Grazing Glamour: Angora Goats Produce High-End Wool, Soil Health

By Tamara Scully

Glen Cauffman is no stranger to farming. A tenth generation Pennsylvania farmer, he’s been growing commodity corn and soybeans — along with alfalfa for hay — for decades, and continues to do so today. But he’s not your typical commodity grower.

Always interested in standing out from the crowd, he implemented 100-percent, continuous no-till practices on The Glen Cauffman Farm more than three decades ago.

“I’m very passionate about conservation and I have been for a long, long time,” Cauffman says. “It began in my youth. My grandfather and my father…were proud of the conservation practices that they had on the farm.”

He’s created wetlands on the farm, to provide wildlife habitat and take marginal land out of production. And cover crops, crop rotation, contour planting, contour strips and no-till practices have helped the farm to become one of four 2018 Leopold Conservation Award finalists. The farm again one of the finalists for the 2019 award. Twenty acres of erosion-prone land are planted in native prairie grass, and enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

And then there are the Angora goats.

Glen Cauffman
Glen Cauffman and his Angora goats.

Since 2005, Angora goats populate his 20 acres of pasture, which now sprout a diverse array of annual and perennial forages. Fields of unusual crops exist in harmony alongside the acres of corn and soybeans, and these are also grazed by the goats, or baled as stored forages. The goats assist in the improvement of the soils, and they provide a natural, renewable resource — their fiber — which Cauffman hopes can help to reinvigorate the dying textile industry in the United States.

Angora goats were selected not only for their fiber, but because of their interaction with the land, and they are helping Cauffman reach his goal of being recognized for not only the products he’s producing, but for how those products are grown and raised. His vision is to diversify the farm, grow products that aren’t commodities, and to do so with his overlying conservation and stewardship goals in mind.

After becoming frustrated with commodity production, where each farm’s crop is treated as “equal to everyone else’s,” Cauffman longed to develop a value-added and branded premium product that came from animals that were raised in a fashion that did the most environmental good for the farm and greater watershed. He’s chosen to make “sunlight and water into products for man,” he said, and is using the herd of 300 Angora goats to do so.

His farm brand, Pure American Naturals, uses the natural fiber and the remaining remnants of the American textile industry to craft high-quality mohair products. Naturopathic veterinarian and small farmer, Dr. Judith Shoemaker, is also a partner in the business. The culls from The Glen Cauffman Farm go to her first, for care and perhaps rehabilitation, before they are designated to go to slaughter at the end of their natural 13 -15 year lifespan.

Growing Soil, Forage and Hair

Cauffman’s overarching conservation goal is to protect the soil from erosion, prevent runoff, sequester carbon, enhance the soil microbiome, create fertility organically and prevent water pollution. Water from the farm runs clear and tests clean, which he credits to many common-sense practices that all to often aren’t a part of conventional farming today.

But it goes deeper than building the soil on his land. Cauffman wants to protect the greater watershed from damage, and promotes common sense ways of doing just that. One of Cauffman’s pet peeves involves roadway shoulders and ditches, which, he said, “are a significant contributor to nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay.”

He keeps a sod buffer around the perimeter of the farm, instead of planting his fields up to the roadside. He grows sod in roadside ditches, to capture sediment and filter water. He uses contour planting, and contour strips, along with the standard rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat. Center strips of alfalfa capture runoff from the row crops, and prevent erosion from the hills and slopes.

“It’s more than aesthetics,” he said of these practices, which also make the farm look nice and tended. By not planting crops up to the edge of the field — by replacing practices that might get the most yield but do so at the expense of the soil, and by adopting practices that have a positive impact throughout the farm — even conventional farmers can prevent erosion and reduce runoff.

The herd of 300 Angora goats is the central element around which many of Cauffman’s conservation goals pivot. The goats graze in paddocks contoured on the hillside. There are 19 paddocks on 20 pasture acres, all of which are grazed high. The goats are never allowed to graze below six inches, as that is where parasite larvae live. Plus, grazing close to the ground impedes forage regrowth.

“Angora goats don’t like to graze close,” Cauffman said, and are “constantly on the move,” which is another reason these animals fit so well into his conservation plans. The also enjoy a wide variety of forage crops.

