Meet Lauren Manning of White Hoof Acres in Arkansas. I’ve been able to get to know Lauren through Instagram. She’s also raising meat goats, mostly-Kiko, with rotational grazing practices. I admire (and know the challenges) her work to build a low-input, resilient herd of goats. She’s also a talented writer. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, I encourage you do so.
Name: Lauren Manning
Farm: White Hoof Acres
Tell me about your farm/business and work with goats.
I raise cattle, sheep, and goats on pasture. I have around 45 meat goats that are primarily kiko-based. Currently, I rotate them around larger pastures on the farm based on the time of year and their nutritional needs. The goats are largely a side project. I have been working to find the right genetics that work well in our environment, which is hot and humid during the summer presenting a lot of challenges around parasite management.
What’s your market? where do you offer your services/products?
I direct market goat meat through Ozark Pasture Beef (@ozarkpasturebeef). Currently, I am out of goat meat but anticipate having some in stock next summer.
How/why did you get into doing this work?
Each day is different. There is always something new to learn. Some of the biggest life lessons I have received have been because of farming. The connections I have made with other people have led to some of the most rewarding relationships in my life. Animals are fascinating. They say so little but tell us so much if we are patient enough to learn their languages. Spending 60 hours a week in an office is bad for your health but unavoidable for many of us. The farm forces me to get outside, move my body, use my creative thinking skills, and makes me feel like a kid again.
Why do you like working with goats?
I enjoy raising goats because they present a lot of unique management challenges. I am continually working towards a general goal of developing a goat that requires minimal to no inputs. This means an animal that thrives on forage alone, can kid on pasture in inclement weather without needing assistance, and can regain body condition soon after weaning.
Because I live in a humid climate, parasite resistance is critical. I do not routinely deworm my herd and if one requires deworming then it is a strike against them.
Due to the demands of my off-farm job, I have not been intensively rotating the goats. I have been generally rotating them through three larger pastures on the farm. Although I would prefer to rotate them more intensively, this has been a very quick way to see which goats fit my criteria the best.
The second tier of criteria that I pay attention to involves carcass quality. Because I direct market cuts of goat meat, I need a certain minimum carcass size to ensure that it’s worth my time and money to butcher them.
Because goats are not as widely raised, it is harder to find goats that meet these goals. That means I have to develop and select the goats that I want to raise. This is an incredibly rewarding challenge and after six years I am finally starting to hone in on some genetics that satisfy all of my management goals.
What’s one tip, trick, hack or favorite tool that you use with your goats?
I made some mineral feeders out of plumbers pipe that I have really liked. They cut down on mineral waste and are easy to refill.
Where can people find you online?
Instagram is the best place @whitehoofacres