Richard and Gail Jauck hold one of their goats raised at the Grumpy Goat Ranch in Elgin. They use the goat milk to produce soaps, lotions and sweets. Photo by Pat McNamara

When Tucson native, and now Elgin resident, Gail Jauck, trained as an audiologist, little did she know that her career path would lead her to being a goat farmer. 

She met her husband, Richard, a marine biologist, when she was working as an administrator for Kaiser Medical in California. Richard, a marine mammal trainer, worked as a contractor working for the U.S. Navy, training dolphins for Naval security on San Clemente Island. He also trained sea lions to fetch items from the ocean floor.

San Clemente Island has a population of goats. Their origins are clouded in mystery. Some say they’ve been there for 500 years, having been left by sailors passing through from Spain or Portugal or possibly somewhere in Asia. Others say that they came from nearby Catalina Island in the mid-1800s from southern European or Asian origins. 

The San Clemente Island Goats have thrived there and are now considered a heritage breed, their genetics now carefully guarded by their registry, with DNA tests required before each goat can be accepted into the registry. Known for their hardiness and self-sufficiency, these goats are disease resistant and very seldom need any human intervention in order to survive.

The Jaucks became enamored with these goats and managed to acquire some for breeding. First starting their operation in California in 2010, their herd, now in Elgin since 2020, has grown to approximately 50 goats, counting this year’s babies. 

From this herd, the Jaucks are using the milk to make soap and lotions, currently available at various local wineries, and Richard has developed a recipe for goat’s milk caramels that he sells at the farmers markets in Sonoita and Patagonia. 

Operating as The Grumpy Goat Ranch, the Jaucks are the only breeders of this type in Arizona and one of only 22 breeders in the U.S. They sell or donate individuals from their herd to various zoos as well as to other breeders. 

The natural hardiness of this breed allows the Jaucks to forgo the usual vaccinations necessary for domestic goats. The does are in charge of all of the mothering of their young – no humans need interfere. 

Their dietary requirements are simple with only alfalfa and/or bermuda hay and whatever they may ‘weed eat’ from their enclosure.

The Jaucks have decided to forego any publicity other than providing their products to the locals, as they are, after all, retired. They only ask that their goats support themselves. Meeting the couple at the farmers markets or seeing their products at the local wineries is all the publicity that they seek at this time.