Cauffman promotes forage diversity within each paddock, as well as diversity between paddocks, allowing for continual high-quality grazing. The nineteen or more forages regularly grown in the pastures and fields add biodiversity to the farm both above and below ground. The forages are selected based upon their fertility needs, growing season, nutrient content, digestibility and sometimes their medicinal properties.

“These animals need a lot of protein” in order to make hair, Cauffman explains. “I need that high protein and high digestibility because these animals are pumping out hair.”

A minimum of 20 percent of the diet needs to come from protein, and having more will enhance the amount of hair they can make. To get the protein needed, and to improve his soils, Cauffman uses as wide range of annuals both within his perennial pasture system and grown in fields by themselves.

The plants that have the qualities he needs include: silphium perfoliatum, a native plant also known as cup plant; sericea lespedeza; sunn hemp; Kura and other clovers: black medic: forage turnip; birdsfoot trefoil; along with typical Northeast pasture grasses such as timothy, orchardgrass, perennial ryegrass and reed canarygrass.

The biggest management challenge in diverse pastures is knowing when to remove the animals, and when to let them graze, to allow the best growth for all of the plants in the mix, Cauffman said. For example, when lespedeza is used in a pasture mix, he needs to graze the animals early, but remove them in time for the lespedeza — a late maturing crop — to grow unimpeded. While managing a diverse array of crop mixes can provide non-chemical ways to effectively terminate crops and allow others to grow in their place, Cauffman at times does terminate crops with chemical sprays.

Angora goats grazing
The forages are selected based upon their fertility needs, growing season, nutrient content, digestibility and sometimes their medicinal properties.

He feels certain tools, such as chemical sprays, need to be used judiciously for the greater good of the overall conservation plan. Some plants, such as lespedeza, which bring benefits to both the animals and the soil can be somewhat invasive, and using sprays to prevent their spread outside of the field is a way to allow their benefits while protecting against negative consequences.

Chemicals are never used on the lands grazed by the goats, and only used very selectively on crop fields. The corn and soybeans are grown with herbicides, but not with prophylactic applications.

“They are a tool that we have. Like all tools, we use them sparingly, because they cost and we don’t want to handle chemicals any more than we have to,” Cauffman said.

With each paddock having a different forage blend and each blend having different ingredients, pasture management is a multi-pronged challenge. He’s balancing the nutritional needs of the goats with the growing needs of the forages and the fertility needs of the soil. He does make hay with forages as needed, and alfalfa hay is also available as a stored feed.

It’s difficult to manage diversity, but doing so correctly can mean that fertility happens naturally, and organic matter continues to build.

“I’m always trying in that diverse sward of plants to have something in there that’s high protein. That tends to be legumes,” he said. And, as the legumes also fix the nitrogen for the grasses, they serve the dual purpose of keeping the protein content of the forage above 20 percent, and improving pasture health.

The goats typically switch paddocks every week, depending on paddock size, season and forage availability. Throughout the year, grazing groups can change. Young does and bucks graze separately, and in the summer does graze with their kids. Dry and unbred groups graze together. The groups can be combined, too, at some points during the year.

The goats are on pasture year-round, a requirement of Cauffman’s Animal Welfare Approved certification. Shelters are available in the pastures. Water is available with some above-ground pipes going to various fields, but most paddocks share a common waterer accessible in the aisle. In other paddocks, the stream serves as the watering hole.

While Cauffman does work with National Resources Conservation Service, and often goes beyond their requirement, he doesn’t always agree with their practices. For example, Angora goats don’t go into water, as do cattle. They don’t like their feet wet, and will avoid the stream running through the farm, except to stand alongside it and drink. Using the goats in the grass-covered and tree-lined riparian buffers won’t degrade the water, Cauffman said, but NRCS requires they be fenced out, which he believes is counter-productive and short sighted.

The goats now kid on pasture, since 2018, and he’s had excellent results. They kid seasonally in May, on very clean pastures free from parasite loads.

“We have really liked kidding on pasture. They actually bond better than they did in the bonding boxes,” Cauffman says.

Keeping the chaff out of the fleece is an issue when feeding hay, and Cauffman has designed a square bale feeder to reduce this concern. Cauffman is going to begin a bale-grazing program this winter, using round bales and moving them around the paddocks. Aside from chaff concerns, another challenge is the inevitable trampled forage. But that forage can feed the array of soil microbes, building organic matter.

“Angora goats don’t eat anything stepped on,” Cauffman said. “It’s always a challenge not to have waste.”

