On May 29th we made an unannounced visit to one of the biggest goat milk farms in the Netherlands: PeBe in Schaijk. Our impression of the stable was positive. There was a lot of daylight because the side windows were open and there were windows in the roof. This gave a lot of fresh air. The goats were kept on a thick layer of straw and were given quite a lot of space to walk around. There were also rotating-brushes for the goats to scratch themselves on. The goats made grateful use of them. The goats were milked in a huge carousel (170 stands). Because the goats get some food pellets during milking, they voluntarily enter the carousel. Watch a video here. There are bucks to cover the does naturally.
In order to keep the female goats’ producing milk, kids are born every year. These kids are removed from the mother goat immediately after birth. The female kids are largely reared to become milk producers. This is done at a specialized breeding company. The Peters brothers said that mortality is low (1.3%) because female kids are not mixed with kids from other companies. At the time of our visit, all the kids had left the company, except one kid that was probably born later.
The Peters brothers said that the male kids (bucks) were bought by dealers and taken to feedlots at the age of only 2-7 days. Unfortunately, they did not know where these feedlots are. They said that only the dealer knows. Eyes on Animals would like to visit some of these goat feedlots because mortality is often high there. This is because young bucks from different farms are put together (exchanges of germs) and the bucks often have a poor resistance because they are taken away from their mother right after birth and they are often not given colostrum (mother’s milk containing antibodies). Use of medicines made in goat fattening is also low. This is to reduce costs and prevent any drug residues from entering the meat but results in young bucks becoming sick and not being treated. We would like to thank Geert-Jan and Marcel for their hospitality and the opportunity to view their farm and ask a number of questions.