Meet Leon Hay

Hay Dairies

Goat farming for a new generation

Farming runs in Leon Hay’s blood. As a child, he grew up on the family farm, raising pigs, ducks and chickens, and literally building the farm by hand.

A year in the finance industry quickly showed him that a deskbound job wasn’t on the cards, leading him to help out in the family business, which had evolved into Singapore’s first ever goat farm in 1988. As the second-generation owner of Hay Dairies, Leon currently manages a farm that’s home to about 700 American mountain goats.

Goat farming 101

Leon shares about the love, care and attention required to run a goat farm in Singapore.

Have you always been keen on farming? Image

Have you always been keen on farming?

When you grow up with animals all around you, it’s natural to have an interest in them. To other people it may be unique, but for you it’s part of the everyday, and a normal thing to have in your life.

Was it ever tough to pick up farming skills? Image

Was it ever tough to pick up farming skills?

Well, nothing about farming is taught in school! And my father’s not exactly the ‘sit down and teach you’ sort, so we had to learn everything by seeing and doing. You learn everything from scratch, and you’ve got to have the mindset that you’re taking care of another living being.

Most of it came quite naturally to me — but helping a mommy goat to deliver a kid can be quite an eye-opening experience. The husbandry method you’re taught may not always work!

What current challenges are you facing? Image

What current challenges are you facing?

We’re currently moving to a 1-hectare farm, which requires us to be more vertical. My family has tried to do it before in the late 70s to 80s, when we were attempting to run a two-tier pig farm. We’re trying to build something that’s both efficient, productive and holistic for the goats.

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a farmer? Image

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a farmer?

How my father taught me to do farming is to always be true to your heart. Whatever the goats have given us, we should give back to our customers, and do right by them. We have families who’ve been with us for years. There was this little girl who had a bad case of eczema, and even though she had allergies to cow milk, goat’s milk was something she could drink without triggering the condition. That really warmed my heart.

A day in the life

“You could say that animal farming is like a relationship,” Leon shares. “You’re responsible for another living being — You can’t just walk off and leave when you feel like it.”

Leon’s days at Hay Dairies are spent tending to the goats, maintaining farm equipment and conducting farm tours. Being able to act decisively and improvise are part and parcel of running the goat farm, and Leon’s hands-on approach requires him to manage the farm’s 700 goats and their individual temperaments.

Food for thought

Leon discusses triumphs, challenges and future plans for Hay Dairies.

Hues that get their goats

Goats can be finicky creatures, and small changes to their surroundings can cause them to get nervous. When Leon’s mother changed the farm uniform’s colour from white to orange, the goats started to get skittish, and refused to eat.

Skills that run in the family

The Hay family take a hands-on approach to running the farm. Instead of employing an in-house vet, Leon and his family take charge of the husbandry and care of all the goats, relying on his family’s past experience.

Delicious new products in the works

Talk about bright futures ahead — besides goat’s milk, Hay Dairies is planning to expand its range of products to include yoghurt and goat milk drinks with oats and fruit bits. Leon is currently figuring out how to create these products without additional preservatives or chemicals, so that customers can experience the natural goodness of goat’s milk.

Hay Dairies’ fresh goat milk can be purchased on its website, RedMart and Cold Storage.

Hay Dairies

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