A dairy goat producer who sells her billy kids and cull stock to Asian and Caribbean outlets believes there is huge potential for growth in this market if goat meat could be promoted alongside lamb, beef and pork.

Loraine Makowsky-Heaton produces healthy-eating goat’s milk products from a herd of 200 goats but refuses to cull her billy kids at birth.

“We would rather they go for meat than get culled at birth, which is what happens to most male kids on commercial dairy goat farms,” says Loraine, who runs a herd of Saanen, Anglo Nubian and Toggenburgs and experimental cross-breeds.

“There is demand for the meat from restaurants and people are beginning to realise it is a tasty and healthy alternative to other meats.’’ One of her Asian customers is looking to source between 10 and 100 goats a week.

“We know we can sell goat meat, the market just needs educating,’’ says Loraine.

“We have a goat meat producers association in Wales but it would need money to market the meat and someone would need to be employed to do the marketing.

“I would like to see Hybu Cig Cymru given the remit to promote it alongside other red meats in Wales.’’ Prices are comparable to premium lambs but the carcass of a dairy goat is smaller.

The age Loraine slaughters her goats depends on the customer but the majority are kids, up to the age of 11 months.

Her Asian customers, however, prefer stronger meat from an older goat so cull female goats are sold to this market.

“We cull female goats up to the age of six but we would also look at culling younger females that aren’t milking as well as they should be.’’ All the male kids are castrated at birth for ease of management. They are fed lamb creep nuts, low in sugar because of the susceptibility of goats to urinary calculi. Management of the herd is largely similar to that of sheep. They are prone to the same diseases but are browsers rather than being grazers which can make managing the grass a problem. When Loraine reseeds she includes a herb mix to make the ley more interesting.

“If you can make a ley interesting then goats will graze,’’ she says. They are stocked at around 12 per hectare.

The goats are milked twice-a-day through a 12:6 herringbone parlour, installed so it can be doubled up.

They get an 18% protein concentrate in the parlour, according to yield. Average lactation is between four or five, although some can go on longer. During the winter the goats are loose housed on straw and fed hay or haylage.

The goats are slaughtered at the Cig Calon Cymru abattoir in Cross Hands.

Loraine’s main enterprise is producing luxurious hand-made chocolates, fudges, cheeses and yogurt smoothies under the Kid Me Not brand.

She moved with her family to the 50-acre Ffynnongrech Farm at Talley, near Llandeilo, in 2002.

The land had not been worked for several years but the farm’s holiday cottages provided a source of income while plans were put into place to grow the goat enterprise. By the end of the first year goat numbers had increased to 20, all milked using a hand-milker and bucket.

Then came the moment when the seed for the Kid Me Not brand was sown. Loraine’s daughter, Amy, then four months old, had severe eczema to the point where doctors recommended a course of steroids.

Instead, Loraine put her on an exclusive diet of pasteurised goat’s milk and within two weeks her eczema had cleared.

When Amy was weaned off milk, Loraine started to make her treats using goat’s milk, including fudge. It was this product that launched the Kid Me Not range.

Within months Loraine had purchased a container and equipment from America and production started at Ffynnongrech Farm. She later installed the herringbone milking parlour.

Yogurt production followed and a chance conversation with the owner of Carmarthen Cheese led to an agreement that he would make branded cheeses on her behalf.

The Kid Me Not range, which now includes chocolates, is sold from a variety of outlets including farm shops, delicatessens and health food shops. One of the cheeses is sold in Waitrose.

As well as a farmer and entrepreneur, Loraine has recently added author to her many talents.

Monty Gets Stuck, a tale featuring the pet goat she has kept since moving to Wales, was penned in just one milking.

“I get a bit of time to think when I am milking so I literally wrote the book when I was milking one afternoon,’’ she says.

And with another eight titles to work on as well as new products in the pipeline, there are busy times ahead for Loraine and her family.