Meet Nienke, a 22-year-old goat milk farmer in the Netherlands. She is an inspiring young woman who found her passion at a young age. She is proud of what she has built in a short time, loves her goats and receives a lot of love in return. Today we’ll follow Nienke through her daily routine, learn more about the goats and what they eat, and get a peek inside her farm. This is her story.
From the first day I worked with goats, I knew it was my calling. I started my farm when I was 19 years old with two very special goats, Oldie and Oldie. They are still with me and I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but secretly I do. Since then, my farm has grown to 750 goats and 200 lambs. Being a goat farmer is a lot of hard work, with long days, 7 days a week—but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
My team and I milk our goats twice a day, once in the morning (5:30 AM), and again in the evening (5:30 PM). When I arrive early in the morning, some of the goats are still asleep, but they are creatures of habit and most of them expect me at 5:30 AM sharp.
Each milking routine takes about two and a half hours and each goat produces 4 liters of milk per day. The milk is then collected into a tank that can hold up to 12,000 liters, and every three days gets transferred to the factory.
Goats mainly eat grass which is harvested from the grasslands around the farm and they are free to eat as much as they want. Goats are picky eaters so it’s important that their food also tastes good. I also work with a specialized food advisor to provide additional vitamins and minerals to my goats to ensure an optimal diet. Naturally, water is always available and unlimited.
Animal welfare is very important to me. I believe the farm itself must have plenty of light and space for my goats to roam in freely. The goats walk on a bed of straw, to which a new layer is added every morning keeping it fresh and cozy.
My goats are divided into groups of 200 and are very social, silly and curious animals. They are often busy bumping into each other, playing with bins I set up for them as a playground, or standing under one of the many brushes to groom themselves. They love it! They always come to me when I’m on the farm and can be naughty by nibbling at my clothes. I receive so much love from them.
Many people told me I was too ambitious at a young age, but I am incredibly proud when I walk around here. My goats and I go very well together – we are all very stubborn. I never get bored working with goats, and it is just lovely.
Kabrita is grateful to work with dedicated farmers like Nienke, and we’re proud to share her story with you.