Could this little guy be any cuter?
He's looking for a new home too 😉 Although he's kind of turned into my little teddy bear so it might be hard to give him up. ❤
Shady Oak Farm is a heritage farm located in North Iowa. Our goal is to be a part of our community by educating and offering experiences of our farm life.
Could this little guy be any cuter?
He's looking for a new home too 😉 Although he's kind of turned into my little teddy bear so it might be hard to give him up. ❤
It's Small Business Saturday and I think that means it's time for a giveaway! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Small Business Saturday than to partner with a local business that we love!
Like our page, Share and comment on this post and you'll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win! But you must do all 3. Winner of the drawing will win one gift box containing their choice of 1 bar of Shady Oak Farm Goat Milk Soap and 1 lotion bar tin from Cedar Lane Acres. The drawing will be on December 1st.
If you haven't tried the lotion bars from Cedar Lane Acres, nows your time! They pair perfectly with our soap - with both products focusing on a more natural product that's good for your skin, it just makes sense that they go together.
Don't forget our online store is open to place your order - our soap is a favorite for stocking stuffers! You can also pm us to place your order. And stay tuned in the coming weeks for more giveaways! 🐐🧼
One of our best selling soaps is the Citrus Coffee Blend. This soap has ground espresso which provides exfoliation and extra scrubbing power. Many of our customers use this soap after gardening or working outside and it just so happens to be a favorite for men after working in the shop!
Our soaps are available online or pm us to place your order!
Happy Thanksgiving Farm Friends!
I had full intentions of a quick return from the barn back into a warm house, but I couldn't turn down the invitation for a winter walk from the goats.
I spent a lot of time investigating these woods as a kid and I'm grateful that the goats have brought me back to it.
Who knows what kind of hoodrat things the goats would get into.
These two had a date this week 😍
Someone put yourself on this waiting list so I don't retain any kids 😂
Onyx will be a FF but I am SO excited to see her udder. She will be my first Zipper daughter to freshen. And of course, who wouldn't be excited for kids by Curbstone Valley Joshua Tree?!
We don't have a booth but did restock soap at Lola's and Rejuvenate!!
I've been battling illness this week so haven't been able to enjoy the snow much, but I had to run outside to capture proof of the goats outside while it snowed a few days ago.
For those of you who know goats, especially the dramatic Nigerian Dwarf breed, you know how special this is!
I've been working towards this goal for a few years as my herd was quite dramatic in past winters. But now I can safely say they are choosing to venture out into the cold and snow for some browsing time despite having full hay mangers in the barn. They rotate between hay and browse throughout the day, which is so much healthier for them than staying cooped up in the barn all winter long!
Just a reminder that breeding has started and we'll have kids as early as March! We do keep a wait list so feel free to reach out about potential breedings!
A few notes about our breeding program:
1. I do NOT place any value on traits that mean nothing to the animals conformation, production, temperament and overall health. This means that any of my goats that are polled, have moonspots or have blue eyes are not bred for those traits but for their body structure and function and for improving the breed standard. It is hard not to question anyone breeding an animal simply for color and flash. These are fads and my animals are not meant to satisfy a fad.
2. Our kids are dam raised but trained for a bottle. I do not sell bottle kids unless something unfortunate happens that forces me to have bottle babies. However, the kids are easy to handle and show. If I end up with any wild ones, I will notify any interested buyers.
3. Our goats are used to spending most of their days outside browsing. I start training kids to follow me and the herd for browsing and goat walks at a young age.
4. All of my does are milked and I retain a fair number of doelings each year. Because of this I'm familiar with my herd, how they perform on the milk stand and what kind of does my sires produce.
5. I do my best to place potential buyers with goats that will match their needs! Not all goats are created equally and even though you strive for consistency in your herd, genetics can be fickle. It's important to me that you have the goat that works best for you so that the relationship is a success! If I feel that I don't have any goats that match your needs, I will tell you instead of trying to sell you something that isn't going to work. Promoting the goat industry is what's important to me, not the sale.
And most importantly! If you do not buy a goat from me, please don't feel that I can't still be a resource for any questions, etc! There are many herds that I hold a great amount of respect for but have never purchased their animals. If you pass on mine, but buy somewhere else, that's okay! I'm still happy to help with any goat related questions!!
