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About Chuckling Goat

At Chuckling Goat, we are a heart-led business. We’ve never believed that cash is king! Our mission is to help people on their gut health journey.

Today, we are the number one UK producer of kefir and leading gut health experts in the field. We offer a range of natural gut health solutions, including award-winning goats milk kefir, kefir skincare, therapeutic herbal tea, microbiome testing and free advice from an in-house team of nutritional therapists.

Our company statement is “family first” – and these days, our definition of family has grown to include 23 team members, 15 barn cats, 50 goats, and more than 200,000 customers in 56 countries around the world!

Chuckling Goat’s Journey

The Chuckling Goat journey began in 2008 when our co-Director, American radio talk show host and city girl, Shann, age 41, met and fell in love with Welsh farmer, Richard Jones.

Years later, when their son, Benji, suffered from recurrent bronchial infections, Richard and Shann went looking for answers. Continual rounds of antibiotics left Benji in an infection cycle that created eczema and tummy problems. Rich suggested that they get a goat, as it’s well known in the Welsh tradition that goats milk is hypoallergenic and good for asthma, eczema and bronchial issues.

Shann and Richard drove straight from the doctor’s office to see “a man who had a goat,” and they brought the goat home with them. Buddug was a beautiful black and white Anglo Nubian with long floppy ears, and they immediately fell in love with her cheeky personality!

How Chuckling Goat’s goat milk kefir began

Shann finally learned to milk Buddug, and they gave the milk to Benji. The goats milk did help with Benji’s bronchial infections. But then there was too much goats milk! Searching for something to do with all the leftover milk, Shann stumbled on the idea of goats milk kefir after she heard a Russian doctor talking about it on the radio.

Shann contacted the doctor to learn how to make the highest standard of therapeutic kefir, and was advised to do the following, to produce the highest grade of therapeutic kefir:

  • Use goats milk instead of cows milk. Cows milk contains the allergenic A1 casein, which inflames the gut and aggravates autoimmune conditions.
  • Use real, living kefir grains. These will produce kefir that is exponentially stronger than kefir made with a powdered sachet starter.
  • Never add sugar or flavourings, because these things will degrade the probiotics.

Those are still the rules we follow today making our goats milk kefir!

And then Chuckling Goat was born

In 2012, Rich became ill with colitis. He went into the hospital and came out without his large intestine, but with a superbug infection called MRSA which was resistant to all antibiotics. When the doctors couldn’t help, and Rich’s life was in danger, Shann decided to try to save him using a combination of essential oils and their own kefir, applied on the skin. Luckily, these natural remedies worked. Rich swabbed clear of MRSA two weeks later. He got up out of bed and got on his tractor, where he’s been ever since!

Testing of both the CG Oil, (Shann’s proprietary blend of essential oils) and the kefir at Aberystwyth University showed the efficacy of this natural protocol.

With very little cash to their name, the couple was forced to sell Rich’s beloved motorcycle to raise money to buy packaging, and Chuckling Goat was born, becoming a limited company in 2014.

Diaries of Chuckling Goat’s adventures

In 2015, Shann’s diaries of their adventures saving Rich’s life quickly became Chuckling Goat’s first best-selling book, Secrets from Chuckling Goat: How a Herd of Goats Saved my Family and Started a Business that Became a Natural Health Phenomenon.

Beginning ‘soap school’

Shann went to ‘soap school’ to learn to infuse the kefir into natural soaps and lotions which she made on the farmhouse kitchen table, while Rich managed the farm and grew the goat herd.

Customers are at the heart of everything we do

Back when Shann and Rich started Chuckling Goat from their farmhouse kitchen table, very few people in the UK had ever heard of kefir or gut health. Staying in close contact with our clients meant that Shann was hearing back from people who were getting dramatic results. Always a journalist at heart, Shann went looking for the science behind the amazing results she was seeing. The information that she found about the gut-skin connection resulted in her second best selling book, The Good Skin Solution: Natural Healing for Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Acne.

By this time, the little kitchen-table business had grown enough that their daughter, Elly, and her husband, Josh, could come on board. Elly ran the office, and Josh became production manager. Rich’s brother, Rhys, also joined the team as the groundskeeper.

After experimenting briefly with a bricks-and-mortar shop, Rich and Shann decided to keep the business wholly online. They used the money they would have spent on a shop to develop a world-class website and hired their website developer to remain onsite with them four days a week. They invested in a top-quality courier (DPD) and offered free shipping anywhere in the UK.

All of these commitments have paid off, and the business continued to grow! By 2018, Chuckling Goat had experienced a 6,000% growth in sales and was shipping internationally to 55 countries around the world, with hundreds of thousands of happy customers.

How Chuckling Goat’s herd grew

By 2017, our own small goat herd could no longer provide enough milk to meet demand, and so we partnered with Red Tractor Certified St Helen’s Dairy to meet additional demand. There are still (and will always be!) goats on the home farm – today we use our own goats milk to provide milk for our skincare, which we make onsite.

Customers began reporting that the kefir had helped with conditions like IBS, anxiety and depression. So once again, Shann went looking for the reasons why, and found more new science detailed the gut-brain connection. This research led to her third best selling book, The Kefir Solution: Natural healing for IBS, Depression and Anxiety.

Chuckling Goat’s kefir won “Best New Dairy Drink in the World” from the International Beverage Awards 2018.

And our range doesn’t stop there. As Shann researched plant medicine which might help clients on the natural healing kefir journey; In 2018, CG launched a range of therapeutic loose leaf teas.

Chuckling Goat 2019

In 2019, we were selected by the Parliamentary Review as a Best Practice Representative for businesses in the UK.

Shann’s continuing fascination with the science behind gut health has led us teaming up with Atlas Biomed to offer home Microbiome Testing. In order to make the process more user-friendly, our co-director, Shann built a team of 6 qualified nutritional therapists to talk clients through their results and offer evidence-based nutritional advice. We are also working on a natural health app, due in 2019, called Chuckling Life.

Chuckling Goat today

Today, we have grown to 23 members and have 6 certified nutritional therapists on staff. Everything is still made by hand in small batches on the farm.

Co-directors, Rich and Shann remain committed to providing good quality jobs in Chuckling Goat’s beautiful but economically depressed location of south-west Wales. Instead of buying machinery to automate our processes, the Joneses continue to hire willing human hands and pay them a high wage. New additions to the team started on high rates, and four members of the team have purchased houses so far – something of which Rich and Shann are very proud!

Shann’s fifth book, How to Start a Business on your Kitchen Table, is due out from Hay House in May 2020.