The only goat farm in Singapore17 July, 2010 by Yan
In the tiny little island of Singapore where land is scarce, we might think that there is little room for agricultural development of any sorts. Strangely though, a small part in the west of this small little island lies a series of farms that produces small quantities of agriculture for our community. Among these, Hay Dairies is the only farm that handles goats and produces fresh milk. With this article I’ll try to give viewers a visual tour of Hay Dairies.
Hay Dairies was founded by Mr Hay Yak Tang. The Hay family initially started out rearing ducks and chickens before switching to pig farming in the early 1920s to 1970s. In the early 80s, pig farming was phased out in Singapore and with help from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority – AVA (formerly known as the Primary Production Department, PPD), the Hays developed goat farming as an alternative livelihood. The AVA gave the Hays contacts in the US, and helped import the first batch of Alpine, Nubian, Toggenburg and Saanen goats. This way the Hays became the goat farmers that we are more familiar with now.
With more than 2 decades of experience under its belt, Hay Dairies has been the only local dairy farm to produce goat’s milk for the local market. Additionally, since its opening the farm has also been providing educational tours for visiting visitors and a chance to get up close and personal with the goats. Unfortunately, with the recent flu scare and other epidemics, the goat feeding and close up sessions with the goats are long gone. One can still visit the farm to see the goats being milked though.
Visiting Hay Dairies
Located on the very obscure Lim Chu Kang Road. Hay Dairies, the only goat farm in Singapore, is situated on lane 4.
A vehicle is definitely needed for this trip.
Since the route to Hay Dairies is only through a small 2 way lane, it is rather easy to miss the signboard.
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Without a car, the next easiest way to use the only public transport that goes by Hay Dairies:
Bus number 975 travels from Choa Chu Kang Bus interchange to Hay Dairies via a roughly 1 hour trip. Just let the bus driver know that you want to alight at Hay Dairies. To get to Choa Chu Kang, take the SMRT subway to Choa Chu Kang Station (NS4/BP1).
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Another good way to visit Hay Dairies, would be to take the Kranji Express bus service, which departs at intervals from Kranji MRT station (NS7). For just $2, this service will take you on a tour of ten farms (mostly vegetable farms), Hay Dairies included.
At Hay Dairies
Hay Dairies is open to public 7 days a week from 9am-4pm. Groups numbering more than 20 had best make an appointment with the farm office, so that necessary arrangements can be prepared. Visitors who wish to view the milking process should head down from 9am-11am.
The farm has a large viewing area and canteen, perfectly suited for school excursions or educational tours to view the milking action as close as the farm allows. Other than viewing the milking process, visitors can also head down to the living quarters of the goats to see how they go on about with their daily lives. That is, if you don’t mind the pungent stench of feces and urine floating amidst the air.
The Milking Process
This is (almost) what everybody comes here for! Sit back and enjoy the action.
The Viewing Quarters
As the Singapore AVA does not want the farm to allow any interaction between incoming visitors and the goats, there is quite a restriction on what we can do besides taking pictures. The walking area for the goat’s living quarters is rather limited. Better bring a camera with good zoom lens or a binoculars.
Sampling the Goat’s Milk
Often touted as superior to cow’s milk, goat’s milk still only draws a niche market in Singapore. Perhaps the greatest benefit of goat’s milk, however, is that people who are lactose intolerant (towards cow’s milk) are able to drink goat’s milk without much problems. It is also well known that goat’s milk has a slightly unpleasant smell and funky taste. This would be the taste test of this trip down Hay Dairies.