The Holy Goat lineage is now well into it’s fifth generation. Vision was one of our original goats and you can see her genes carried on through into this latest crop of kids.Carla
Genetics are an important consideration on our farm. We believe that environment, animal care and nutrition are 90% of the story, genetics the rest. But faulty genetics will never result in a happy, healthy, productive animal. Inbreeding can cause conformation weaknesses, neurological problems and poor milk production. So we work just as hard on improving that 10%.
People think it’s nice or quaint, that we name all our goats. In fact it’s for a very practical reason. Not only can we and our staff remember each and every animal when we look at them, milk them and feed them, but through their name we become aware of every other goat that she is linked to – the whole family ancestry and all that comes with it.
Naming our goats gives us instant recognition of family lines and traits. Traits get carried down through the lines. Besides this behavioural tendency, conformation is another major feature – sturdy feet, well formed udders, strong build and good milking volume are all highly heritable.
Our breeding plans are put in place well before joining, based on generations of observation – of a goat’s mother, sister, aunt, grand mother, her sire. We don’t mate underperforming does. Over the years of working with the herd we make connections and we are always thinking about heritage, ancestry, progeny. At every milking we look down the line and ask how is this goat performing? How true is she to her heritage? How variable are her traits, compared to her relatives? What could the next branch of this family tree be?
Of course, the Holy Goat herd encompasses more than just our goats.
Ann-Marie and Carla have developed their organic herd management and cheese making skills on a diverse range of farms both in Australia and overseas. Holy Goat cheese reflects a respect and care for the natural environment, the health and well being of the goatherd and an integrated wholistic farm management.
Carla spent her childhood in Warrnambool (a Victorian country town) where the local dairy supplied the family with raw (unpasteurised) cow’s milk and the cheese factory delivered a weekly supply of plain yoghurt. Carla has a Bachelor of Education (music, history and politics).
Ann-Marie grew up on the outskirts of Melbourne where her love of animals grew from raising ducks and pet goats. Ann-Marie has a Bachelor in Agricultural Science, a Diploma of Education, and a Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education, and has completed 2 years of a Degree in Health Science.
Our staff bring to the farm their own individual skills, passions and experiences, from working on the land, to cheese-mongering, to catering and hospitality. We value everyone and recognise as a team we are vibrant, caring, growing and committed to the life of the farm, goats and the cheese.
Our farm has provided a unique learning opportunity for the many interns that have come to Holy Goat from locally and overseas. Some have stayed on to work for us, others have gone out into the world and pursued their own dairyfarming dreams.