Goat Dairy Dreams...

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by Squidgette, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Squidgette

    Squidgette New Member

    19
    Feb 29, 2012
    Okay...how crazy would I be, on a scale of 1 to 10--one being "never had a cat or goat in my life" sane, and 10 being "I let the critters drive my car" bonkers--how crazy would I be, to want to have a working goat dairy that was my income?

    Every time I walk away from milking my little goat, for the past 2 weeks, I think to myself that I would just be as happy as I could be if this were my new "life". My major problem is that my husband has caught my "goat dairy dreams" and isn't keeping me in reality! He would happily quit his job (he is a chef) and make cheeses all day...

    Reality check, anyone? We only have a 5 acre farm! How many goats does it take to keep a working dairy to support a small family?
     
  2. Goat Song

    Goat Song Senior Member who ain't so Senior

    May 4, 2011
    Oregon
    Hehe, well it's certainly possible! But it's also a ton of work, and if you speak with other cheesemakers, you'll find that they are just breaking even in their work. But if it's something you really want to pursue, then I would definitely start researching more! What state are you in? What are the laws in your area about cheesemaking/milk selling?

    If you work hard enough to get a good customer base, you stay within the bounds of the law, and have excellent stock, I really think a person can run a profitable business just by selling milk. That's what I'm working towards, and I only have one acre (the state of Oregon only allows me to have 9 goats, too...)

    You might see if there are any farms in your area who are doing what you want to be doing, and pick their brains. See if you can get a tour of their place, and get a feel for what you do and don't like.

    Oh, and on a scale of 1-10... I really don't know! You definitely have to love your goats, love milking and doing the washing that results, two times every day, and you have to be passionate enough about the work to stick to it even when it's rough (i.e. when goats die, a customer complains, you get sick, etc.) I would probably put myself at an 8 on the scale. I love the routine of milking, even all the washing, I enjoy the customers, I like marketing, and my goats are the cherry on top! :wink:
     

  3. ptgoats45

    ptgoats45 Goat Girl

    Nov 28, 2011
    NE Oklahoma
    Having a working dairy is definitely possible, but in order to sell milk on a scale large enough to make anything you would have to be a licensed Grade A dairy which means having USDA approved facilities that the goats are milked in, housed in, a bulk tank for the milk, milk machine(s) and much more. I can't say how many goats you would need, but if you are looking to milk just to make cheese and sell milk you would need enough goats to supply whoever is buying the milk. If you sell to the company that stocks grocery stores for example you would probably need at least 100 milkers. If you plan to have income from the kids and the milk and sell more to specialty stores you would probably do fine with 20-30 does. It really depends on the demand that you have.

    It takes a lot of money to start up a Grade A facility and you typically have to upgrade the facilities pretty often. It is doable, but you should try to find a goat dairy either near you or somewhere in your region and ask them what their set-up is like, how many goats they have, what their profits are, etc. You would probably need to have quality goats that you can sell the kids from to supplement the milk/cheese income. A lot of cow dairies have gone out of business recently because what they sell the milk for is either barely enough to make a profit or they are just breaking even. With them it is hard when you figure milk prices really haven't increased all that much over the years even though grain, hay and fuel prices have sky-rocketed.

    Looking into having a large scale dairy requires tons of homework to make sure that it is something that you would be able to do and if it is even a good way to have an income.
     
  4. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    Location, Location..... Look into what demand is in the area.. I've heard that in the NW.. Wa and Oregon, there is a high demand for raw goat milk and small creameries seem to do well.. Do your homework, and who knows? I've seen a small dairy where a lady hand milks less than a dozen goats daily, is really organic, .. dont know if she "lives" on it though...
     
  5. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    Check into 'goat shares' too... there's an article in the dairly goat journal this month... guaranteed customers!
     
  6. luvmyherd

    luvmyherd Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2011
    NorCal
    I am not a very good person to give a *reality check*. I always encourage people to follow their dreams. If you do not mind the hard, honest work; and think that looking out on your dairy every morning, as opposed to getting into your car to do a desk job or work on an assembly line, will make you feel content with your life. DO IT!!!!!!!!! :dance:
    Yes, you need to do all the sensible things like checking codes and demand for your product. Shucks, there may be some government grants out there to help you get going. Check everything. But at least try.
    Oh, and since I am a 9 I will put you at 8. :)
     
  7. SkyesRanch

    SkyesRanch New Member

    694
    Nov 11, 2010
    Stephenville, Texas
    It's so funny this post came up!!! I am actually doing it! I live on 20 acres and I am in the process of building and 18X21 building that meets Texas' requirements for the raw for retail license. I am buying equipment and I am laying the slab next week. =D Super excited!!!!!
     