Because it's rut and I work in HR, I had to share this. 😆 🤣
Shady Oak Farm Goat Milk Soap is Mac approved! This big guy's owner is one of our biggest supporters and it looks like Mac agrees! Isn't he handsome?!
A little reminder from the goats - don't forget to vote!
Holiday scents are available! We almost sold out of a few of these in Wesley so don't miss out! The online store will be up and running but feel free to message us now to get your order placed!
We take cash, card, Venmo and PayPal!
$7/bar or 3 for $20.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Why do we choose not to use fragrance oils?
It's simple - I want to know what I'm putting in my products and what my customers will be using on their skin!
Over the last 10 years or so, I've become sensitive to many different artificial scents. I have no idea what ingredient causes it, because when I ask any manufacturer, they will not tell me what is in their fragrance. I decided I needed something for myself to use and from that stemmed our artificial fragrance free soap.
It's important to me that my customers KNOW what they are putting on their bodies.
How do you know if manufactured scents are in a product? Simply look for the ingredient- fragrance or perfume. That one listed ingredient is most likely 100s of synthetic chemicals to create the fragrance oil. Or ask the manufacturer of the product. Some products, like soap, don't actually require ingredients to be listed on their labels!
Trying something new for the winter season. I'm hoping to encourage the goats to go outside as much as possible this winter. They have a heated automatic waterer and will have hay as well outside of the barn. So to help keep drafts to a minimum with the barn door open, I installed this freezer strip curtain in the doorway. It was easy to install, let's some extra light in the barn and seems to be holding up well so far. I'll be interested to see how it does in the colder months - of course in storms or very cold weather, I will close up the door, but I think this may work well during those more mild winter days.
We had a great time at the Sip & Shop in Wesley last night! We got to share our story about the goats and soaps! Our Peppermint Eucalyptus and Rosemary Mint snowflakes were a favorite along with our usual top sellers - Lavender Rosemary and Citrus Coffee Blend!
We will be at the Kluver Community Center Craft Show next, as well as restocking our stores and opening up the online store for holiday sales!
Of course, if you're looking for something specific, feel free to send a message and we can work out the details!!
All set up and ready to go!
Today will be our very fist market to try out! We'll be in Wesley at the Holiday Sip & Shop 2022 from 5:30-8pm! We're excited to meet some new faces and talk goat & soap!! We'll have some gift boxes and stickers too!
Shady Oak Farm is excited to be teaming up with Cedar Lane Acres to offer their lotion bars with our gift boxes this holiday season!
Some of our customers have inquired about goat milk lotion in the past. Unfortunately, that just won't be part of our plan here for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because the ingredients/preservatives required with goat milk lotion just doesn't make sense to partner with our artificial fragrance and dye free soap.
However, I love lotion bars as they are a great way to provide the benefits of the oils and butters in lotion without all the crazy ingredients lotions need. I've been wanting to find a lotion bar company to refer my customers to, but until recently, didn't know of a local one.
I met Tora with Cedar Lane Acres a year ago when she purchased a goat from me but it wasn't until recently that I discovered her wonderful lotion bars! A few weeks ago I developed what I thought was a cold sore, but discovered I had developed an allergy to scented chapsticks- not a surprise since most artificial scents bother me. This was was the worst reaction I've had though - swollen, red lips that burned and tingled. I had to ice them every night and I really didn't care to eat. When I explained to my mom what happened and that I figured out what caused it, she recommended the Cedar Lane Acres lotion bar as a lip balm. Now I'm hooked and won't use anything else! A few reasons I'm so excited about this partnership:
1. I love partnering with local businesses whether it's the farm's that I buy lard from, the stores I sell my soap to and now Cedar Lane Acres!
2. They place value on products free of harsh chemicals- just like us!
3. She's a goat lover like me - can't beat that!
4. I now have a great business to refer my customers to who are looking for a lotion bar to compliment my soap!
We will be opening up the online store very soon! Be on the lookout for these gift boxes and be sure to check out the Cedar Lane Acres page!
