today, the farm has 650 milking goats who supply us with their milk for our award-winning Goat's Milk Clothbound Cheese, Oak Smoked Goat's Milk Cheese and Lady Prue.
The Dairy Goats
Tidwell Barton's goats are the British Saanen breed. This breed was developed in the UK, but influenced by the Saanen Goats of Switzerland. Known for being easy to care for, as well as calm, affectionate, and extremely lovable, British Saanens have a short creamy white coat that will sometimes have a fringe along the spine and thighs - with their ears standing straight out. The Saanen is sometimes known as 'Queen of the Dairy Goats' because of their straight and stately features, like in the photo below...
The goats live indoors in clean, light, spacious and airy sheds, with fresh straw bedding laid for them twice a day. Dairy goats, contrary to popular belief, are not hardy animals. In fact, they don't do well outside at all. When they escape they have a quick pootle around outside and they are desperate to get back into the shed. They don't do well in the extreme cold or heat, and much prefer being tucked up with the other goats. Their indoor nature also ensures the goat's milk has a consistent flavour profile all year round as Lucy can control what they're eating (mostly forage nuts and hay), and therefore, what their milk tastes like.
These girls are extremely well looked after and Lucy trims their feet every 3 months.
The goats are milked twice a day, every morning and evening. The milking parlour is very similar to our own here at Home Farm, just a little smaller. Like cows, the goats know when it is time to be milked and always come into the parlour in roughly the same order!
Like for like, goats milk more efficiently than cows, producing approximately 4 litres of milk a day. Goats can continue to produce milk up to 2 years after having a kid and the milk quality and quantity remains perfectly fine.