Handmade soaps and lotions using milk from happy goats.

Culpeper, Virginia 92 Sales On Etsy since 2012

0 out of 5 stars (37)


Handmade soaps and lotions using milk from happy goats.

Culpeper, Virginia | 92 Sales

HolyGoats is taking a short break

A Chandler

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A Chandler


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About HolyGoats

Sales 92
On Etsy since 2012

Sometimes It Takes a Push

I've always wanted to try something like this, but never got up the courage. Then one day my company lost the contract that provided my job, I lost my job, and suddenly I didn't have any more excuses not to try it.

Things are going pretty well so far. I may not be making as much money as I did, but I'm worlds happier.

I believe in sustainable agriculture and changing the way our industrial systems treat the earth. Here at Holy Goats, the goats are an integrated part of our micro-farm. Garden waste and forage crops go to the goats (and chickens) for food, and then the animals' bedding is composted to become soil for the garden. We hot-compost, meaning that the internal temperature of our pile is above 100F, to kill any pathogens that might remain in the bedding and prevent them from contaminating the soil and water or sickening wild animals. We prefer to discourage predators who would like a chicken dinner rather than shooting them. Careful monitoring of our animals' conditions means that we can use a minimum of medications and dewormers, and we keep resistance to disease and the local parasite population in mind when breeding. Because I do test my goats for disease, I can allow them to raise their own babies rather than separating them at birth. Because my chickens are healthy and canny free-rangers, I can likewise allow hens who are so inclined to set a nest and raise their brood. My goats are allowed to stop giving milk before I breed them, and the hens are allowed to naturally stop or slow down laying in the winter. None of them are ever treated with hormones or artificial lighting systems to force them to continue producing during times their bodies would naturally stop.

Part of my commitment to sustainable agriculture is a commitment to local agriculture. All the feed we buy for our livestock is grown within 100 miles of us and the grain is processed at the local farmers' coop, reducing the carbon burden of our farm. To further shrink our footprint, I use intensive mob grazing methods with my goats that encourage carbon sequestration and organic soil improvement. I do not use synthetic fertilizers or herbicides that may run off into the water supply; the Chesapeake bay has enough problems without me adding to them.

Finally, I strive to take care of all the living things on the farm, from the tiny microbes in the soil that nourish plants and the microbes in the rumens of my goats that nourish them up to the oak trees that give us shade, leaves for composting, and acorns for forage for the animals (I make sure to leave a plentiful supply for the squirrels and deer). Viewing my tiny farm as a holistic system lets me make choices that reduce pollution and maximize production. It is probably harder work than drenching everything from the soil to the goats in various drugs and synthetics, but it lets me keep my soul and more importantly it ensures that the land keeps its soul, too.

I treat making my soaps and lotions the same way as I treat farming. Nothing is wasted – the scrapings of my soap bowl go into a pile to be melted down and made into soap for my family to use (even the dogs!) and the scrapings from the lotion bowl go into my personal jar of lotion for use. This prevents things like the lye I use for soap-making and the preservative I use in lotion going into our septic system and from there into the ground water. I carefully choose ingredients that are the safest and most affordable I can find. This means that sometimes I use synthetic fragrance vice essential oils, but I'd also urge customers to keep in mind that “natural” doesn't always mean “safe” and essential oils contain compounds beyond those that make them smell pretty. When I do buy essential oils, I look for sustainably farmed and fair trade oils. I refuse to use “wildcrafted” oils, meaning those made from plants that are taken from the wild, as there's more than enough habitat destruction going on worldwide without the soap industry contributing to it.

When you buy from me, you're supporting my dream of a way of agriculture that leaves the earth a better place than it was before, rather than a destructive system. You're supporting unconventional methods of raising livestock that respect the natural instincts and life cycles of the animals involved. I am deeply and humbly grateful for the support of customers; I know that you have a choice as to where you spend your money and I am so happy when you choose to support my efforts.

Around the web

Shop members

  • Andrea


    I live an Idyllic life in the Virginia Piedmont with my goats, chickens, dogs, cats, and one very patient, very supportive, and very wonderful husband. I love to make things.

  • Queen May

    Herd Queen

    Miss May keeps the herd in line, mediating disputes and preventing bullying of smaller members. When in milk, she produces about a gallon a day.

  • Esk

    Trouble-Maker In Charge

    Esk is the goat who has figured out how to open latches. The only thing that stops her from wreaking havoc is her small size. Despite her tiny stature, she does manage to give about half a gallon of milk a day when she gets going.