Grains are fed for a few weeks before breeding season, in a weight-gaining diet to enhance fertility and conception rates. Close to parturition, during the last four weeks of pregnancy, grains are fed again. The goats naturally stop milking at two or three months postpartum, and grains are fed up until that time.

The major health issue in the goats is internal parasites. Cauffman does use purchased feed with medication for coccidia. He deworms in chutes at two months of age. Some of the forage plants — birdsfoot trefoil, sericea lespedeza and cup plant — are regarded as having anti-parasitic properties as well. Guinea hens and peacocks roaming with the flock help, too, by eating the eggs. Genetics are involved as well. He is effectively decreasing parasite loads by selectively breeding goats less susceptible to parasitic disease.

“I’m developing families that have resistance and resilience to parasites,” he said.

Natural Hair Products

Cauffman is also breeding his herd for premium fiber. Mohair is a natural product that is strong and durable. Its quality is measured in its fineness and length, as well as other select parameters. Hair less than 23 microns is the finest grade.

Angora goats will produce the finest hair with a minimal protein content of 20 percent in their ration. Higher protein rations lead to finer hair production and yield. Their hair also gets coarser as they age. But when they are really old, it gets fine again. So keeping the herd healthy and focusing on longevity leads to more quality mohair production.

A herd of Angora goats
Cauffman’s goats are bred for premium fibers.

“We have some adults that are still grading less than 23 microns,” Cauffman said. “We have been breeding for this fineness. Out of 300 we breed only the best. Last year we bred seventy.”

Although he wants to keep the herd at its current size, young lambs are not culled. They produce the valuable finely textured hair. And, until they are three or four years old, the actual quality of their adult coat can’t be determined. So all young stock are potential breeding stock, too. About 25 or 30 of the four year-olds will be culled from the herd each season. Meat from the goats is sold, and the entire carcass, from head to hide, is returned to the farm and used without waste.

Cauffman is making his name known not only for excellence in conservation, but for the premium quality fiber products produced from his mohair, and sold under his Pure American Naturals brand. He sells some mohair to spinners, and some to the fashion industry.

Most of the yarn used by Pure American Naturals is spun in Pennsylvania, and most products they sell are made in mills in the Northeast region, from their mohair and from the Merino wool Cauffman purchases from select farms. Wool is used in combination with mohair to make a more versatile fiber blend. The farm he currently purchases from is in Texas, and meets both the wool quality and conservation parameters of Pure American Naturals.

“I would like to see some more producers producing this high-quality wool,” Cauffman states. “We need to revive interest in Mohair products.”

Pure American Naturals offers socks, yarn, hand warmers and hats, all of which are sold directly to the public. Educating consumers about the value of natural, ecologically produced fiber products is built in to the brand’s mission.

So is traceability. All of their products are trackable throughout the entire supply chain, and their story is attached to any product originating on the farm, for use by the mills that craft that their products, or anyone else along their blockchain, Cauffman explained. He believes that this transparency is necessary for his — or any — small farm to survive.

“We can’t compete on price,” so need to find consumers with their quality, and their story, Cauffman says. “Value-added requires marketing and distribution. I believe the future of agriculture is in the marketing beyond the farm gate. That is a skill for that the next generation of farmers is going to have to learn.”

The Glen Cauffman Farm and Pure American Naturals: 545 Centerville Rd, Millerstown, PA 17062 717-580-1416.

Carrie Eastman on holistic management practices for goats

The Energetic Goat

In her book The Energetic Goat, author Carrie Eastman provides step-by-step instruction on the basic techniques of holistic management of your goats. She discusses natural, noninvasive, and nontoxic methods of treating your animals and preventing diseases.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of The Energetic Goat, discussing the holistic transition process month by month, including information about diet, parasites and diseases. Additionally, the video below features Eastman herself discussing the topic to further depth. Follow along with your own copy of The Energetic Goat – page numbers noted by section – or in the excerpt below.

From Chapter 6 of The Energetic Goat: Making the Transition to Holistic

Many of you reading this book plan to use these techniques to switch your goat herd over to more holistic management practices. There is a right way and a wrong way to make the switch. If you make a cold-turkey switch to entirely holistic methods overnight, you may be risking a sick or dead goat. Just as you would allow a goat time to adjust to a new climate or feed, you must allow time for the body to adjust to the new program. After going through this transition process many times, both with my own and with clients’ goats, I’ve come up with a somewhat standardized approach. Before making drastic changes to your goat’s management program, it’s always a good idea to talk to a trusted health professional.

