Investing In A Milk Producing Animal

When we breed our diary animals in Missoula Montana, we keep quality and excellence in mind.

We choose our goats from the top dairy goat breeds. We look for great conformation and a breed that produces rich milk with a high butterfat yield. We feel that these are some of the most important qualities needed for showing, breeding and for making awesome cheese, ice-cream and yogurt as well as milk with great taste. The fat globules in goat milk are much smaller and easier to digest than the globules in the milk of a cow. Milk tests are done on our does milk and we have gratefully won several awards for our cheese,  placed in the top ten for milkers and placed in advanced registries for quality milk containing a high butterfat. We also have goats who have received a star for milking which when earned can show a generational excellence for goat milk quality. These milking awards show that these goats have the ability to produce milk and kids that have great potential towards herd improvement.

We also have East Friesian dairy sheep which are known for their ability to produce rich milk with a high butterfat yield. Although sheep milk is good for drinking it is mainly used for making yogurt, ice-creams and for cheese production. These sheep have a very large udder and besides milk for making cheese, we even use some of the sheep as surrogate mothers to our orphaned lambs. Using a surrogate mother helps the lambs grow much better than if we had to use a commercial powdered milk.

The third dairy animal we have on the farm is our Dexter cows. The milk of a Dexter is high in butterfat, creamy and can be used for drinking, cheese making, butter and cream. The great thing about the Dexters, besides fresh milk, is the fact that they are a smaller and easier cow to handle which makes them great for a small farmstead or for a backyard cow.

Read on to discover more fun facts!

Nubian Dairy Goats

Generally, these are the “screaming goats” or “yelling goats” that have been so popular in memes in the United States. Nubian goats were created from a combination of Great Britain, Middle Eastern and North African milking goats. They can be distinguished by long floppy ears and what is called a “Roman” nose. Nubians are also a dual purpose dairy animal. They provide a high butterfat goat milk (great for cheese) but they are also a very popular meat goat. Nubians have a moderate disposition and they love to be involved in every conversation. In other words, they love to talk.

Top butterfat goat milk producing breed of the standard size goats. Around 5%

Nubians have long floppy ears and a “roman” nose

Nubians have a sweet disposition, (unless they can’t get your attention)

Our Nubians are double registered with the ADGA and AGS goat societies

Our Nubians have tested clean for goat diseases like CAE, CL and Johne’s

Lamancha Dairy Goats

Originating from Spain but well suited for America, Lamancha goats have the smallest ears of all the goat breeds. Besides their small ears, Lamanchas are best known for a gentle disposition and a high butterfat milk production, averaging about 4.2% fat concentration. That high butterfat goat milk makes delicious and creamy milk or cheese and we frequently make goodies of all kinds in Missoula from these wonderful animals.

Lamanchas have the smallest ears of the goat breeds

Most Lamanchas have gentle dispositions

Lamanchas have milk with the 2nd highest butterfat, for a standard sized goat. About 4.2%

Our Lamanchas are ADGA registered and AGS registered

Our Lamanchas have tested negative for goat diseases like CAE, CL and Jhone’s

Nigerian Dwarf Goats

The Nigerian Dwarf is one of the smallest dairy goats in the US. They come from the West African area. The Nigerian Dwarf is a smaller dairy goat with short erect ears. These little goats may give smaller quantities of goat milk, but their milk contains the second highest amount of butterfat of all the goats, making them a fantastic dairy animal to have on farms. Nigies, as they are sometimes called have a lovable and friendly temperament and are easy to handle. These characteristics make them great for 4H projects, great pets and we even use them in goat yoga on the farm!

Nigerians are considered a mini dairy goat with short erect ears

Nigies have even and playful dispositions, and are good animals for 4H goats and pets

Nigerians have very high butterfat content for a dairy animal. About 6-10%!

Nigerians are also used as service animals and their babies are often used in goat yoga

Our Nigerians are double registered in ADGA and AGS and are negative for CAE, CL and Jhone’s

Dexter Dairy Cattle

Dexter cattle came from southwestern Ireland in the eighteen hundreds They are some of the smallest cattle breeds in the world. Like most of the animals on the ranch in Missoula, the Dexter is a dual-purpose animal that produces both meat and milk. The meat is very lean and delicious and the milk is full of butterfat which is great for a person’s health and for making cheese. Because of the Dexter’s size, it’s dual purpose and gentle disposition, it is considered to be a perfect mini-cow for a hobby farm or a small homestead.

Dexter cows are some of the smallest cattle of the world and they are considered a mini-cow

These cows are dual purpose animals providing both meat and milk

Dexter meat has been compared to the quality and taste of elk meat

Their smaller size makes Dexters great for hobby farms

Dexter cows are gentle and small making them great for a small homestead

East Friesian Dairy Sheep

East Friesian are a breed of dairy sheep that came from East Frisia in Northern Germany. This breed of sheep was developed specifically for their awesome capacity to make rich sheep milk. Germany holds the genetics for a few breeds of this dairy animal in high esteem and they are proud to have some of the world’s best sheep. Germany likes to cross their East Friesian with their Lacaunes. Therefore the sheep on the ranch in Missoula Montana are an East Friesian/Lacaune mix.

East Friesian dairy sheep are one of the world’s best breed of dairy animals

Friesian dairy sheep have a very gentle disposition

East Friesian dairy sheep are dual purpose dairy animals producing meat and milk

Most Friesian dairy sheep often have as many as 3 lambs at a time where our other sheep have 1 or 2

Our East Friesian dairy sheep are excellent surrogate mothers to our orphaned lambs

When It Comes To Cheese?

We here at Farmer John’s love making cheese from the milk of our dairy animals. Making goat cheese was one of the things that was added to the farm when Cheryl added her goats and cheese making hobby to the farm in Missoula Montana. For years Cheryl entered her cheese products in Texas fairs receiving many awards. Her cheese products were in demand in several restaurants and for special orders for individual’s. It was no surprise that her cheesemaking talents would also be successful in Montana. Cheryl’s cheese was sold in an exclusive wine shop and has been a big hit at private events. She even was asked to cater appetizers made from her cheese for a prestige farm to table gala. Making cheese is exciting and rewarding at the same time and even though Cheryl says she is only a beginner in this hobby, being a beginner sure tastes good. Just don’t let Farmer John know there is fresh cheese or it will quickly disappear!

Kits Are Available

When you own a dairy animal, cheese kits make it easier to be successful cheesemakers by having all the right ingredients available at the right moment. We are hoping to provide some of these basic cheese kits so that anyone can feel the excitement of making their own cheese.

We Keep Things Fresh

One thing about sustainability at the farm is that if something isn’t fresh, we can always feed it to one of our animals. We have no problem doing this because it’s a win-win solution when it comes to providing our customers with the freshest products and feeding treats to our animals. For example, we do our best to make sure our eggs are no more than 1 day old when we sell them. We also like to grow our own herbs. The taste and use of fresh herbs is so much better than using herbs from a store shelf. Our honey is gathered every year. It has no preservatives and it’s fresh off the farm. Although it is pure from our hives you can still see that at some time or another it will crystalize. This is something that you will always find with pure honey. The simple solution is to place the jug of honey in a pot of water and heat it slowly until the honey melts.


Learn More About Dairy!