Black Mesa Ranch
Snowflake, Arizona, USA
Featured pages on this site
David's Culinary Blog
See our goats in action in this professionally done Whole Foods YouTube promo for our cheeses.
See BMR owner/cheese maker, David, make Pasta with Goat Cheese in just one minute.
But, wait, there's more!
Take a 4 minute "tour of the ranch" on YouTube .
4 Awards 2010 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2008 ADGA National Competition
4 Awards 2005 ADGA National Competition
3 Awards 2004 ADGA National Competition
1 Award 2010 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2005 ADGA National Competition
2 Awards 2004 ADGA National Competition
Click here to read the online version of Kathryn's booklet
This site last updated:
October 28, 2013
© 2000-2013 Black Mesa Ranch Inc. All Rights Reserved
Endorsed by more than 36 humane organizations, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program is nationally recognized as the Gold Standard for certifying animal welfare.
All About Our Goats
We got our first Nubian dairy goats in early 2001 with the idea of having a bit of milk for family consumption and maybe even enough for some personal cheese-making. Our love for these intelligent and funny creatures as well as our growing appreciation for the superb quality of dairy products they allowed us to make prompted our decision to pursue starting up a certified Grade "A" goat dairy not long thereafter. We, only half-jokingly, say that we just started the dairy to help support our "goat habit". Click here to jump to the page detailing our Dairy Project work.
These fine animals continue to be the focal point of our ranch businesses and the lynch-pin of our dairy operation, but the truth remains that we still operate our little dairy so that we can keep enjoying the goats - not the other way around - an important distinction that helps promote the well being of our herd and a guiding premise that allows us to keep the "Art" in our Artisan cheese-making. Come learn more about our Artisan Dairy Operation by clicking here.
Our milking line-up boards in the milking parlor
From the beginning we decided to get the very best animals we could find and opted for a 100% registered Nubian herd. Nubians, recognizable by their typically long, dangly ears and Roman noses, are an especially good choice for cheese-making operations as their milk is the richest and highest in butterfat content. We also have found Nubians a perfect breed for our Arizona climate. Summers here in northern Arizona, even at nearly 6000' elevation, can get pretty hot and the Nubians seem to be well adapted for the heat.
This 3 foot long Gopher Snake tried taking up residence in the milking parlor.
Our goats are a particularly sturdy and healthy bunch, in part due to their excellent genetics but more largely thanks to their open-range habitat and access to superior browse, lots of sunshine and fresh high-desert mountain air. Occasionally tragedy hits, but we work hard to restore a sick or injured goat to good health. In 2007 one of our young does suffered an accident damaging her udder and resulting in the loss (over time) of one udder half. Kathryn thoroughly photo-documented the process and has put together a special page on the subject. The graphic depictions are not for everybody but are offered as an educational aid for others experiencing the same situation for one of their animals. Click here for Nougat's Necrosis Page.
We do disbud all of our goats soon after birth. Please see our Disbudding Page for details and photos on this process, if you are interested.
While the number of goats we have here at any one time varies as some get sold and lots get born, we endeavor to keep the number small. Our Dairy plans and goals are based on an eventual cap of 24-30 milkers during full production. In addition to the production does we will also likely have a number of maiden does we are bringing up as replacements, some in-milk does we are offering for sale and, perhaps a few older, retired does with no responsibilities at all except to browse contentedly around the ranch 'til the end of their days.
Kids, kids, and more kids!
Originally all our does (affectionately known simply as "The Girls") and kids lived in a spacious "habitat" featuring a converted 40' mobile home and a 16' travel trailer shell which served as their evening and foul-weather shelters. The mobile home also housed a heated wash room and a hay storeroom. There was a nice big pile of black mesa rocks in their yard and some old cedar logs for them to play on. This has all changed! January 1, 2004 we broke ground for our new 1500 sq ft goat barn! By mid-February the does and kids had moved themselves in - an obvious sign of their approval! For more info and pictures on our original development of the doe's habitat click this link to the Goat House Project. Click here for pictures of the new barn being built
We also keep bucks here for our breeding program. Only outstanding bucks from some of the best genetic lines get to stay and "work" here. Our boys live in a separate, building and enclosure from the rest of the herd. Click here for lots of pix of the Buckland development. In 2009 we built the buck boys a new barn! The bucks are really appreciating their new accommodations and we are too. To see the new barn go up from start to finish just click here.
Nubian Buck "Rio" with Buckling "Zane"
And, of course, there are the wethers (castrated bucks) - the clowns and chief trouble-makers of the bunch. The few wethers we keep around earn their treats through their entertainment value mostly, but we also train them for light packing duties (with saddles and panniers). The wethers fast growth and large size make them perfect for doing a little work from time to time. Very occasionally, we will also have a wether or two that make it to our freezer - it's a delicious lean protein source and we feel that if we're going to eat red meat it should, quite naturally, be from our own healthy, well cared for animals.
In addition to their own free-range browsing schedule, the goats really enjoy joining our regular little morning walks on the property or up the mesa where we all (including all the dogs and whole goat herd minus the bucks) generally put on a mile or so before heading home to work on the various tasks of the day. It's quite a sight when even the few-day-old kids tag along!
The goat gang takes Kathryn on a walk
To meet the whole goat gang and for much more in-depth information on them please visit our Lineage Pages
Nubian goats at Black Mesa Ranch, Snowflake Arizona, USA