Step 1: The First Month

Video: 1:00 – 4:26; Book: pg. 58

This first step assumes the goats have been getting the typical commercial grain mix. These mixes usually contain preservatives, flavorings, unusable minerals, by-products, meals, mineral oil, lots of sugar, and other ingredients that lead to health challenges such as liver toxicity, kidney stress, changes to DNA, abscesses, hair loss, and many other symptoms. To begin making the transition, over the course of a couple weeks, I start cutting the commercial grain mix with more natural substitutes. There are almost as many ways to mix and match grains as there are goat folks. To some extent your choices depend on your hay and browse situation as well as the season. Possible substitutes include oats, non-GMO corn, barley, organic black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS), and non-GMO alfalfa hay or pellets. Keep the total amount of concentrates fed equal by weight to the amount of the commercial mix, and only start cutting back the total weight fed after the transition to natural substitutes is complete and the goats have been eating their new food for a couple weeks. I use a good prebiotic/probiotic during this process.

Generally speaking, focus on high-fat ingredients for healthy weight and grains for extra energy. Remember, grains are for energy, fats are for weight gain, and alfalfa and soy are muscle/topline builders and protein boosters, so consider your feeding goals when formulating. Peas are another good protein source. In general, the less grain you can feed while still maintaining weight, growth rates, and milk yield, the better. The best feed for goats is still what nature intended, a varied browse diet on healthy soils.

Some thoughts to consider when making your personal mix:
• In Eastern medicine, foods are considered to either cool or warm the body. I am not talking about a temperature you can measure with a thermometer. This warming or cooling is energetic and part of the overall energetic balance of the body. Oats are a warming grain and barley cooling, so you may want to switch off depending on the time of year.

• Alfalfa or alfalfa pellets will be high calcium and high protein, and I consider alfalfa more of a supplement than a feed in general (I know many dairy folks consider alfalfa a main part of the diet, so my perspective is a bit different). I feel there are usually ways to support dairy goats without alfalfa. When in doubt, muscle test what works best for your herd.

• Non-GMO corn is a fantastic grain, if you can find it. Corn is very warming and very high calorie. Always use whole corn, as cracked or flaked corn can be at risk for mold unless dried very carefully. My experience has been that few mills take the care necessary to properly dry corn and resort to (toxic) mold inhibitors as a less expensive solution.

• The simplest recipe is using corn/oats/barley in equal amounts by weight, then add BOSS and alfalfa as needed to maintain body condition and milk production.

BOSS is good for laying down body fat. Start with a handful of organic BOSS* and evaluate your goats’ body condition. (*The herbicide glyphosate was approved as a desiccant for sunflowers, oats, and barley, Use only organic, or muscle test for glyphosate residue.) Increase as needed until body fat is correct. In general, wild goats will not have much fat in their diet, so I keep this in mind when adding BOSS. If you are not familiar with how to evaluate body condition, a multitude of videos, pictures, and articles on the internet explain how to score body condition in dairy and meat goats. There is a difference between scoring the two categories, so know which body type your goat is before evaluating. In general, body condition scoring evaluates both fat and muscle cover. It takes about six weeks to transition between score numbers. The score ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being emaciated and 5 being overconditioned. Numbers of 3 and 4 are in the healthy range. Condition is evaluated by feeling the ribs, the spine, the sternum, and the transverse processes over the loins. If you are not familiar with scoring, I suggest doing some internet research.

I add non-GMO alfalfa and/or non-GMO whole extruded soy if muscle is lacking. The alfalfa rule of thumb in my barn is never go above 10 percent by weight of the entire daily browse/ hay ration. If I have to go higher than that, something is wrong somewhere else in my feeding or supplement program.

Any of these suggestions for simple grains and alfalfa assume that you are feeding a high-quality vitamin mineral supplement. Do not assume a simple grain blend will meet all your goats’ nutritional needs. The vitamin and mineral content of any feed depends on the health of the soil it is grown in, and soils vary widely. Many soils are mineral depleted.

