products & services – Resilient Manitoulin

By: Resilient Manitoulin  09-12-2011


What is a goat share?
It is partial ownership of a dairy goat. Owning a portion of a dairy goat, allows you to benefit from the milk that animal produces. In Ontario, you can drink milk from your own goat without it being processed in any way. By owning a share in a goat, you have a fresh supply of your own goat’s milk to drink because the milk that goat produces is divided equally among the shareholders to be picked up at the farm at a designated time.

How does a goat share work?
You, and 4 others along with you, own a share in a goat. You benefit from owning a share of the goat by receiving your portion of the milk the goat produces. As with any animal, goats require care (i.e., feeding, general maintenance, breeding and milking). Circle M Farm will board your goat, care for it, milk it, and prepare the milk for you to pickup from the farm. This is called husbandry. You pay a monthly husbandry fee that covers the costs associated with raising animals.

How much milk can I expect from one goat share?
One share will provide approximately 2-3 litres of milk/week for about thirty two weeks. (Goats normally produce at least 14 litres of milk per week.) The average lactation for a goat is around 8 months (April to December) . However, a goat may milk for a shorter or longer period of time, and her milk supply may fluctuate throughout her lactation period, so the amounts associated with a share will fluctuate as well from week to week.

What if I want more milk than 2-3 litres per week?
Simply purchase more shares. You can purchase as many goat shares as needed.

How much does it cost?
You first must purchase a program membership/share which costs $50.00 per year. Now that you own a goat share you need someone to look after your goat. Husbandry fees are $40.00 per month during the goat’s lactation period and $30 per month during the dry period. The reason for the reduction in cost is the goat’s nutritional needs decline as she is not having to produce milk, and a reduction in time needed to look after your goat.

How do I pay my husbandry fee?
Husbandry fees must be paid on the first of each month by cash, post-dated cheque or money order. All monthly fees must be paid in advance and not during a scheduled milk pick-up time.

How do I get started?
Thoroughly review the information provided about Goat Shares contained in this information package. Feel free to contact Circle M Farm with any questions you may have. Request and review the contract from Circle M Farm, as well as the Terms and Conditions. Sign the contract and once payment is received you will be the proud owner of a dairy goat share. You will be provided with a copy of your contract, a bill of sale for your share, and a brief outline of the program including the Terms and Conditions for your records.

What happens if I can no longer use the goat milk?
If you find yourself no longer needing as many shares, or any at all, please make sure you give Circle M Farm adequate notice. You may sell your share to the next person on our waiting list, as that opportunity becomes available. You may not sell your shares to a third party. Please note: it is illegal to sell milk in Ontario if you are not a licensed and inspected dairy. Never sell your excess milk.

As a goat share holder, will I have a share in the kids?
No, the ownership of all kids will remain with Circle M Farm.

What happens if my goat dies, or needs to be replaced?
Circle M Farm will be held responsible for making the determination if a goat needs to be replaced. If your goat dies or is determined by Circle M Farm to need replacement, a new goat will be obtained as soon as one becomes available. The husbandry fee will be waived until such time as a replacement goat is found. Once a new goat is obtained, your share will be transferred to that goat.

Why raw Goat’s milk?
Firstly, Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk because it’s proteins are smaller and it is closer in composition to human milk (what our bodies were designed to digest). Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. Pasteurization is a process that involves heating milk to a point that kills bacteria. Unfortunately, all bacteria is killed in the process, including healthy bacteria. Raw milk is also rich in enzymes which would normally be destroyed during the processing of commercial milk. In fact studies have shown that raw milk contains all 22 essential amino acids as well as numerous vitamins and minerals that are hard to obtain through most diets. Raw milk also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which has been proven to fight cancer. It really is beneficial food to add to your diet.

Are goat shares legal?
Yes, they are. It is not legal in Ontario to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk to the public. Since you own a share in the goats at Circle M Farm, you may legally use the milk from your share of the goats in any way you see fit. In following the law, you must purchase a share of the dairy goat herd at Circle M Farm and then pay a monthly husbandry fee for your goat share. You will be asked to sign a contract for your goat share at the time of its purchase. You will receive a Bill of Sale for your share and a copy of the written contract.

How should I handle my milk after I pick it up?
The milk from your goat will be raw – that is, it is not heat-treated or pasteurized. It will be chilled; and you should take care that it remains so until you can get it home and into your refrigerator. If you have some distance to drive or stops to make before you arrive home, it is very important to keep the milk at refrigerator temperature until you return home. Your milk will be filtered into 1 litre mason jars that have been thoroughly sterilized before use. When you empty a jar of milk at home, it is very important that you rinse out the jar thoroughly with warm water first to avoid milk deposits being left on the jar. Then wash thoroughly with soap and hot water, rinse well, and dry completely before putting on the lid. Dishwashers are fine for cleaning milk jars after being rinsed. We ask that you return the previous week’s jars to the farm when you come to pick up more milk. If jars are not returned or are returned dirty or damaged, a jar replacement fee of $2.00 each will be applied to the next month’s husbandry fee.

How long will raw milk keep?
Handled as described above, the milk will easily keep a week with no change at all in quality. It is very good practice to date your milk as soon as it is received. Research shows that fresh milk will keep as long as 15 days if kept at a reasonable temperature.

What should I do with milk that is more than a week old?
As long as the milk still smells and tastes good to you, it is fine to use it. However, you will be getting milk each week. Therefore, if you find you are consistently having extra milk, try making some milk products, like yogurt, cheese, or soap from it. Contact Circle M Farm for suggestions or recipes for goat’s milk products. Some pets will enjoy and benefit from any leftover milk as well.

Why does a layer of cream form on top of the milk?
Goat milk is naturally homogenized, meaning the fat is suspended in the milk. However, our milk is high in butterfat and some of the cream may rise to the top of the milk. You can skim this off if you want to use the cream. For drinking or cooking with the whole milk, just shake the container well before pouring so that the cream is again dispersed into the milk.

Can the milk be frozen?
Yes, but the butterfat from raw milk will separate out as flakes and will not blend in again when thawed. This will lead to a strange texture. It is still healthy and fine to drink, however it may not be as palatable to some peoples’ taste. It may be used for cooking or baking purposes, and is fine for making cheeses and soap.

Can the milk be pasteurized on the stove top?
You can pasteurize your own milk if you wish or Circle M Farm can do it for you. If doing it yourself, please contact Circle M Farm for proper pasteurization techniques. However, there are many advantages to using milk raw, both nutritionally and in terms of its versatility. Given the care that Circle M Farm takes for the health of its goats and the hygiene of its milk, we feel you can be confident in using this high quality milk just as it comes from the goat.

Can Goat’s Milk be consumed by someone with lactose intolerance?
Yes. Goats’ milk is the easiest kind of milk for humans to digest, because goat milk proteins are most similar to the protein found in human milk, which is what our bodies were designed to digest.

Prepared by Patti McKenzie of Circle M Farm

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

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