When most people think of goats, they think of the cute little pygmy goat they saw at the petting zoo or on some farm. What most people don’t know is that there are also dairy goats just the same as there are dairy cows. I live on a small family owned and operated dairy farm in Haddock, Georgia where we raise these fine animals.
I can imagine at this point quite a few people might ask "Who on earth would want to drink goat milk?" Well, this question is fairly simple to answer: more people consume goat milk than they do cow milk. As unbelievable as this may sound, it is true. Most third world countries and quite a few European countries prize goats and goat milk over cow milk. Dairy goats were also often present during the early years of our great country and helped many a settler’s family keep food on the table by supplying them with milk.
Often the dairy goat has been called the "poor man’s cow," because good dairy goats do not cost near as much as good dairy cows do. You can raise more goats on a smaller amount of pasture than you can cows. While it takes an acre for a cow/calf, you can successfully raise six goats on one acre. Cows usually have only one calf per year, while goats have two kids (that’s what you call a young goat) after their second year. Pound for pound a good dairy goat will produce more milk than a cow will. Unlike a cow, a good dairy goat can produce up to 10% of its body weight in milk.
The most common question I get asked is, "What does goat milk taste like?" It is a common misconception that goat milk tastes bad. People believe that it tastes "like a old billy-goat." This is not true. Milk that is properly handled and cared for will not have an off-taste. When folks first taste goat milk they are expecting it to taste different, but to their surprise it tastes just like cow milk. You could not tell a difference between the two types of milk no matter how hard you try.
Goat milk is also a healthier alternative to cow milk. Why? Cow milk has to be homogenized to be more easily digested, which is a process where the fat globules are broken down. However, this is not necessary with goat milk because it is naturally homogenized. Therefore goat milk is much more easily digested than cow milk is.
Goat milk has more of the essential vitamins that we need. Goat milk has 13% more calcium, 25% percent more B6, 47% percent more vitamin A, and 27% more selenium. It also has more chloride, copper, manganese, potassium, and niacin than cow milk. It also produces more silicon and fluorine than any other dairy animal. Silicon and fluorine can help prevent diabetes.
Scientist are not sure why, but people who are lactose intolerant can often drink goat milk without having to worry about side effects. Goat milk does not cause phlegm like cow milk does, so you can drink goat milk even when you have a cold or bad allergy problems.
Milk is not the only product you can get from a dairy goat. Feta cheese was originally made from goat milk. Go to the grocery store and look in the specialty cheese section, more often than not you will find chevre- which is in fact cheese made from goat milk.
Some of our family’s favorite goat milk recipes include:
French Chévre cheese
5 quarts milk room temperature (70-80 degrees)
1/2 cup buttermilk or keifer
2 tablespoons diluted rennet (3-4 drops concentrate in 1/3 cup cool water)
Stir, cover, and let sit for about 10 hours.
Pour through strainer cloth and hang to let drain 6-8 hours.
Season as you like or freeze plain for later.
You can use this like cream cheese in any recipe or mix with salsa, spices, or fruit to make a dip. Add milk to make it creamier and easier to dip.
24 oz. coconut oil
24 oz. olive oil
40 oz. vegetable shortening
16 oz. water or herb tea
16 oz. milk
12 oz. lye
Add lye to water in heat resistant glass, plastic, or stainless steel container.
Remember always add lye to water not the other way around! Stir until dissolved. Melt oils together. When lye solution cools down past 100deg;F add milk slowly and stir. When lye solution and oils both reach about 100deg;-110deg;F degrees slowly add lye solution to oils and stir until mixture traces. Add fragrances or other additives at this time. Pour into molds, cover, and wait 48 hours. Then remove from molds and set on shelves to air dry for 3-4 weeks.
These directions are given assuming you already know the basics of soap making and are well versed in the safety precautions. If you have never made soap before I suggest getting one of the many good books available.
We also make a lot of keifer (much like thin yogurt). This is made with culture you can buy at Hoegger’s that will last forever if you treat it right. We use keifer much like buttermilk and we also make smoothies by adding fruit and honey.
We also make ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, and butter.
As you can see goat milk is healthy and nutritious, and hopefully people in so-called "modern countries" will stop looking down their noses at the humble dairy animal and give the goat its much deserved credit.