  • Annabelle

    Milker Extraordinaire

    A quiet and unassuming little goat, Annabelle is easy to get along with and causes no trouble (unlike her sister Esk). She manages to put out half a gallon a day very reliably.

  • Ambrosia

    Diva Milker Supreme

    Ambrosia is the diva of the herd. She has supermodel hips and isn't afraid to insist you admire them. She is also firmly dedicated to her mission to drown us in milk, refusing to dry off.

  • Lily

    Herd Second In Command

    Queen May can't be everywhere, and where she isn't you will find Lily making sure that the herd is a peaceful and quiet place. She also adores the young goats and is a patient auntie to them.

  • Siri

    Young Goat In Waiting

    Young Siri is often to be found attempting to play with other goats, even if they don't want to be played with. She also adores snuggling with people. She'll be a year old in March 2013, and not bred until Fall 2013.

  • Second

    Young Goat In Waiting

    Second was, well, the second of a pair of twins born here. Originally I intended to sell her, but she was just too adorable to let go, so here she stays.

  • Sadie Mae

    Young Goat In Waiting

    A sweeter and more loving goat than Sadie Mae cannot be found. She is patient, polite, and loves to have the top of her head scratched.

  • Sophie

    Terrorist Extraordinaire

    Born in October 2012, Esk's daughter Sophie has shown a real flare for her mother's high-engagement style. If you sit down, Sophie will jump in your lap. If you don't sit down, Sophie will try to run up your leg like a parkour artist.

Shop policies

Last updated on November 27, 2012
Welcome! Here you can find handmade lotions and cold process soaps made with milk from my happy goats. Proceeds from the shop are used in part to support my goats in the manner to which they're accustomed. For tales of our idyllic life, please visit my blog at http://manorofmixedblessings.com.

I strive to be kind to my goats and a good steward of my little slice of heaven. I believe in a sustainable, local model of agriculture that nourishes everyone, even the soil. Everything I feed my goats is grown within 50 miles of my tiny farm. Your purchase here helps me make that possible, by paying for goat feed and care.

Please be aware that some of my products use essential oils. Some people are sensitive to them, when in doubt order a sample or choose a different product entirely.

Accepted payment methods

Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
Refunds, returns, and exchanges will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you're not happy with your order when you receive it, please get in touch and let me know what I can do to make it right for you.
I accept PayPal as well as direct payment by credit card. I do not accept checks or money orders.
I ship Monday through Friday with the exception of major holidays (when the post office is closed). Orders will usually ship within 2 business days using First Class or Priority US Mail. If you need your order faster than First Class mail can provide, please convo me about expedited shipping.
Additional policies and FAQs

1) Why do your lotions have weird chemicals in them?

While the high temperature and caustic environment of soap kills bacteria, the same isn't true for lotion. In fact, lotion makes for a cozy and nutritious environment for bacteria and fungus. Accordingly, I pasteurize the milk I use to make lotions and add a germicide so you don't wind up with a bottle of mold.

2) Why do you use fragrance oils instead of essential oils in some products?

Essential oils can be unsafe for some people. "Natural" doesn't always mean safe, and synthetic doesn't always mean dangerous. The fragrance oils I use are skin-safe, phthalate-free, and not tested on animals. They are also guaranteed to lack the medicinal elements that make some essential oils potentially dangerous.

3) Do you do custom soaps?

The answer here is a definite maybe. If I have unscented soap on hand that I can re-mill to add one of my usual scents, we're likely to both be happy with the result. But cold process soap requires weeks to cure, and I'm not good at converting text descriptions to scents. So if I don't have the materials on hand, custom soap isn't likely to make you happy.

All that being said, please feel free to convo me and ask!

4) Does the milk really come from your goats?

Yep, and I'm enough of a Luddite that I milk by hand, most of the time. Generally, the ladies give us at least a half-gallon a day depending on who's in milk at the time. There's only two humans in the house and we end up with a lot of leftover milk even after I make cheese and butter. I hate to waste any of it as that seems disrespectful to my goats, so what we don't consume becomes soap and lotion.

5) What makes your goats holy?

I admit that I have never discussed spiritual matters with my goats. For all I know I actually have some very profane goats running around out there. But what I do know is that goats often have a small mysterious smile and soft eyes, reminiscent of many paintings of saints. I prefer to think they're contemplating the mysteries of the Divine, because the other option is that they're planning to take over.