What is a Herdshare?
A herdshare is a shared ownership of a herd of animals. In this case, goats. The herd is allocated a set number of shares, just as a stock would have. Individuals or families are able to purchase shares in the herd. The herd is actively maintained, managed, and milked and the owners pay a monthly boarding fee to the manager. Since the herd has does that are milking, the share owners are entitled to the milk that the herd produces (think dividends).
We have a lovely herd of three La Mancha does. Two are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association and all come from strong milk production lines. La Mancha’s are a fantastic breed: quiet, very loving, and strong milk producers. This is why they are our chosen breed for this herdshare. La Manchas tend to give milk with a butterfat of 4.2%. Whole cow milk has a butterfat of about 3.25%. The milk is great for fresh drinking, ice cream, kefir, or cheesemaking. Check out our Instagram page for more pictures of these lovely ladies and their kids.
In keeping in line with the mission and methods of the farm, our herd is holistically managed with the herd’s health, happiness, and productivity in mind. Our does are fed locally sourced high quality alfalfa and a mix of organic freshly sprouted field peas, barley, and oats, and free-choice mineral and organic kelp for micronutrient supplements.
The does are milked every day to ensure they are not uncomfortable with a completely full udder. Milking is performed by hand and we will be moving to using an electric pump. Milk is promptly chilled and jarred. This maximizes nutrient viability and minimizes possibility for contamination.
We use an herbal dewormer as preventative measures. Only if the worm load becomes too high and the health of the doe is in danger would we use a chemical dewormer (have not had to yet). If that situation arises, we will notify owners and the milk from that doe will not be in circulation until the dewormer is out of the system.
Upon purchasing a share of the herd, you will commit to a day for your milk. Local pickup and very limited local delivery is free of charge. Days and times will need to be coordinated ahead of time and strictly maintained. Each week you will return the previous week’s mason jars cleaned and receive newly sanitized and filled jars. If you are unable to perform regular local pickup in Escondido, please inquire about delivery to your area.
Breeding, Kidding, and the Dry Period
Our does must have kids in order to produce milk. They will be bred as their milk production tells us that it is time to do so again. This occurs every 12 to 18 months. During pregnancy, their milk production diminishes due to the added strain of the baby on the body. Two months prior to having kids, the does will not be milked to allow their body time to recover leading up to the birth. We do this for the health of the does.
Share price is a one time cost of $10. There is also a yearly jar fee of $5 to cover the costs of purchasing/replacing/cleaning of the glass milk jars. The boarding fee is $35/month and covers feed, general veterinary services, and general herd management. If and when you decide to do so, you can sell your share back to us for the price you purchased it at.
To sign up for the herdshare, you must sign the herdshare agreement. Email us with your information and we will send you the herdshare agreement and work out any details.
Q: How much milk will I get for one share of the herd?
A: Milk production will vary throughout the year. Some weeks there will be more, some will be less. The size of the herd is such that you will receive about a half gallon per week.
Q: What if I don’t want milk for a week. Do I still need to pay the boarding fee?
A: Yes. As a part owner, you are responsible for your share of the costs. Whether you take the milk or not is your own choice.
Q: How many shares can I buy?
A: You can purchase as many shares as you would like up to the amount of currently available shares
Q: I would like to buy some of your milk. Who do I need to call to make that happen?
A: We do not sell our milk as that is illegal. Our members receive milk from the animals that they own.
Q: Do I need to accept the milk only in the form of milk?
A: Upon your request, your milk can be made into kefir. We will use your share’s quantity of milk and you will receive the resulting amount of kefir. (It will be a little less than the original share size.) We do not currently offer a fresh cheese option, but if we have enough interest, this could be made an option.