Many different rules of thumb have been published on how much grain to feed and how to balance a ration. A simple internet search will locate many options. Keep in mind that all the ration balance calculators depend on averages and results of feeding studies, and in my opinion there is just no way to truly represent every goat and every feed. Hay will vary from bale to bale and batch to batch. Grain will vary depending on where in the field it was grown. My experience is that the quality of hay and browse, the mineral content and quality of grain, the needs of the goat, the breed of the goat, and individual goat variations are all so different that using a calculator and attempting to balance math will drive you quietly insane and still may not help you meet every goat’s needs. A ration calculator could give you a starting point, and then you could use energy testing to tweak the results. I personally don’t use a ration balance calculator at all. I start with the best hay and browse possible, then add basic broad-spectrum supplements, and then adjust fats and grains to get the body score into the healthy range. Finally, offering free-choice supplements allows your goats to do any fine balancing beyond what you can do with testing.

Step 2: Months 2-5

Video: 4:27 – 11:26; Book: pg. 63

In months two through five, you have a decision to make about the health priorities of your herd. Beforehand, make any adjustments that you must to maintain your goat’s healthy weight. Then you will need to make a decision between starting to rebuild mineral reserves and doing a full-body cleanse or detoxification (detox). This is a judgment call and unique to each goat.

Typically if the herd has a significant history of exposure to chemical dewormers, lice medicine, herbicides, pesticides, or toxic water, I muscle test or dowse the goat to start with detoxification. Remember, always ask if the goat can tolerate the change. The other option indicated by muscle testing or dowsing in month two is starting the rebuilding process with a high quality vitamin/mineral supplement program and wait to start a detox. Again, ask if the goat can tolerate the change. Remember: the body does not clean house and rebuild at the same time. Dowse or muscle test to pick a path for month two, and pick only one path.

If you start with the detox, there is another decision to muscle test or dowse. How toxic are the goats? If you suspect high levels of toxin exposure, or you don’t know, detox is usually most safely done by starting with a mild, conservative detoxification agent and building up from there. The most conservative gentle detox is montmorillonite clay for twenty-eight days. The majority of goats have some level of heavy metal exposure from the soils, rainfall, and the additives in vaccines or feeds. If the goat tests as needing heavy metal detox, I add zeolite mineral (see the Resources page for shopping links). The goat may test for a stronger detox, such as a fourteen-day round of Dynamite Herbal Tonic.

There are many other excellent herbal detox formulas formulated for goats on the market. Several brands are listed in the cross-reference chart. An internet search will locate others. A good herbal detox formula will encourage the liver, kidneys, and bowels to flush toxins while supporting healthy digestion.

Always muscle test or dowse for the detox appropriate to your goat. Always test whether your goat can tolerate the detox you decided on. If you have any doubts, start with the mildest detox and work up to stronger blends over time. When the goats are done with the detox, then I start the rebuilding program.

Sometimes the goats test to skip the detox entirely for Step 2 and move to rebuilding the body first. I start the goats on my basic supplement program of free-choice vitamins and minerals, after testing the goat for the program.

Regardless of which option your goats test to start first, Step 2 is two parts: a detox and the beginning of rebuilding the body. Either can happen first; it depends on the priority for that goat. The combination of detox and rebuilding will take about five months total, which puts Step 3 at about six months. Important: If at any time during Step 2 the goat is surrendering to parasites, test to see if chemicals are needed to save the goat. Parasite symptoms can be confused with detox symptoms, which can include diarrhea, runny nose and/or eyes, skin eruptions, weight loss, and hair loss. Before assuming that a symptom is caused by parasites during this period, I muscle test or dowse. A fever, anemia, yellow or green snot, or bloody diarrhea are likely not effects of the detox, and muscle testing or dowsing may indicate treatment with herbs or conventional medications. If you have any doubts about your muscle testing or dowsing abilities please do not risk your goat. Call the vet.

Step 3: Months 6-12

Video: 11:27 – 15:22 Book: pg. 64

At this point you have transitioned the feed and hay, gone through a detox, and spent several months rebuilding nutritional reserves with the highest quality supplement program you can find. Four months is the amount of time it takes for the blood to be completely replaced and is often the milestone when major shifts in health occur.

Another key milestone is two years. In two years, the body replaces all the bone. This is typically when you’ll see your herd reach full health, although it can take longer if the transition was rocky.

