by Lindsey Proctor, contributing writer
If you’ve been a reader of The Nourishing Gourmet and other like-minded real food blogs for any length of time, then you’re probably aware that we real foodies are huge supporters of raw milk for those of us who choose to and are able to consume dairy products. The Weston A. Price Foundation refers to it as “real milk” and I think that’s a great term for it. Raw milk is full of real, nourishing enzymes and good bacteria, which are destroyed by the pasteurization process. Kimi’s post discussing raw milk’s benefits and safety is a great read if you’re looking for more information on raw milk in general, as well as the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Real Milk website.
(Kimi notes: The topic of raw milk safety is a broad topic that families should definitely research well – and my views have become more rounded out since I wrote the article linked to above – so that they can make a informed decision. A couple other resources include this book on raw milk #affiliate, and the following articles: Not all raw milk is equal , New Study shows raw milk a low-risk food , Is Raw Milk Safe?. And, on the other side of this issue, Raw Milk Outbreaks really do happen and Raw Milk: A Mother’s Story. Be informed.)
Here at Hickory Cove Farm, we drink lots and lots of raw goat’s milk! Why? Well the simple, honest answer to that is – we raise dairy goats! With their small size and huge personalities, the goats have become a much loved part of our homestead. We got our start in the goat world after Dad came home from a friend’s house one night after trying a glass of milk from their goats. He liked it so much, he decided we needed to get a few goats of our own, and so after some discussion, planning, and research, we did. I’ll never forget that first morning milking and the time spent waiting for the first quart of milk to chill so we could taste it. From the very first sip, we all loved the creamy, nutritious milk they gave us.
When we bought our goats we were given a flyer from the farm we purchased our lovely ladies from, and on it was a short list of the benefits of goat’s milk. When we became members of the American Dairy Goat Association, our welcome packet included more information on the same, and when my sister decided to do a term paper on the benefits of raw goat’s milk, we were made even more aware of what a good choice we’d made when we brought home those two Alpine does that day in August.
Did you know that an average of 65% of the world’s population drinks goat’s milk? It’s true! Goat’s milk is the most popular dairy choice in several countries, and it’s growing in popularity in places like the United States. So, what makes goat’s milk so great? Glad you asked!
According to several sources, goat’s milk takes only 30 minutes at the most to digest, compared to 2 hours or more for cow’s milk. The main reason for this is that the fat globules in goat’s milk are much smaller – about one-fifth the size of those found in cow’s milk. In addition to being smaller in size, there are more short-chain fatty acids than in cow’s milk. All of this contributes to the natural homogenization of goat’s milk.
Vitamins and Minerals
There are several comparison charts available on the internet, such as this one from Fiasco Farm, that show the vitamin, mineral, and fat content of goat, cow, and human milks, and if you’re wanting to see where sheep’s milk falls in there, the chart in this .pdf file also includes that. You’ll notice that goat’s milk is higher in several key vitamins and minerals than the milk from our bovine friends. