Hannah Fox, 16, milks Yvette, one of two dairy goats on the Fox farm. Sequim Gazette photo by Mark Couhig
It's time for dairy goats to make a comeback on the Olympic Peninsula.
That's the word from Wendy and Hannah Fox, cheerleaders-in-chief for all things caprine. The mother and daughter duo are putting a surprising amount of work - and personal resources - into the effort.
The Foxes are starting up a new 4-H chapter to promote the raising of dairy goats and all barnyard animals. Those who are interested actually can park their beasts at the Foxes' 8-acre spread on U.S. Highway 101 just east of Blyn. There's only one catch: you must feed and groom your animals. After all, it's in raising the animals that you gain the most benefit.
"It teaches so many things," Wendy said, "not just husbandry."
"A lot of the 4-H clubs are horse-orientated," she said. "We're going to have goats, chickens, pigs - and horses and dogs. We'll also have sewing, poetry, even politics," she said. "It's not just about farm animals, though farm animals are fun."
The Foxes have two Alpine dairy goats and milk them twice daily. The resulting three-quarters of a gallon of milk is strained, then used for multiple purposes, including drinking.
"We make cheese, soap, give it to the dogs and chickens ... everyone loves goat milk," Wendy said. She said the goat milk is easier to digest.
"People who are allergic to cow's milk can often drink goat milk with fewer side effects."
To make cheese, you only need to add the appropriate culture and flavors. For a soft cheese, "it's pretty much ready immediately," Wendy said. Hard cheese must be aged.
The Foxes don't pasteurize the milk, noting the process "kills a lot of good things."
"It's easy to do," Wendy said, "but it can change the flavor."
Because the Foxes control carefully what the goats eat, "you always know what you're getting," Wendy said.
Wendy says while backyard cows and chickens are returning to homes across the U.S., on the peninsula pygmy goats have replaced dairy goats.
"Pygmy goats are mostly intended for pets," Wendy said.
Some pygmy goats can be milked, including the Nigerian dwarf variety. The Foxes will assist those who would like to purchase and raise goats and other backyard animals.
For more information, call Wendy Fox at 683-8414 or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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