  8. Goat Song

    Goat Song Senior Member who ain't so Senior

    May 4, 2011
    Oregon
    EEEK!! How exciting, SkyesRanch!! :stars: I don't suppose you would want to post pictures of your progress here on TGS??? Pretty please? :wink: How many goats do you have, and what sort of income are you *hoping* to pull in? (if I may be so bold as to ask that question on a public forum!)

    I'm still trying to wade through all the rules and regulations that are here in OR. I want to have a profitable dairy, with only 3 cows, and 9 goats. I know I can do it, but the tricky part is deciding if I want to do this as a herdshare deal, which would allow me to deliver the milk to a central location, or if I just want to try and sell the milk without the hassle of herdshare... Or do both?? I like working with the milk, but I'm not into the cheesemaking side of things (yet!?).

    But I personally feel that a single, determined person can pull this feat off and have a tidy, 5-6 digit, yearly income.
     
  9. Mandara Farm

    Mandara Farm Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    What an inspiring thread! SkysRanch, that is Fabulous that you're building a goat dairy! Squidgette, I agree with LuvMyHerd -- life is too short not to follow your dreams! AND -- maybe your DH should keep his chef job until you're making a real go of it and can afford for him to quit :wink:

    Keep us posted on your progress and good luck!
     
  10. Squidgette

    Squidgette New Member

    19
    Feb 29, 2012
    You guys aren't exactly talking me out of it! Thank you for the ideas, concerns, support, and feedback! It will take me years of thinking and planning before I actually do anything--no one is quitting his chef job just yet... :wink:
    I did look up the laws for Arkansas and I could sell up to 100 lbs of raw dairy a month from a grade A dairy. There are a couple of goat dairies nearby I'll be touring soon. I'll keep thinking about it...it would take a few renovations to my barn/dairy.

    Congratulations SkyesRanch!! :leap: That is awesome news!! Keep us all posted so we can at least live vicariously through your dairy.
     
  11. SkyesRanch

    SkyesRanch New Member

    694
    Nov 11, 2010
    Stephenville, Texas
    Maybe I should make a seperate thread? LOL Oh and ya'll feel free to ask any questions. Based on my figures I should be making in the 30,000-40,000 range. But you still have to keep in mind, I am big on taking a profit and reinvesting it. So alot of it will go back into the business. After I get going I will make much more. I will be making soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, candles, cheese, yogurt, then of course the actual milk. LOL I will be making alot more things as well. I plan on quitting my job within a year. I am going to have complete faith in this, give it EVERYTHING I have, and except that there will be big losses and hopefully huge gains. I am spending good money on my facilities, as I said the building will be 18X21 and I am going to have a 8 stall barn attached to it. I guess you could say I am going in head first. I live in a community that has a growning interest in goat milk. The goats are not going to be fed grain anymore instead they will be on strict alfalfa and coastal. Why? Because I am going to try to go as organic as possible. I will not advertise my milk as organic as I simply can't go 100%. But I am going to make lots of adjustments. They will also be wormed organiclly. I have 20 does presently, but I am going to work my way up to 60. I am not going to come down on the quality of the goats, I am still only going to buy the best I can get. I also am adding Alpines next year. Only 3 though. I don't want to feed alot of big goats.

    Once I am up and running I will also offer tours of the facility, I would love to inspire others to do this! And those that buy my milk and products, I want them to see the clean place it comes from. I am very OCD so I am very on top of keeping the place clean.

    I live in a college town, however most of the students I have ever met are working at McDonalds or the equivilent. I have the oppertunity to make more than most college students without spending 4 years of my life in school. I have upmost respect for those that believe in college but I personally don't believe it is practical in this day and time.

    Some people want to be an actor, some want to be a chemesist, others want to be a doctor, but me, I want to run a goat dairy. I read a story about a multimillionaire who didn't need any money obviously, but he bought an airstream trailer and made his own recipe for hot sauce. He became well know, and he went beyond succeeding he made millions at that too. Why did he do this? To prove anyone with ambition could fulfill their dreams.
     
  12. Dreamchaser

    Dreamchaser New Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Camp Verde, AZ
    I am also planning on doing a dairy, but I can't afford the start-up right now. Here in AZ, you have to be a grade A dairy to sell milk or dairy products. There is a lot of red tape and regulations. SO, I plan to make my soaps and lotions to fund my dairy project. If I had it to start over again, I would not have bought so many goats at one time. You don't need that many goats to start out with, you can always get more when your business starts to take off.
     
  13. knightrider

    knightrider New Member

    118
    Feb 28, 2012
    so...is there a demand for goat milk lotion and soaps? I always see soaps at the local fairs and wondered if those people sold a lot? I didn't think a goat business was really possible to sustain yourself...and this thread is making me think maybe it is a possibility? How much land do you need for 60 small goats? Right now I only have 3.5 acres, but would like to buy the back 9 acres...not sure if that is enough...what other products would sell well? Cheese? Where would you sell that? Sorry, lotsa questions!