"Rotational grazing" means controlling when and where an animal grazes by moving the animals between grazing locations (aka paddocks) on a regular basis. For us, we move our goats to a new paddock every 3-7 days. This is very rare for goats, which are normally managed in confinement or with access to single pasture. You may have heard of rotational grazing in relation to raising beef cows, but for dairy goats it's almost unheard of.
To do this we use movable electric fencing. As the forage is consumed in each paddock we closely monitor the correct time to advance to the next paddock.
We like our goats to be as healthy and happy as possible. That's why we provide unlimited access to fresh pasture and fresh air all the time.
What do the Goats do at Night?
We don't confine the goats to a barn at night. Goats graze at night, so confining them to a barn would be counter-productive. If a goat wants to graze at night we say 'let it'. Therefore, we have a dedicated Livestock Guardian Dog" that lives with the herd and protects it at all time.
Feed on the Stand
While the goats consume the vast majority of their diet from grazing, we still provide each goat with some grain on the stand. Generally, this ranges from 0.5lbs to 1lb per day, which is a very small portion of the total amount our goats will eat (close to 7lbs per day).
All of our grain is Certified Organic and is purchased locally from Windy Acres Farm, just North of Nashville. Alfred and ____ produce some of the highest quality, organic grain you can find. We even buy their "food grade" grain for ourselves to use in our home kitchen.
No antibiotics are admininistered unless an animal's life is deemed at risk. We do not use preventative medicines as our management practices avoid many of the reasons for using preventative medicines. Instead of taking pills and visiting the doctor every few months, our goats eat healthy and exercise a lot.
If we do administer a drug or antibiotic we always follow the guidelines for disposing of that milk separately. It will never make it into our processing system.
Impact on the Environment
Because our herd is rotationally grazed and fed only the highest quality organic grain, our impact on the the rocky soils of middle Tennessee has been favorable. Through our grazing patterns and the constant return of manure to the soils we are slowly building up the organic matter and health of our land.
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