Caught some sleepy heads last night. Beverly and Opal (sisters) with Beverly's daughter in the middle. All 3 are such pretty girls 😍
Idgie and Ruth got to experience "ears" today with their bat wings Halloween costumes. Of course they both behaved wonderfully as expected. However we've come to the conclusion the real reason LaManchas don't have "normal" ears is because they ate them. 😆 🤣
Happy Halloween farm friends!
🎃 👻 🐐 🎃 👻🐐
Thinking I'll need to get this one on a canvas. Captured this pretty shot of my sweet girl, Addie, yesterday morning during our walk. She always poses so nicely for me. 💜
Although I don't recommend housing goats and horses together, the goats here are able to sneak into the horse pasture. They all get along fine, but it is a little nerve wracking when the 20 lb kids are getting a little too close to the biggest horse. Prince is gentle and would probably cuddle with the goats if he could.
Using goats for browsing has become a passion of mine I did not intend on but one that I'm grateful for. As my dairy herd grows, I'm seeing the benefits of them browsing my land. This info graphic shows the importance of browsers and how they've been eradicated from certain areas.. which has certainly had its impacts on the land. Goats are a great option for those who want to rejuvenate land and control invasive species. I'm happy that their "they eat anything" stereotype is being recognized as more of a "they eat the right things other animals won't" benefit.
My hope is to someday have a separate browsing herd so that others can rent them out. This will allow me some flexibility in both industries while benefiting my land and the herd, as well as my mental health - walking with the herd is a great stress reliever!
Adding goats to cattle herds
- mimics historic use
- increases use of woody plants
Bygone Grazers: Historical Accounts of Lost Browsers & Grazers
Elk - 1804, Dixon County, NE - Lewis and Clark Expedition
"1 elk killed; 2 elk observed swimming across the Missouri River"
Elk - 1806, Smith County, KS - Zebulon Pike
"In about a mile we discovered a herd of elk which we pursued."
Pronghorn - 1806, Lyon & Coffey Counties, KS - Zebulon Pike
"[We] killed one carbie (pronghorn), two deer and two turkeys"
Elk & Pronghorn - 1832, Cimarron River, OK - Washington Irving
"..tracks of... elk, deer, antelope, bears, raccoons, turkey and waterfowl were numerous at the edge of the river."
Bison - 1819, Potato Hills, Latimer County, OK - Thomas Nuttall
"Herds of bison roamed the prairie and bolted as the soldiers gave chase.."
Elk & Bison - 1800, Brazos River, TX - Ellis P. Bean
"..we found elk and deer plenty, some buffalo and wild horses by the thousands."
Elk - 1842, Starr County, TX - William Stapp
"... deer, elk, turkeys and Mexican hogs are found in abundance.."
Read more about multi-species grazing here! https://www.theprairieproject.org/project-information/solutions/multi-species
We'll be in Wesley this coming week for their Holiday Sip and Shop! Excited to check this event out - come stock up on our holiday scents for Christmas gifts!
We'll be there with our goat milk soap and a few other fun things! Come check us and other local business owners out!
The day must begin and end in the barn. The time spent between that might be in an office, but the barn is where I choose to prepare for the day ahead of me and reflect on the day behind me.
Miss Stella looking pretty for me this morning. This little lady holds a special place in my heart as both her dam and sire passed away earlier this year. 😔
She seems to have inherited her dam's easy and calm demeanor and curiosity with her sire's playfulness and independence. She will be bred to Bono (Curbstone Valley Joshua Tree) this year for a first freshening in April-ish.
If she has a daughter, I may retain her. But otherwise any other kids will be available. These kids should have a promising career on the milk stand. There will also be a chance for moonspots, blue eyes, polled and wattles.
Breeding season started this week. Curbstone Valley Joshua Tree (aka Bono) has bred two does while Zipper and Tula spent some time in the love shack this evening (repeat breeding).
Bono will be breeding these two ladies this season as well. Miss Zephyr, who was looking for scratches in this photo, was one of my favorite first fresheners last year. She kidded triplets on her own, nursed all 3 successfully and had a great looking FF udder. I'm thinking she'll be one of the does to retain a Bono doeling from next spring.
March will be a busy month again!
