Woodvale farmer milks the benefits of goats

Retired personal carer Bev Stent has seen the popularity of goat products come and go writes Eloise Johnstone.....

GOATS are in vogue,  as cheeky pets, for meat and for their milk.

“I like goats more than anything,” Bev Stent said.

The Woodvale hobby farmer has milked goats with her husband Ken for the past 33 years, working on breeding and developing quality Anglo-Nubian dairy goats.

Bev described the Anglo-Nubian as the “Jersey cow” of dairy goats. 

They are not high-volume milk producers, but have a high fat yield of more than 4 per cent.

She spends two hours in the morning and at least an hour in the evening milking and maintaining her goats.

“They are very labour intensive,” she said.

“You have to be dedicated. You can’t just decide to take a holiday unless you have someone to help.

“These three or four months at the moment are the most labour-intensive time as they have kids, but you accept that.”

The retired personal care assistant became keen on goats in 1980 when her husband read a story in the paper that said Angora goats were the “animal of the future”.

At that point, goats were worth a lot of money and commodity prices for their hair and milk were high.

Despite the price crashing in the 1980s, the Stents decided to keep them.   

“Because we really like them,” she said.

Now goats are having another revival. 

Food intolerances mean many people are looking for alternatives to cow’s milk.

Goat products have become more popular and are widely available in supermarkets.

Bev believes in the health benefits of goat’s milk and attends farming expos advocating its use. 

She said it was particularly beneficial for children and the elderly, and goat’s milk soap was also particularly good for treating skin conditions.

“Something we try to do is teach people about the benefits of the milk,” she said. “It’s better for some people.”

Bev said they were easier to manage than dairy cows.

“If a cow stands on your foot, you have a broken foot. 

“Goats are smaller and easier to handle. 

“You can pat them and they are so friendly if they get used to being handled when they are kids.”

Bev said she can’t imagine her life without her goats.

“They’re an extended part of the family to a degree. 

“The goats are there every day, all day.”

And any thoughts of retiring?

“I’ve been doing it for 33 years. 

“Sometimes I think about what I would do if I didn’t have them. 

“But they are my main interest. They need me and I need them.”

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