Herd Management

At Bifrost Farms we treat all living creatures with the respect, love and attention to health that we would expect for ourselves. Natural herd management means no chemicals, including vaccinations, preventive care through proper sanitation and nutritional practices and defensive action against illness and accidents by way of herbal and holistic means. This also means we never have to hold back milk to allow medication to clear their bodies.

God and Goddess, wise and old,
bless these creatures that I hold.

Although we have only been raising goats since 2012, we have only resorted to “conventional” treatment once in an emergency situation. Our herd is healthy, happy and does not require the chemical dewormers and vaccinations most goat farms employ. Their immune systems are strong and they get all they need from good nutrition and minimal natural supplementation. However, we value our vets and will not hesitate to intervene with traditional western medicine should one our goats’ lives depend on it.

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NOT JUST HUMANE, BUT NO-KILL

We find homes for all animals who do not fit into our breeding and milking program. Bifrost Farms feels that it is because of us that these animals were brought into the world and thus, it is our responsibility to make sure they are treated to a long, happy life, wherever that may be. No animals from our farm are ever sold for slaughter and meat. Most males are humanely castrated under anesthesia and kept until appropriate homes may be found as pets or brush goats. If we feel that a buckling has the qualities that will better the breed (and they are few and far between), they are sold as herd sires to a like-minded farm where their lives will be just as wonderful as they would be here. Retired does are allowed to laze out their remaining days in the pasture with the rest of the herd, lording it over everyone that they no longer have to do all the work.
www.pinterest.comWe are able to do this partly by “milking through” our does so that they do not have to kid every single year just to produce milk. This program means that we are building our herd on the genetic foundation of “a will to milk.” Not every goat is able to continue milking for more than one lactation season, but we are hoping to expand our herd in that direction. Less kidding means less kids to find good homes for and less stress on the doe. And although a good crossbreed goat would do just as well for us in producing milk for our cheese, we have chosen to concentrate on building an exceptional line of registered Mini-Nubians with correct breed character, outstanding milk lines and a healthy genetic. This translates into a ready market for those goats we do choose to rehome.

In October 2016, we became Animal Welfare Approved certified. We were already practicing what they require, so why not announce it to the world?

NUTRITION AND FEEDING

goat buttsWe plant our own organically grown forage so that we will always know the nutrition in our hay. Until our first harvest, we go out of our way to find the best organic hay in the area for our goats. Likewise, the custom grain mix we feed our milking does and growing kids is organic, non-GMO, non-soy and non-corn. This is top dressed with black oil sunflower seeds and flax seed.  Occasionally I treat them with some Chaffhaye, which they love. It’s a good vehicle for sprinkling with herbs they might need, as it is slightly moist and they stick.

While our goats have free access to quality hay at all times, we do provide herbal supplementation for selenium, copper and other minerals they require on an as-needed basis, as we live in a somewhat deficient area for selenium. And of course they have free access to fresh water with a dollop of organic apple cider vinegar added at all times.

Supplements we use on a regular basis:

  • Fir Meadows herbal Kop-Sel for copper and selenium deficiency
  • Land of Havilah herbal dewormer, along with a mix of three essential ils in their water once a week
  • Azure Standard organic Kelp
  • Bio-Blue from Restora-Life Minerals

Herbal Supplements we keep on hand and use on an as-needed basis, all available through Fir Meadows:

  • ClostridEaze for treatment of enterotoxemia.
  • GI Soother for coccidia.
  • MMune to help boost immune systems in weakened goats.
  • Better Daze as an all around good vitamin and mineral supplement.
  • Lots of other specific herbs used to blend our own mixes for the goats; lobelia, comfrey, marshmallow root, nettle, horsetail, plaintain, oat straw, garlic, cayenne.

* Both Fir Meadows and Land of Havilah are woman-owned businesses by Master Herbalists.

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