Nature's Pantry Farm is located just north of the historic town of Montgomery, Texas on 6 acres. It began as a section of woods, within the Sam Houston National Forest, that much dedication was spent turning it into a small homestead. Today NP Farms is home to a small herd of dairy goats, a flock of chickens, and a handful of other farm animals. It also reaps the benefits of a year round family garden with fruit trees. The farm has been (for many years and still is) a work in progress. It was first used to raise a large family and now it‘s continuing to develop into a working homestead.
NP Farms began raising Nubians, Mini Nubians, and Alpines in 2008. Stock was gathered from quality herds with health, milk production, and conformation as the primary focus. Dairy lines such as Goldthwaite, Pruittville, Kastdemur, Lakeshore, Nordaway, and Hill N Holler are found in the pedigrees of these exceptional dairy goats.
All of the farm’s dairy goats are registered. Most are purebred Nubians registered with the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). Some have been registered with the International Dairy Goat Registry (IDGR) such as the minis and bucklings from the NOA and Grade does.
NP Farm has also started a bath and body product line. Products such as goat milk soap, lotion, sugar scrubs, bath salts, lip balm, and many more. The focus is on healthy skin and safe natural ingredients.
Dairy Goat Care and Health Management
The health of the herd is of highest importance to the farm. The goats are blood tested annually in the fall for CAE along with pregnancy testing through BioTracking. The goats have always been CAE negative from the first goat purchased back in 2009. Last year the farm started testing for G6S on the Nubian and Nubian mixed goats. This is a genetic disease. So far, all the bucks and every doe that has been tested have tested Normal. Testing will continue until all goats have testing results.
Natural/alternative health care methods are used on the farm daily. This is preferred but intervention is used when necessary. Goats on the farm are vaccinated for CD&T, staph and pasteurella, wormed routinely pre-breeding and post kidding and as needed based on fecal testing. Copper bolus and Selenium injections are given twice a year since it is a copper and selenium deficient area. The results in overall health, quality of coat hair, and parasite resistance are invaluable with this prevention method. Goats are also placed on a monthly hoof trimming schedule.
The farm feeds a 17% alfalfa pellet free choice with plenty of fresh water and coastal hay. The milkers are fed whole grains that are custom mixed (crimped oats, crimped barley, cracked corn, dehydrated beet pulp, Diamond V yeast, and BOSS). They are also given free choice Tech Master Complete minerals and baking soda. The goats are rotated on divided pastures throughout the year allowing them to browse on assorted grasses that are periodically planted and wild growing brambles and yaupon.
Farm Milk production
The dairy goats are bred for milking performance as well as conformation and are expected to milk 10 months out of 12 and stay in quality condition at the same time. The farms mature does milk 1-11/2 gallons a day. The first fresheners milk a little less but often have peaked at a gallon in their first lactation. Does are raised and trained to be easy milkers with good behavior and pleasant temperament on the milk stand. This makes it easier to place them with new owners at any time. It is also reassuring that the grandkids are safe if they help with farm chores on visits. Does are selected with nice udder texture, good size teats and large orifices to earn a place in the milk barn.
The milk is collected by machine with inline filters and is immediately chilled to extend its longevity. Goat milk is fragile and the utmost care must be utilized when processing raw milk. Milk will stay fresh for 7-10 days. Nubian and Mini Nubian milk is sweet, rich and creamy. The farm uses this milk to make cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, whey protein drinks, and goat milk soap.
Farm Breeding and Kid Raising
The farm raises Nubians, Mini Nubians, and Alpines. Most of the does cycle in the fall. Does are bred when they reach 100lbs and are at least 8 months old. Does are placed with the buck during standing heat, long enough for a successful breeding then rebred again in 8-12 hrs. Blood tests are sent to BioTracking on all does bred at 30 days after breeding to test for pregnancy. This is to confirm whether or not the does have settled or need to be rebred. Does are dried off 2-3 months before due dates, and this dry period is used to properly condition them for delivery and upcoming lactation.
All births are attended and kids are pulled immediately to be raised on a bottle for CAE prevention. Kids are feed milk 4x a day. Doe kids aren’t weaned until 6 months of age, milk feedings are decreased with age to 3x, 2x and eventually 1x daily. Plenty of calcium is important for the growth of kids so the longer they are on milk the better. Kids are offered free choice alfalfa pellets, medicated pellets for control of coccidiosis, and coastal hay until they are 1 yrs old. They have access to fresh water, minerals, and baking soda daily. All kids are raised on cocci prevention and wormed monthly until 6 months old. They are vaccinated for CD&T at 6, 9 and 12 weeks. Kids are added to the once a month rotation of hoof trimming with the rest of the herd.