About Raggedy Range Cheese
The 80 hectare family farm and cheesery is located in the heart of beautiful Central Otago on the western foothills of the Raggedy Range at Galloway near Alexandra.
Our property has a mix of irrigated pastures and dryland hill, with numerous schist rock outcrops.
Historically, the area was traversed only seasonally by Maori, and was notable later for some of Central's earliest European history and settlement, predating even the gold-rush booms of the 1860s.
The area still produces some of the world's finest merino wool, and is now hugely popular with visitors who quietly cycle along the Rail Trail which is on our doorstep.
Our philosophy is to farm as naturally as possible. Our goats keep their horns, and they are free to roam and browse on the hills and pastures, expressing their natural behaviours. Our animal health strategies are based on chemical-free farming practices, selective breeding, natural dietary supplements and remedies, and allowing animals to free-range on the widest range of pasture and dry hill herbage available.
We strive to make high quality cheese, which begins by producing excellent milk from healthy contented livestock.
Our dairy goats are a mixture of Toggenburg, Nubian and Saanen. Each one is a character; stroppy or timid, noisy and nosey, greedy or fussy. Numbers are small with a maximum of thirty being milked plus replacement kids.
The kids are raised on their mums until three to four months old when they are weaned onto a steep schist-rock hill block, with tussock, bugloss, sweet briar and a willow-lined creek. They thrive in these conditions.
They shelter in caves and under rock overhangs and generally live on the wild side until they kid as two year olds when they are bribed back into the milking herd. The milking herd forages in paddocks with our red deer. This combination of animal species promotes good stock health.
Goats learn the milking routine generally within a week. They are clean animals and almost never disgrace themselves at milking time.
We introduced milking genetics into our flock of 100 sheep in 2012 using East Freisian, Awassi and Dorper bloodlines. In 2019 we were able to source Lacaune genetics. Lacaune are a traditional French milking sheep, and the progeny from this cross are exceptionally curious and friendly animals. We milk up to 70 sheep.
The lambs are drafted off their mothers in the evening and returned after milking in the morning. Mums and lambs do well under this arrangement.
The milking ewes are fed a crushed barley treat with mineral supplements during milking.
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