Happy Goat Milk is in High Demand
It all started with a need for goat’s milk for themselves, and then that demand spread all over the neighborhood, and what was initially just a need became an unexpected business for two best friends.
Noelle Hunt and Jessica Ochsenkiel weren’t initially looking to be goat farmers, but they liked being self-employed. Previously, they had run a dog grooming and boarding business, but selling goat’s milk was not something they had considered until a neighbor brought it to their attention after they bought their first Lamacha nanny last March.
“We started out with one goat, then had to get another goat because our neighbor wanted milk and would trade milk for pasture,” Noelle recalled. “Because everyone wanted milk, we didn’t have enough milk for us, so we had to buy more goats.” Pasture wasn’t an issue either with increasing their numbers. Those same neighbors allowed them to graze their goats on their properties, so their less than 2-acre farm blossomed into a 23-acre buffet.
The demand was high in their West Plains, Mo. neighborhood, so the girls added to their herd. Their neighbors were drinking up to two gallons a day, so they really had no choice, especially if they wanted any milk for themselves.
They chose the Lamacha breed because they are a milk goat known for sweet-tasting milk. Now with eight Lamacha crosses for their 15 milking does and breeding more milk producers each year, Noelle continues to sing their praises. Their does produce up to 15 gallons of milk a day.
They bred their nannies and opted to keep a billy from their best milk producing doe and then plan to use that billy to breed their does back to the next year, so they continue to refine the bloodlines to create the ultimate milk goat.
In fact, it was the neighbors who suggested they put out a sign and make it an official business. Noelle decided on the name: “Happy Goat Creamery because happy goats make happy milk.”
They learned that what they fed their goats made a huge difference in the taste of the milk. They feed a homemade mixture of alfalfa pellets, whole oats, corn chops and cottonseed meal to make “better tasting milk.”
They milk three times a day. What they don’t sell is used to feed 11 goat kids and one calf. A Lamacha doe normally has a 3.5 percent cream ratio, but their nannies actually have a 13.24 percent ratio for an even smoother taste.
They also found that goat’s milk can be a miracle cure for babies who can’t digest formula or cow’s milk. A neighbor, whose baby had numerous digestive issues was thrilled when she saw their sign one day. Her now 1-year-old daughter is robust and healthy, saying it is directly due to milk from Happy Goat Creamery.
With a surplus of milk, Noelle and Jessica knew they needed to generate more income to sustain their goat business and the answer they found was in goat milk soap made from natural ingredients.
They also had another reason for turning to making soap. Noelle’s sensitive skin would break out when she used store bought soap, so Jessica began researching how to make soap from their goats’ milk to help her friend’s skin issues, and she succeeded. Their soap is made from goat’s milk, lye, vegetable oil shortening, and with various drops of essential oils for different scents.
They now have 19 varieties of soap and sell them across the United States.
Noelle also teaches cheesemaking classes where customers learn to make raw and pasteurized goat cheese flavors such as jalapeño and Italian with garlic.
What are the future plans for this joyful goat farm? They plan on having more goats, so they can make more soap. Hopefully, they also hope to be able to quit their full-time job to give even more time to what they love.