A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Herd share

Photo courtesy of Sally Anne Thompson/Animal Photography

Exciting news today...we found out about someone starting a herd share program with weekly deliveries to Williams Lake!!

We have been thinking about getting some sort of milk animal (goat or cow?) for some time but everyone we know who has had a cow, is really discouraging us. Mainly, because it is a lot of work and you must, must, must milk a cow at least once a day, if you keep the calf with her during the day, and it must, must, must be at the same time each day. So that would really tie a person down! We also need to spend some time and money on fencing and clearing more of our property and at this point we don't have much of either. So for now...the herd share is a wonderful compromise. Here is how it works...

Because it is illegal to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk to the public
, but perfectly legal to use as much raw milk as you wish from your own herd/cow, small scale dairy farmers and willing consumers have come up with the herd share concept. Consumers pay a farmer a fee for boarding, caring for and milking the herd. The herd share owner then obtains (but does not purchase) his/her share of milk from the herd. This arrangement is similar to arrangements of owning a share in a crop, racehorse or a bull. During the past two years or so, several cowshare/herdshare programs have been implemented in this province, and have been functioning well with no problems.

In Prince George, the Hunny-Do Ranch has been operating a herd share program for a few years now, but as it is a three-hour drive to PG, it is not feasible for us to be part of it. Check out their site if you want to know more, they have some good info on herd shares and how it all works.

And why go to all of this trouble you may be asking?? There are many, many health benefits to raw milk. Check out this link for a really complete listing of the benefits of raw milk. But in a nutshell, milk in it's unpasteurized form has nourished people for thousands of years and switching to a raw milk has been documented over and over again as helping relatively modern conditions such as lactose intolerance, Crohn's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and arthritis. I first learned about raw milk when my neighbour Gigi lent me the book Nourishing Traditions put out by the Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation. You can check out this youtube video for an overview of where they are coming from. It is interesting and thought provoking stuff.

This video is Sally Fallon discussing raw milk...