At EcoFriendly Foods, all of our goats are raised outdoors, in an environment that lets them be goats. Their diet consists of shrubs, medicinal wild plants and herbs, grass, and a little supplemental hay. Goats can eat just about anything and be happy, but they thrive on a diet of woody plants (e.g. blackberry or rose bushes), tree twigs & leaves, saplings, and vines like kudzu. As a rule of thumb, they’re healthiest when the majority of their forage is coming from plant sources that come up to at least mid-thigh. The taller the better. This ensures that their forage will be free from parasites, something to which goats (and sheep) are extremely vulnerable. As an extra precaution, we supplement our goats’ diet with Diatomaceous Earth, a mineral product composed of finely crushed fossilized shell remains, whose sharp edges rupture the exoskeletons of any parasites that may have found their way into our goats’ stomachs.
More on diet…
Most farmers will tell you that goats need lots of grain. This simply isn’t true. Goats are ruminants, just like cows, sheep, or deer. They’re designed to eat living plants. With proper management – i.e. planned rotational grazing – our farmers have been able to eliminate grain entirely. So what is planned rotational grazing? It’s a sophisticated system of observing pasture growth and appropriately timing the density and duration of each grazing. In English, that translates to “keep the paddocks small and move your animals a lot.”
The fact is, most goats are raised in huge paddocks and moved rarely. This gives the pasture no time to rest, which depletes the soil and inhibits proper regrowth. This makes the nutrition of the grass very poor. Within this kind of pasture management system, it’s no wonder why farmers think they’ve got to feed their animals grain in order to get them to “grow out.” The theory of managed grazing, on the other hand, is: “If you take care of your pasture, it will take care of your animals.” So, by managing our grass, we can raise a healthy, fat, nutritious animal with absolutely no grain.
Our Production Standards at a glance
What we ARE and what we ARE NOT?
- We are not certified organic.
- We use no herbicides or pesticides on the pastures where our goats live.
- We use no hormones or artificial growth stimulants.
- Our goats are free of antibiotics.
- Our goats are 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised.
- Our goats are regionally raised within either the Cheaspeake Bay or North Carolina Sounds watersheds.
We consider transparency to be one of the most critical elements in developing sustainable relationships with our customers. If you have any questions about our family of farmers, or about any other link in the EcoFriendly food chain, please feel free to contact us.