Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wholesome Wednesdays: Goat's Milk

As most of my readers know, goats are high on my list of things to get into in the next 2-5 years. In preparation for goat keeping, i've been trying out as many different goat activities and chatting with other goat keepers as much as i can. I was very lucky to goat-sit a friend's two does and 4 kids this past weekend and learned a lot.
1. Milking takes a lot longer than you think it should
2. Don't assume you're done milking, keep massaging those udders to work it all out.
3. Udders hold a lot of milk!
4. Kids are really really loud and really really cute.
5. I like goats.

This little doeling was last to the bottle and definitely knew it was her turn.
Haha. Anyway, it was great fun to bottle feed the hungry kids, have them climb all over us and get the occasional nibble from the does. Milking was also fun, but i have some serious learning to do: we milked about half the amount they usually give due to our lack of experience. My technique is okay, but i'll have to work on it as i got some major finger cramps. Those little teets don't leave much room for extra fingers and i found myself milking all over myself as often as into the pale. Most of the milk our friend's does are giving go to the kids right now, but they're destined for some new homes soon, resulting in lots of milk on their hands. I dream of cheese, my husband dreams of milk with dinner and i've recently begun dreaming about fibers and spinning (bought my first spindle this weekend!) so we'll add one non-dairy goat to our herd eventually.

Goat's milk (or meat) isn't as popular in this country as in others (more goat's milk is drunk yearly than cow's milk worldwide!). I'm not sure why that is, other than the 'beef it's what's for dinner' brain washing we Americans are subjected to. Goat's milk is much more easily digested than cows, goats take up less space to keep and goats frequently throw multiple kids: great for increasing your flock quickly, selling the animal or meat to help pay for herd costs, or provide meat for your family's freezer as well as freshening your doe to keep your fridge stocked with milk. A family milk cow requires more space and hay and generally only throws on calf. The breed of goat we plan on raising (Kinders) has a very high dressing ratio (lots of meat harvestable within the total body weight of the animal) and gives lots of very high quality milk. Best of both worlds!

Seriously, could anything be cuter than this??

Goat's milk may be more digestible for some people. Goat's milk contains different proteins than cow's milk, though some are similar. So, depending on which protein you are allergic to, you may react more favorably to goat's milk. Some people complain that goat's milk tastes 'goaty.' I have experienced some goaty tasting milk, but more frequently goat's milk tastes just like (or better than) cow's milk and is whiter. The presence of a buck may taint the flavor of a doe's milk, and every breed and every individual goat will have its own unique flavor. If you're considering purchasing a doe for her milk, try to get a taste of it first to be sure you like it. If you're purchasing a doeling, ask to taste the mother's milk.

I can't wait to have some of these of my own, and will be very happy to know i have a step mama living a few hours away with years of goat experience. Freshened does means daily milking, and i for one need at least the occasional weekend out of town for a good camping trip.

Do you like goat's milk? Do you drink it often? If you have goats, what do you do with the excess milk you have once the kids are weaned?

This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.

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