Farmer Feature – Chad McCauley
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Crystal Creek® recently sat down with Chad McCauley, a dairy goat farmer in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. He milks between 200-220 goats of different breeds such as La Mancha, Alpine and Nubian. Chad discussed his operation and life lessons he’s learned along the way.
Why milk goats over some other type of farming, and what are some of the differences?
When I started in 2015, it was too expensive to buy cows, so I got into goats. A big difference is that there is less prepping before milking with goats. They also tend to spend more time in the barn. One of my goals now is to have a bigger barn where I can control everything; you can control the lights, the fans, the feed, the whole nine yards.
Tell us about your herd:
I use a variety of different breeds. Breed isn’t as important as the health of the animal. I used to raise my own replacements, but now I sell our kids soon after birth and buy back in replacements. This helps speed up our genetic improvement in our herd. I do all the labor myself, I am a “one-man band” so to speak.
What led you to Crystal Creek®?
I was looking for treatments for my goats that didn’t make me throw away milk due to holds. Many conventional treatments, like Rumensin, are labeled for use in dairy cows but are not labeled for use in dairy goats. Crystal Creek® helped me find alternative products that are allowed for dairy goat production.
I stay with Crystal Creek® for multiple reasons. The products are high quality and really work. I also have a good relationship with my nutritionist, Dr. Darren. He was my vet prior to him starting work at Crystal Creek®. Now he is my vet as well as my nutritionist and I see value in the knowledge that he brings to my operation. Crystal Creek® helps me solve problems and brings new ideas to my farm.
What are some of your favorite products from Crystal Creek®?
Pivot™ or Prevail™ because I can feed this to the animals and still put milk in the tank. And it works too. The goat mineral is a high quality mineral. The fly repellent is nice because it takes some stress off of the animals.
What advice would you give to people looking to get into goat dairying?
They say goats will eat a tin can. Yeah, they might. But they won’t milk on it. You need quality feed because cheap feed doesn’t work. I’ve tried the cheap feed route. Go for quality feed. Quality feed brings you quality milk and a higher quantity of milk.
Stay independent. You know your own farm and you know your own animals. You can listen to others give you advice. But at the end of the day do lots of homework and research things thoroughly; make your own decisions.
What if you could start over, what would you do differently?
I would buy feed based on quality, not price. I’d focus on making a consistent feed. It’s important to secure the acres or grain to do that. I would also set up for a TMR. It allows me to mix the feed and buy different commodities at different prices, control my own destiny. And the animals actually have the right feed in front of them.
Crystal Creek® would like to thank Chad McCauley for taking the time to answer these questions. To learn more about Crystal Creek’s goat mineral or pellet please call 888-376-6777 to speak to one of our knowledgeable nutritionists.