Boykin Farms: A family hobby farm with the prettiest blue-eyed goats in Darlington County
By Jana E. Pye, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
When Dawn and Daniel Boykin were wed, the young bride knew her husband would want to have a small farm one day. Neither imagined that they would have a small business breeding goats, and using the nutrient high-fat goat milk to create a successful soap and lotion small business.
“I knew he’d want some chickens,” said Dawn. “When I first visited Daniel’s home, his father had an incubator hatching chicks in the kitchen!”
Daniel laughed. “I grew up out in the country,” he said. “I have just always loved it.”
On their well-manicured six acres of land in the Hurricane Farms subdivision in Darlington with fruit trees, blueberries, and grapevines, the couple and their 12 year old son, Denton, tend to a hobby farm in addition to their full time jobs. Their farm animals include a small herd of Nigerian dwarf goats, a flock of laying hens (Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks in long nesting enclosures under trees for shade and protection from stray dogs), a few Guineas that roam about the farm, a sweet miniature Australian shepherd dog named Jackson, an adopted lop eared rabbit named Brer’ Rabbit, and two hard working cats – Puddin’, who sleeps with the goats, and Mittens, who sleeps with the hens.
The goats came as a surprise about two years ago when a neighbor asked if they’d like to buy some from a farmer selling off his herd.
“We bought seven without even having a barn yet,” recalled Dawn. “Our neighbor bought a few, and kept ours for us until we built the barn and the fences.”
The couple chose the Nigerian dwarf breed partly because of their smaller size as a milk goat, and “..they are just adorable,” said Denton.
His parents agree.
“We like the blue-eyed ones the best, and we find that other hobby farmers do too.” said Don. There were 15 babies born to the herd this year already, fetching premium prices for their color, eye color (the blue eyed babies are always a happy surprise!), good bloodlines and excellent health. Each is sold with papers.
The couple has looked into showing their goats; Denton may wish to do as he gets older. He’s already had success with hatching chicks, and selling them.
The daily routine for the family consists of getting up at 4:30 a.m. to feed the animals and give them fresh water, cleaning out pens, and repeating in the early evening. Denton’s job is to provide water to the animals, hauling bucket after bucket.
The couple insures good health for their herd by worming them, trimming their hooves, providing vaccinations and disbudding – removing horns – all at their farm.
The goats have a long lifespan, living 12 – 20 years for does, and 8 – 11 years for bucks. The bucks and does are kept in separate pens, and are bred twice a year, in the fall and spring.
The female goats producing milk are milked once a day, and happily hop up to the milking station to snack on some dry food while Daniel milks them. Each doe’s udder has two teats.
“The milk is higher in vitamins, high in minerals, selenium – it’s high is almost everything.” said Daniel.
The milk fat is much higher than cow’s milk, too, which makes it perfect for making the soaps and lotions.
Dawn has the soap and lotion routine down to a science, and enlists help from her husband and son to assist. The soap cures for 5 weeks, and the lotion is ready to use as soon as it is bottled. The number one fragrance is Clean Cotton, but the new McIntosh Apple is gaining appeal. In addition to the high fat goat milk, she adds shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil to create luxurious, great smelling soap and lotion.
Dawn has also made goat’s milk cheese, and goat’s milk fudge just for their own use, but not to sell. “Both are out of this world!” she says.
“We haven’t pursued getting the products into many stores because we are in a spot of –‘do we want another job or keep it as a hobby?’ We’ve had several places that have expressed an interest.” said Daniel.
“We really do want it to stay a hobby, –but if it’s big enough to do the to not have to work, it’d be great.” added Dawn.
Daniel grins at his wife. “You keep working and I’ll retire and do the farm stuff?” he asks. “I enjoy it. I’d much rather farm.”
Folks can find their products at Darlington Feed and Seed, on their Facebook page: Boykin Farms, and the Market at Darlington Square. You may reach them at: 843-393-8823.
Mobile users, please click link to see slideshow of more photos: Boykin Farmss