Honey Doe Farm is a small-scale dairy goat family farm owned by Francine & Lance Hays. We have almost 18 acres on a partially wooded property with Iron Creek running through a portion of the land. This is a perfect place to raise Nigerian Dwarf, La Mancha, and Boer goats. We take pride and work hard to maintain healthy productive goats. We are a Certified Grade 'A' Artisan cheese producer, so keep an eye out for us and our products.
Honey Doe Farm is a unique single-family operation. Lance Hays, who is Deaf and communicates using American Sign Language, is the primary farmer working full-time for the care and maintenance of the goats, the farm. He makes outstanding cheese too. Francine Hays works part-time on the farm as well as off the farm as American Sign Language Interpreter.
Honey Doe Farm grew out of a family need. Our daughter, Amanda, was diagnosed as lactose intolerant about the age of five. We started her on soy milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. We later learned about the wonders of goat's milk and its being more easily digestible for humans. The problem was the taste of goat milk sold in stores. It had a powerful off-flavor. It was awful.
Then we met a family who had milk goats. Fresh goats milk was incredible tasting; creamy and sweet. We became intrigued by the idea of having our own source of goat milk. Then Francine took one cheese making class from Gianaclis Caldwell, author of “The Farmstead Creamery Adviser”, when we both lived in San Diego County, California. The dream of having our own fresh milk and our own homemade cheese was irresistible. We started learning about goats. We bought our first goats after our move to Idaho in January 2005. We finally started milking our own goats!
From our first purchase of 8 goats, 4 Nigerian Dwarfs & 4 LaManchas, our herd has grown to almost 100 goats. We have had the guidance of wonderful goat people like Jodi Groneman of God's Grace Dairy in Blackfoot, Idaho, who was our 4-H teacher and a dear friend. Our husbandry knowledge of goat care and nutrition has grown, our milking & dairy knowledge and our learning the exciting adventure of making a variety of cheeses has also grown. We love drinking our fresh raw milk and making a variety of cheeses for personal use, preparing us to share our raw milk and cheeses with others. We look forward to becoming Certified as a Grade 'A' Dairy in the future and offering goat's milk and cheese, produced by our marvelous herd.
Honey Doe Farm raises two dairy breeds, LaMancha & Nigerian Dwarf goats. We also raise a market goat breed, Boer. We currently have a herd of about 90 goats, consisting of mature does, bucks and young kids. This past season we were milking about 30 does. This next season, we will be milking over 45 does. Our current does are due to kid starting in February 2011.
Here at Honey Doe Farm we strive to treat our goats with exceptional care. We disbud, vaccinate, and do everything in our power to ensure our goats go on to lead long, healthy, productive lives. We maintain as natural an environment as possible providing limited grain and alfalfa for our does in milk; but our primary focus is on nutritious hay, minerals, and additional supplements such as dolomite, yeast, kelp, and bran. Unlimited access to our clean well-water is essential for milk production and vital for coping with hot days here in Texas.
For optimum herd health copper boluses are done twice a year and we de-worm based on egg count and FAMACHA scale, We also perform regular health examinations to ensure that milk produced will be from healthy goats. Every year the milking does’ are tested for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis. We also test for CAE and CL as needed. Another factor in health is providing forage and exercise. A large portion of our property provides excellent forage for goats adding variety to their diet and flavors in their milk unique to Texas. We constantly seek breed improvement. We carefully select the buck for each doe, seeking to have kids that surpass their dams and sire.
Goat people are generous in sharing their expertise. Here are a few of our favorite sites for goat health and husbandry:
Our favorite Books:
Natural Goat Care by Pat Colby Sheep
Goat Medicine by D. G. Pugh