Step 3 is continuing the basic optimum nutrition program, and starting to transition your dewormers over. During the first two steps, ideally you have been able to take a break from vaccines and chemicals. Now, as we move into month six, continue to assess. If you suspect parasites are an issue, muscle test or dowse. Start testing for the mildest non-chemical dewormer, such as diatomaceous earth (DE), clay, pumpkin seeds, pine needles, lespedeza, trefoil, chicory, or one of the commercially available herbal blends (I use Dynamite Herbal Tonic). If none of the non-chemical dewormers test as clearing the parasite issue, muscle test or dowse the chemical options. A list of basic chemical options is included in the section on parasites. After the chemical dewormer, wait forty-eight hours and then do a detox with clay to remove the chemical residue. Clay has a negative charge and will bind with the positively charged deworming chemicals still in the gut and carry them out of the body. Clay works mainly on toxins in the digestive tract. You may choose to muscle test or dowse to see if your goat also needs the chemicals removed from the bloodstream. If so, test zeolite (negative charge and small enough to enter the blood stream) or other detox herbs from the crossreference chart. As the months progress, you should find that you are having to resort to the chemicals less and less often. If you get to the end of the first year, and still need chemicals on a regular basis, you need to revisit your basic nutrition program and your pasture management, and pay special attention to copper and zinc.

Never stop large-dose vitamin C supplements abruptly. Wean off over several days to avoid a rebound effect.

Step 4: Months 13-48

Video: 15:23 – 18:22; Book: pg. 65

During months thirteen through forty-eight, continue following all the previous steps. Continue the healthy diet. Continue monitoring mucous membranes and body condition. Continue testing for non-chemical as well as chemical options. You should observe an overall trend of testing for chemicals and medications less and less.

Step 4 is also when you take another look at immunity and vaccines. As your goat becomes healthier you should be seeing illnesses less frequently. There will be times when the goat is under stress, such as when traveling to shows or kidding, that the immune system may need an extra boost. If you anticipate an extra stress on the goat, test for daily prebiotics, some extra vitamin C (preferably as Ester-C with added bioflavonoids or herbal immune boosters (see the cross-reference chart for ideas). The only vaccine currently available for goats is the Caseous lymph-adenitis (CL) vaccine. However, some folks do use the rabies vaccine on their goats as well. Rather than debate whether vaccines
are necessary, I will just offer that if you choose to vaccinate, you can place a clay poultice on the vaccination site immediately after removing the needle and start clay and zeolite orally (muscle test or dowse the dosage and frequency) to remove the preservatives and mercury right away. Personally, I give one dose of homeopathic nux vomica 30c immediately to counteract any vaccine side effects (or lyssin 30c if using the rabies vaccine). You may choose to muscle test or dowse for nux vomica also.

If your goat has a history of vaccines, you may want to muscle test or dowse to determine if your goat has vaccinosis. The symptoms of vaccinosis can look like many other diseases and are as varied as behavioral changes, hair loss, or failure to thrive. If testing indicates vaccinosis, then muscle test or dowse these remedies: thuja occidentalis 30c, lyssin 30c, or silicea 30c, including the number of doses.

In Europe, there has been some work done with homeopathic nosodes. Nosodes are homeopathic remedies containing
the vibrational signatures of different diseases. Some feel nosodes can be used to encourage to body’s immune system to fight off a specific disease. Nosodes exist for CL, caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE), and Johne’s disease in goats. You must contact an experienced livestock homeopath to administer nosodes. I use these nosodes in my herd to boost immunity against these diseases under veterinary supervision. The nosodes come as tiny sugar pellets, usually given orally in several doses over a period of time. As with homeopathy in general, some debate exists as to their effectiveness. Also, as with all homeopathy in general, the remedies work best in a well-mineralized toxin-free goat. See the Resources page for suggestions on locating a homeopathic livestock veterinarian.

About Carrie Eastman

Carrie Eastman

Carrie Eastman was drawn to animals and healing at a very young age. She graduated from Penn State in 1990 with an honors B.S. in wildlife science and additional focused coursework in horse production and crop and soil sciences. Today Carrie continues to study health and healing, soils, crops and nutrition, as well as conscious horsemanship and balanced hoof trimming. In her spare time, she helps to keep the farm repaired, improves her building techniques, gardens, and tinkers with old machines. She shares her home with three horses, a herd of myotonic goats, chickens, dogs, cats, fish, turtles, and of course her wonderful family. You can find more of her content online at her blog,