We are creating an entirely new enterprise and developing our own systems that best suit our Billies and our ethos
— Lizzie Dyer
This is something I have wanted to embark on for some time, and bleated about it (excus the pun) to all who would listen. Finally, it has become a reality!
I was brought up on a traditional mixed farm in Kenn, North Somerset, farming is in the blood! My dad milked 150 Friesian heifers; consequently, I have always been aware of the dilemma over the fate of the male counterpart from a dairy enterprise. This paired with a long-established interest in goats which stemmed from my travels abroad, particularly in India, has lead me to here….
Although farming was not my first career I decided in 2011 to start an Agricultural Business degree at the Royal Agricultural University which brought me to Gloucestershire. During my degree I was able to meet some fantastic local farmers who have become friends and gave me the confidence and contacts to establish Just Kidding here.
It was through just such contacts that lead me to find Dartland Farm owned by Jamie Beard. I am not entirely sure Jamie knew what he had let himself in for when I arrived, but I can say there has never been a dull moment since! Jamie and I now run Just Kidding together and have made Dartland farm far more than a business it is now our home.
Jamie’s background in catering and in particular outside catering is invaluable. It also is very refreshing to work with a ‘non farmer’ as you can view things with a different perspective!
There is no blueprint in the UK for Kid Meat production. We are creating an entirely new enterprise and developing our own systems that best suit our Billies and our ethos and look forward to exciting times as our future unfolds.
I hope you will follow us here, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and become part of our journey to put British Kid Meat firmly on the menu.
For a quick tour of the farm, have a look at the below video
Our Billy Kids are raised without Compromise, a once overlooked by product is at last allowed to take centre stage #powertothebillykid
— Lizzie Dyer
The interest in Goat’s milk in the UK is growing and the number of nannies (female goats) being milked has increased dramatically. Currently, the view of the Billy Kids is as a waste by-product with little or no value or use. There is simple no established market or demand for the meat. The female Kids are kept for milking but, the male offspring are often dispatched at birth. In order for the Billy Kid not to continue to be viewed in this way they must be seen as an asset in their own right and be given a value. I was once told a very simple saying ‘everything that is born is dead’ and we are not changing the ultimate fate of the Billy Kid but we are giving them a purpose and a use by providing a sustainable source of red meat.
All the Billies that we raise on the farm arrive from one High Health Status dairy farm. We try and keep them as naturally as possible, reared on grass outside. They are not routinely treated for anything and for most the only medication administered will be a vaccine. Our view is prevention is better than cure!
Goats in general are rather mischievous and very inquisitive but Kids are even worse so they simply love playing and getting into trouble. We give them plenty to climb on and play with and try to keep them from getting bored!
— Lizzie Dyer
Keep things simple…. It may not seem like we are achieving that, but, in essence it is what we are trying to do!! Jamie has created a fantastic farm from scratch at Dartland Farm – not something easily accomplished, as most farms have been standing for generations. It is always quite a responsibility to develop underdeveloped farmland but Jamie has done this with thought and care. Native hedges have been planted and nurtured on the farm and over 500 trees have been planted. We want to farm with the environment we are so fortunate to live with not against it, but we are not a nature reserve we are a working farm. Sustainability is becoming a very widely used word, the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “keeping something going continuously” – that is what we aim to do here, farm in a way that is sustainable for future generations. We want Dartland Farm to be as productive in the future, as it is now and we want to rear our Kids in a way that can be done into the future that to us is Sustainability.
Back to the golden word – ‘simple’ – rain falls from the sky so why not collect and store that water and re use – simple! This way… we are nearly self-sufficient in water, we only need fresh water to mix the milk. The sun shines so why not use it to power our electric fences….. Grass grows, Kids eat it and grow, so let’s use it!!! In the winter when the grass is not as productive we use a blend of feed (Jamie helpfully describes it as Muesli!) that is grown just 10 miles from the farm, no GM, no Soya just a mix of cereals that can be grown here in the UK now and into the future.
If you collect an order from the Farm we will be pleased to show you around the farm and we also run various Courses and Open Days, take a look at our Events for more information and get involved!
Our Kid Meat is fully traceable – we really are farm to fork – all the meat we sell has been raised by us
— Lizzie Dyer
The problem with talking about our Kid Meat as a by-product is that the connotation might be that it is the lesser product. This could not be further from the truth and we like to think we blow that conception out of the water! You don’t even need to take our word for it…. Our meat has been awarded a Gold Star in the prestigious Great Taste Awards every year entered!
Red meat has been under scrutiny recently and rightly so. We all have to think differently about how and what we eat. It would be no good to us if everyone became a vegetarian but we do believe in eating less meat and better quality. We all need to think about how all our food is produced and not just the meat.
Our meat is reared to be sustainable, the source the Billy Kid is a by-product and our farming practices embrace a low impact ethos. Kid and Goat meat is highly nutritious and so in short Kid meat ticks all the boxes!!
We use a local family run abattoir, Broomhall and all our butchery is now undertaken by the artisan butchers of Woodchester Meats. Every process is local and personally managed.
Our Skins &
We don’t like to waste anything at Just Kidding and so we are not only creating a market for our Kid Meat but also for our Kid Skins
— Lizzie Dyer
In keeping with not wasting anything we use the Skins from our Billy Kids to produce a truly bespoke and beautiful product. The tanning industry in this country used to be vast but now the number on tanneries running is down to single figures. It is cheaper to send our tanning needs oversees where the rules and restrictions on the chemicals used are not enforced. This is not only morally wrong but the final product is inferior to the quality finish found from our own British tanneries. All our skins are either tanned Organically by Nicki Port or conventionally by Devonia. If we do not support our British crafts their knowledge and expertise will disappear forever.
Often people fear that the skins will shed hairs, this only happens if the skin in question has been taken when the animal was moulting it’s winter coat. We do not use any skins during the moulting months and so our skins will not lose their hair!
The skins are fantastic as small rugs, throws and wall hangings but we also make cushions with them and use them to upholster furniture – another versatile product from the Billy Kid.