Do you love baby goats? KAG’s Kristina Hernandez sure does. She visited local farm, Split Creek Farm, and got to spend some time with baby goats. You can head to Split Creek Farm and see goats, too. This farm offers tours, events, a farm store with delicious cheese and more.
When you have the chance to play with baby goats, you play with baby goats. You get insanely happy. You wear a silly smile on your face for hours. And then your heart breaks a bit when you can’t take them home.
That’s what happened at Split Creek Farm, an award-winning goat farm in Anderson when I visited one morning. Time flew by as I got a tour from co-owner and goat-lover Sandra. We saw mama goats who were about to have their kids, baby goats playing together, baby goats sleeping all piled up together, baby goats eating my pants, and little tiny baby goats getting trained on bottle feeding.
I fell in love with a three-day-old little girl baby goat that had soft, black fur and let me hold her (ok, Sandra let me hold her). Seriously, this was blissful. It made me happy, which for me, is kind of hard to come by some days.
What Happens at Split Creek Farm
The stellar reputation of this farm precedes them. This farm has so many awards for their cheeses, goat milk products, and actual goats that they have a legitimate little museum on site to house all their trophies, ribbons, and plaques.
In 2017, they beat out every single American producer and farmer in the cheese category for their Feta Marinated in Olive Oil. And in 2010, they took home the Gold Medal at the World Championship of Cheese Contest in Madison, WI, beating cheeses from France, Italy, and the US.
This little farm plays in the big leagues and they are darn proud of it, as they should be. They’ve been providing grade A goat milk for over 30 years and their passion just radiates from every aspect of the farm, from the little goat babies to end products of cheese, fudge, and yogurt.
You can purchase their products at the shop on the farm or online but also enjoy the cheeses at many Greenville restaurants such as The Anchorage, Farm Fresh Fast, Bacon Brothers, Stella’s Southern Bistro, GB&D, Farm House Tacos, Passerelle, and a dozen others.
Springtime is their busy season as kidding has begun, which is a round-the-clock operation. As a mother, I understand nighttime feedings, little sleep, and running on fumes. Split Creek Farm estimates they will have around 100 baby goats by the end of kidding season in April. These cute little animals that need round-the-clock care and feeding every two hours for the first two days of their lives, then hands-on care as they learn to feed themselves from the bottle for the next few days.
This goes on for months! I snuck a peek into one of the employee-only rooms off the little shop at the farm. There were five or six pack ‘n plays all lined up. I had stumbled into the goat nursery. Unfortunately, no newborn goats were there but just imagining the care that these little guys and girls need when they are born is overwhelming. Sandra told me she has a similar setup at her house, as does her co-owner, Jessica Bell.
I asked Sandra if she sleeps, which was like asking a new mom the same question. You can guess the answer.
Can I See Baby Goats, Too?
Yes! Split Creek Farm is all about educating the public on what they do, how they treat their animals, what they produce from the farm, and how cool goats are. They have Adirondack chairs and benches all over the place for guests to just come and hang out. They have a little shop that sells their goat cheeses, fudge, and milk plus all kinds of other goodies like goat stuffed animals, soap, and trinkets.
Baby goats, like baby humans, have a delicate immune system so you can’t just frolic around and hold the little guys and girls. Families especially have to be careful since kids tend to carry around germs more than others (or so it seems). But they are welcome to come and check out the kids and see the other animals.
Don’t miss their Spring Means Babies festival on April 23, 2022 from 10 am – 3 pm. You’ll be able to see all the babies and shop from cool, local vendors.
Educational Tours at Split Creek Farm
The farm understands the importance of educating the public because it pertains directly to their survival. If the public is familiar with how the farm works, what they do, and why it is important, the community will be more supportive, which benefits everyone. For children especially, learning where food comes from in a fun environment is beneficial to their education and knowledge.
Split Creek Farm is not a huge farm with lots of volunteers and employees. In fact, there are less than ten people that work there, which shocked me because I observed a mere fraction of the work that was being done and it was a great deal, more than I would have thought a small number of people could pull off.
They introduced a new, self-guided tour with plaques all around the farm that explain what they do, the different breeds of goats on the farm, and how milking works. It’s awesome and very educational. You can take the tour on Fridays and Saturdays when they are open for visiting hours.
Goat Yoga at Split Creek Farm
As you may imagine, Split Creek Farm goat yoga sessions are insanely popular. They allow guests to bring their yoga mats out in the field with the mama goats, who just love all the attention. The animals are gentle and just like to hang out and befriend whoever comes their way. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for dates.
“We probably do more playing with goats than actual yoga,” Sandra tells me.
Guests who come for goat yoga are also able to play with the baby goats (yay!), specifically the Nigerian dwarfs. These guys, oh my gosh, I can’t even write anything that accurately describes their energy. It’s totally different than the bigger mamas. The babies want to play with you and jump around and maybe eat your pants. I loved these guys and if Sandra wasn’t with me, I probably would have jumped into their pen to play with them.
Why is goat yoga so popular?
“Because it just makes people happy,” said Sandra.
Goats 4 Goodness
Speaking of making people happy, Sandra recently founded a non-profit called Goats 4 Goodness, whose mission is to “Do Good Things” for goats and people. They have already partnered with Make A Wish Foundation to give kids that last wish they may have of playing with goats or being a farmer for a day. Goats 4 Goodness also works with special needs kids, recognizing that goats are inherently playful and loving, and fun. They don’t judge anyone!
Using animals for therapy isn’t anything new, however, there are not many places, especially in this area of the country, that do it with goats. There is something special about spending time with goats that can heal or just help people to let go of their immediate reality and enjoy some moments of peace.
Sandra would know, too. She had a long and successful career in Washington, DC as the Deputy Chief of Police of U.S. Capitol Police and worked also at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and as the Emergency Response Team Leader for FEMA. These are stressful jobs. She fell into destructive habits and went to rehab for several months. It was volunteering at Split Creek Farm where she turned her life around. Now she wants to give back to the community the goodness and healing she has found working with goats. You can learn more at their website or Facebook page.
Tips on Visiting Split Creek Farm
You can go to Split Creek Farm to shop (get the fudge, all of it) when the store is open but visiting hours (when you walk around, do the tour, or just hang out with the goats), is only on Fridays and Saturdays. Times are below.
Just understand that this is a working farm and there is a lot that needs to be done. The volunteers and staff are awesome and can answer your questions but they can’t take a couple of hours to walk you around. So watch your kids, follow the instructions on the signs, and wear proper clothes to deal with mud and dirt. No pets are allowed at the farm.
Also, if you or your children are battling a cold, come back when those sniffles are gone. Baby goats are susceptible to getting sick just like human babies and can’t afford to be exposed to sicknesses that early in life.
There are other animals hanging out there like chickens, cats, and dogs. They roam and will come and check you out. If your kids are scared of unknown animals checking them out, prep them ahead of time. The border collie, Sam, will probably just want to play with them though, and throw his toy around.
Lastly, enjoy your time at the dairy farm. Life is stressful. Adulting is hard. Playing with baby goats is relaxing, fun, and truly blissful. Whether for five minutes or two hours, visiting Split Creek Farm should go on your #mustdo list this year. Don’t miss out on this joy.
Split Creek Farm
3806 Centerville Road, Anderson
Self-guided tours are available Friday and Saturday 10 am – 6 pm. The farm shop is open Monday-Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.