Recently The Voice spoke with Gazelle, one of the dairy goats at Kinder Farm Park.
The Voice: Hi, Gazelle.
Gazelle: Hi, Maya, it’s so nice to meet you.
Voice: Wow, a talking goat!
Gazelle: Well, how else will you learn about us?
Voice: So for the record, are you a goat or a gazelle?
Gazelle: My name is Gazelle, and I am a Nubian Dairy goat. I earned my name by leaping around the fields like an antelope or a gazelle. There are a few Nubians here, and some Nigerians Dwarf Dairy goats also at Kinder Farm Park in the dairy goat program.
Voice: Tell me, what is your actual job?
Gazelle: I’m here to teach park visitors about dairy goats. During milking season, I get milked every morning and anyone who likes can come watch. You can meet me in person and see how goats are milked. You can learn about what we eat, how we make milk, how goat milk is different from cow milk, why people pasteurize milk and how we think. We really are fascinating, if I do say so myself. My actual job is to teach, and I love it, especially with human kids.
Voice: Tell me more about what you eat. I once heard you can eat tin cans.
Gazelle: False. We don’t eat tins cans or clothes off the clothesline or anything else like that. That doesn’t mean we won’t chew a little to see what it tastes like, but we have a very carefully monitored diet. Ruminants like us need to be careful what we eat. We have a four-chambered stomach, and it needs to stay properly balanced. If someone were to try and sneak us food, it could actually make us sick. Some folks are just trying to be nice and bring us treats, but it can really hurt us.
Voice: Does your diet affect the milk you make?
Gazelle: Absolutely! Great question. If lots of that delicious onion grass comes up and we overindulge, it can make our milk taste onion-y. It isn’t a big deal for making cheese, but no one wants onion flavors in their ice cream!
Voice: I didn’t know goat milk could be used for ice cream!
Gazelle: Oh yes, goat milk makes wonderful ice cream. It is rich and creamy and delicious. Goat milk can be used for cheese and yogurt and soap and lotion and butter – just about anything you would otherwise use cow’s milk. And goat milk is naturally homogenized, so it tastes extra yummy.
Voice: What does “homogenized” mean?
Gazelle: That means that the little fat molecules are mixed all through. Cow milk separates after it comes out of the cow, and the cream rises to the top. If you want cow milk to be the same amount of fat all the way through, you have to use a machine to homogenize it after milking. We goats are able to keep the fats all mixed through. That means when the ice cream or butter hits your tongue, it tastes rich and creamy and delicious.
Voice: So how old do you have to be to make milk?
Gazelle: Just like all mammals, you don’t make milk until you have your own babies. But once we dairy goats have babies, we make so much milk, there is plenty to share with the humans who love it. For example, my friend Dakota, who also lives here, had four babies this year. She is still making more milk than they need. If you come to visit us, you can see all the beautiful ribbons she’s won over the past few years. She’s both lovely and accomplished.
Voice: I can come meet her, too?
Gazelle: Sure! On May 11, we are having a big party. It’s called the Meet the Kids Day at Kinder Farm Park. You can see some animals any day, but on this day we like to get all the babies out where everyone can see them. We will have baby pigs, lambs, kids, bunnies, chicks, cows, quails and alpacas. We will host hayrides, sack races and all kinds of fun things to do with the whole family. We have some wonderful eco goats too, who are working hard gobbling up poison ivy and invasive vegetation. You can have a picnic, see the blacksmiths in action and even see inside a real farmhouse.
Voice: That sounds wonderful, but isn’t it expensive?
Gazelle: It does cost money to have all these wonderful programs. We are entirely volunteer run, from the head cattle wranglers to the tiniest quail incubators. This one day a year, just one day, the money that you pay to come in the gate goes to our organzation called the Friends of Kinder Farm Park. This is how we raise funds for all the animal feed, grain, hay, veterinary care and everything for the whole year. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the farm complex once you are inside the park. Normal gate fees apply, which is $6 per vehicle. A couple of attractions, like the hayride, cost $3-$5 dollars, but most are free. Parking is free. Petting the animals is free. Taking photos of us is free. My agent is going to have a fit, but it’s for a good cause. We aren’t a petting zoo, it’s a real farm designed for education.
Voice: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.
Gazelle: You are most welcome. Come see all of us at 1001 Kinder Farm Park Road in Millersville.
Meet the Kids is on Saturday, May 11 from 10:00am-2:00pm.