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The Small-Scale Dairy

The Complete Guide to Milk Production for the Home and Market

By Gianaclis Caldwell


The Small-Scale Dairy includes everything you need to know in order to successfully produce nourishing, healthy, farm-fresh milk. Whether for home use, direct sale to the consumer, or sale to an artisanal cheesemaker, high-quality raw milk is a delicate, desirable product. Successful and sustainable production requires the producer to consider and tackle many details, ranging from animal care to microbiology to good hygienic practices–and, for those with commercial aspirations, business plans, market savvy, and knowledge of the regulations.

Applicable to keepers of cows, goats, or sheep, The Small-Scale Dairy offers a holistic approach that explores the relationships between careful, conscientious management and the production of safe, healthy, and delicious milk. A historical overview offers readers a balanced perspective on the current regulatory environment in which raw milk lovers find themselves.

Included are options for designing a well-functioning small dairy, choosing equipment, and understanding myriad processes—such as the use of low-temperature pasteurization where raw milk sales are prohibited. Whether you have a one-cow home dairy, a fifty-goat operation, or are simply a curious consumer, The Small-Scale Dairy is an accessible and invaluable resource for achieving your goals.

Reviews and Praise


"Many an urban or suburban dweller has dreamed about producing milk that comes not from a bottle but from one’s own animal, be it cow, goat, or sheep. Launching such an operation may daunt, but, as Caldwell details, it’s far from an impossible challenge given the proper resources, knowledge, and pluck. Even a few animals can produce enough milk daily to bottle one’s own, or process it into salable secondary products such as cheese or yogurt. Selecting, feeding, and sheltering dairy animals are complex processes to get actual milking underway. Local and national governments closely regulate production and distribution of dairy products with an eye to protecting the public from all manner of transmittable diseases. Learning about these regulations and regional variances is critical to commercial viability. With burgeoning interest in locavorism, this book may prove to have a much larger audience than one might anticipate.”

Publishers Weekly-

"Whether you’re considering opening a small commercial dairy, daydreaming about adding a couple of miniature milking goats to your urban homestead, or just curious about the hoopla over raw milk, Caldwell (Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking) has the lowdown. She can’t repress her own lifelong passion for dairy animals and milk—she was raised from birth on raw milk from a neighbor’s cow and kept her own 4H cow before her current ownership of a goat’s milk dairy farm—but her hardheaded, gritty descriptions of the realities of keeping dairy livestock will filter out all aspirants but those most suited to what Caldwell calls a '‘lifestyle business’ rather than a growth or investment business.' She offers comprehensive advice about business plans and licensing; choosing and caring for animals; building and managing a dairy; and maintaining impeccable dairy hygiene. She also profiles a variety of appealing small dairies; but perhaps most fascinating to prospective milkmaids, artisanal cheese eaters, and quotidian milk-drinkers are her chronicles of the checkered history of small dairies and extensive coverage of the biology and chemistry of that precious, astoundingly complex white liquid called milk.”

“What a pleasure to read a book about milk production that is at once engaging, nonpolitical, and full of level-headed advice on how to start a small milking operation. I love the practical information on everything from pecking order to water troughs to animal nutrition to finding markets outside the commodity-processing system. I can see dog-eared copies of this book becoming staple references in the back pockets of their owners’ overalls.”--David E. Gumpert, author of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights

"Caldwell doesn't try to convince you that dairy farming is easy (it's not), but she does give you the tools and information you need to make your hard work pay off. From choosing equipment, to caring for your cows, goats, or sheep, to making your own kefir or yogurt, Caldwell covers it all in clear, layperson's terms. An excellent companion for any new or wannabe small-scale dairy farmer."--Abigail Gehring, author of The Homesteading Handbook and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living

“Raw milk is today’s fastest growing agricultural market, a niche product poised to become mainstream.  In The Small-Scale Dairy, Gianaclis Caldwell provides those wishing to meet the demand for unprocessed milk everything they need to produce safe, healthy, raw dairy products.  From cow and goat care to milk sanitation and testing, Caldwell answers all your questions and provides reliable advice based on years of experience. For both producers and consumers, The Small-Scale Dairy is a must read and a valuable contribution to a growing movement.”--Sally Fallon Morell, president, The Weston A. Price Foundation, and founder, A Campaign for Real Milk

“If you’re considering taking your passion for dairying full time, this is absolutely the book for you. Gianaclis Caldwell’s The Small-Scale Dairy expertly and comprehensively guides you through the entire process of making milk products for home and market. From the science of microbiology and the function of udders, to what’s needed to create a milking parlor and even sample floor plans for dairies of all sizes and scales, everything you need to run a dairy is here.”--Ashley English, author of Home Dairy with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter & More, and Handmade Gatherings: Recipes and Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations and Potluck Parties 

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