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Hay Dairies: Goats Galore!

Hay Dairies

Hay Dairies, the only goat farm in Singapore, is situated on Lane 4. Manoeuvre your car(transportation of some sort is definitely needed) through the winding road, and be rewarded with a glimpse of a statue of two goats marking the entrance. Owned by the friendly Mr Hay, a visit to Hay Dairies provides an extremely enlightening experience which will render you an expert on goats by the day's end.

Hay Dairies has been around for ten years. Mr Hay, who used to be a pig farmer until pig farms were phased out, brought in the first batch of mountain goats from the United States . Subsequently, breeding was carried out to increase numbers and ensure self-sufficiency of the farm. Currently, the farm has close to 1000 goats, and employs 10 staff, including Mr Hay's own children. Perhaps rearing goats runs in the family!

The main farm product is goat's milk. Visitors may be surprised to find out that goats are milked using a high-tech vacuum milking system, during which up to 12 goats may be milked at the same time. The SD Editorial Team initially asked if we could try our hand at milking the goats, however were politely declined by Mr Hay, for reasons of hygiene. The farm has to adhere to strict guidelines imposed by the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority, to ensure that its products are safe for the public. Once milking is done, farm workers will check if the quality of the milk is suitable for consumption. Curdled milk is deemed unsatisfactory and has to be disposed of, and milk of sick goats will also be thrown away.

Goat pregnancies last five months and the goat may be milked for 6-8 months after giving birth. Hygiene practices are strictly followed, meaning that newborn goats will be separated from their mothers to prevent them from feeding, and perhaps scratching the udders, which could then lead to contamination of the milk. Also, goats' udders are sprayed with iodine after milking, to destroy all bacteria and prevent any infection. Baby goats are usually kept in pens off-limits to visitors to prevent injury to the animals, but the SD Editorial Team was fortunate enough to be granted access. Newborn goats, bleating away, brought out the maternal instinct in all of us as we rushed to pat each one.

The farm sells its pasteurised and homogenised goat's milk only via phone orders, and makes deliveries to the customers' homes. The milk comes in plain and chocolate flavours, and is light-tasting compared to cow's milk. Lauded for its lower cholesterol content, goat's milk has also been recommended by doctors for people suffering from various ailments. It is also lower in lactose content, meaning that the lactose-intolerant who usually miss out on the goodness of milk, will be able to receive their dose of calcium by taking goat's milk.

Hay Dairies is open to public 7 days a week from 9am-4pm, although groups numbering more than 20 should make an appointment with the farm office. Also, visitors who wish to view the milking process should head down from 9am-11am. The farm is also wheelchair-accessible, making it an ideal excursion destination for the handicapped, as well as schoolchildren. A good idea for families looking for an educational way to spend a day, would be to take the Kranji Express bus service, which departs at intervals from Kranji MRT station. For just $2, this service will take you on a tour of ten farms, Hay Dairies included, all located around that area. It will definitely be a unique yet inexpensive experience that the whole family can enjoy. Head down to Hay Dairies this weekend!

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