The new hay feeders and mineral feeders arrived today. Testing the hay feeders out for kidding stalls. I plan on putting a lid on the top of them so goats can't jump in but I'm hoping these will work as portable feeders for the kidding stalls in the spring.
I also finally broke down and bought new mineral feeders as the previous ones I had were such a pain as I was always cleaning and filling them to the point where the goats had inconsistent mineral access. Fingers crossed these were worth the investment!
Shared this on my personal wall but I think it needs to be here as well. I've seen many dairy goat farms that started up the same time as me (6.5 years ago) disperse their herd and move on to something else.
Dairy (as well as so many other endeavors) is a long haul. You're not going to build your dream in the course of a few years - unless you have an endless income and spare time. So take your time and enjoy the journey.
You don't need to do it all. Once a day milking, dam raised kids and a manageable herd size are just a few ways I keep this hobby enjoyable. My foundation herd only consisted of 3 does and 1 buck. I've strategically retained to build my herd over years. At this point, the only outside animals I bring into the herd are bucks when it's needed. This has helped keep my numbers within my capabilities and the farm's capacity.
When I sell to those new to the goat world, I sincerely hope that they enjoy it as much as I do. But unfortunately I know that a good portion of them will be out of the business before a few years - often times for getting in over their heads. If you ever have questions on how to keep it manageable, feel free to ask! An important goal for us breeders should be to help build the industry through encouragement and mentorship to those new in the industry- I know I've appreciated it along the way!
It’s ok to dry your does off early.
It’s ok to drop them to once a day milking.
It’s ok to give them a year off.
It’s ok to not make shows.
It’s ok to not do L.A..
It’s ok to not do milk test.
It’s ok to reduce your numbers.
It’s ok to not trim feet every 6 weeks.
Every year I get messages from people on the verge of burn out trying to keep up with the “standard” asking “How do you do it with 4 children?”
Dairy burn out is real. You’ll run yourself into the ground trying to keep up with what other herds are doing. Not all of us have hired help to run these farms.
Most of us have kiddos that’ll be grown and gone way too soon. Take the time to enjoy your animals and remember why you have them in the first place.
Do what is best for you and your family.
You’ll have different seasons in your life, do what is manageable for the season you’re in. ❤️
Caught the doe herd looking pretty this morning. Too bad I wasn't able to capture some of these poses with a prettier background like the pasture instead of the driveway.
I feel like some of these photos would make a neat puzzle - might have to get one made!
Got some fall barn cleaning done this weekend. The does big pen got stripped down. The bucks pen needed a major cleaning- felt good to get that done. And Buster and Stella supervised as usual.
For those that aren't familiar with goats, they waste a lot of hay compared to horses or cattle. Which means their pens can build up with hay pretty quickly. In past winters, my herd has mainly been locked up in the barn, which would drive me nuts because I like my animals outside. It would also be the cause of some serious spring time barn cleaning jobs due to all of the hay build up.
This winter I'm hoping my large doe herd will go outside more. They've gotten adjusted to browsing most of the day instead of relying on soley hay. Right now we go through very little hay because of that. I have purchased a collapsible bale feeder and plan to use a round bale outside for the majority of the winter hay feeds. They already have a heated automatic waterer out there as well. They will still be able to go into the barn and if big storms are expected, I will lock them up and feed them inside.
Fingers crossed this plan works. Not only will it be better for the health of the herd, but it will also save time and money for me! I'm also hoping they will continue to browse the pasture throughout the winter, which will be great in controlling some of the noxious brush.
Mount Valley Township
Forest City, IA
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One of our favorite things about working towards being a horse powered farm, is that we get to work and play at the same time. Our first does are due to kid the end of March and we need to get prepared. Today was a nice warm, sunny day here which means it was a good day to clean out the kidding pen. We also got a nice snow yesterday, which means it is a good day to get the sled out. Well, why not use the sled to haul some bedding out? Getting our work done with play!
We are thankful we get to enjoy our farm while working on it. There’s always work to be done, but it doesn’t really feel like a job to us when we love doing it. It leaves us feeling satisfied mentally and physically. The bonding time spent between us as husband and wife as well as with our animals is something we just can’t recreate elsewhere. Don’t forget - if you ever want to come out for a visit, let us know! These animals like to bond with other people too! :)