Rear­ing billy kids for meat

Unique course in­cludes fun hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence with billy goats

Country Smallholding - - On Course -

LIZZIE DYER and her part­ner, Jamie Beard, run Cotswold Kid Meat at Dart­land Farm in Wilt­shire, which is now the largest pro­ducer of free range dairy billy kids in the UK. Since 2013, the cou­ple has been on a mis­sion to show how the male off­spring of the goat milk in­dus­try — which are oth­er­wise of­ten seen as worth­less and there­fore dis­patched at birth — can make a sus­tain­able and valu­able ad­di­tion to our cur­rent meat reper­toire.

The cour­ses that Lizzie teaches are ideal for any­one think­ing about rear­ing goats for meat, re­gard­less of scale. So whether you are con­sid­er­ing keep­ing a cou­ple of milk­ing goats and are won­der­ing what to do with the bil­lies, or if you would like to source and rear some ex-dairy kids your­self, this course is ideal. In fact it is unique as there is no blue­print in the UK for kid meat pro­duc­tion. Lizzie and Jamie have been blaz­ing a trail. It isn’t sur­pris­ing, there­fore, that jour­nal­ists have shown a lot of in­ter­est in their work over the years, and it has been fea­tured on sev­eral TV shows — from Coun­try­file through to Jamie and Jimmy’s Fri­day Night Feast, where Or­lando Bloom was soon sold on the culi­nary de­lights of kid meat cui­sine.

Lizzie says: “There is grow­ing in­ter­est in the fate of the dairy billy kid and more peo­ple are em­brac­ing goat meat as a healthy, sus­tain­able op­tion. It is es­ti­mated that there are in the re­gion of 30,000 billy kids born into the dairy sec­tor each year and it’s about time that we gave them a lit­tle more thought and stop the waste. In re­cent years, this meat has been em­braced ev­ery­where, from Miche­lin-starred restau­rants to home kitchens up and down the coun­try.”

What the day en­tails

The ac­tion-packed day in­cludes lots of ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion weaved in with fun hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence with the bil­lies them­selves. At­ten­dees are given a guided tour around the farm and learn how and why Lizzie and Jamie rear their an­i­mals. The com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties and con­sid­er­a­tions around run­ning a kid/ goat en­ter­prise are also cov­ered in depth, along with the prac­ti­cal, health and wel­fare lo­gis­tics of keep­ing this in­quis­i­tive and rather mis­chievous an­i­mal on a day-to-day ba­sis. There are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to ask ques­tions and the course it­self is rounded off in style with a kid-meat based lunch so that at­ten­dees get the op­por­tu­nity to sam­ple for them­selves this healthy and sus­tain­able food.

Course at­ten­dees are given a guided tour of Lizzie Dyer ( above) and Jamie Beard’s farm and they learn how they rear their goats

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