Almost four years ago I decided to start making my own cheese for our resort, Mystic River Lodge because of a lack of good cheeses in Belize and also because we use so much of it in our cooking that I was spending a lot of time in Belize City looking for cheese! Being French born and a great lover of cheese myself, I had a keen interest in goats and their milk; cows have never done very much for me, so goat it was! That decision lead to some amazing discoveries about goats: where to get them in Belize and most importantly how to make the cheese itself since I had not a clue; but I was willing to learn. I took a one week course on “101 cheese making” and I was off. The rest is all about learning as you go, mistakes and all; I can say in all honesty that there were a few but none that I could not eat!
Over a period of a few months we put together a small herd of about 15 odd goats, mostly Saanen blood lines. Over time we started breeding only the best milkers from our herd after we found out that milking capacities are passed on from mother to kid! Overall, Saanen and local breeds produce the most milk and are the hardiest goats here. We had problems with the kids at the beginning but got that sorted out with a proper vaccination routine and proper feed. On our 25+ acres of pastures we grow Mombasa and Guinea grass which the goats will graze during the day and we also feed them a grain mixture prepared ourselves from local products, such as cracked corn, citrus pellets, soybean meal and of course multivitamins! We also grow mulberry and purple elephant grass for them to eat; mulberry is their preferred food. We keep 5 goats per acre of fenced plot (no electric fence needed) and we rotate accordingly.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the Belize Ag Report