How did the Goat Project start?
The idea of keeping goats began in 2004 with a plan to bring dairy goats from France for the production of cheese & yoghurt. The first few goats, 4 females & 1 male, arrived at the Farm in December that same year. Cheese production started immediately & proved to be a big success, but yogurt production proved difficult with such a small herd.
Once several babies were born & a Vietnamese male goat introduced, The Farm was able to establish a breeding program. To obtain a certain resistance without losing milk production ability, we aimed for a breed with 7/8 western & 1/8 local blood. After trials, errors, a few setbacks that were resolved & a growing cross-bred herd, we were able to begin a limited production of cheese.
In November 2008, we obtained additional goats from Thailand through a generous donation, while we ensured their good health & proper certification & vaccination.
At the same time, we started building a new goat stable to accommodate the increased herd. This new goat stable was largely financed by a French NGO called Feu Vert pour le development. A concrete sloped base was constructed to collect the goat droppings to be used as fertilizer at the Farm. We used wood & bamboo to make the rest of the stable. We also planted more forage, such as banana trees & pigeon pee, to satisfy the enormous appetite of our goats.
How Does Having Goats Benefit Our Farm?
We currently produce smooth & delicate goat cheese, which is served at The Farm, and distributed to restaurants in Vang Vieng & Luang Prabang. The production of cheese takes only 3 days through a simple, but highly effective, process.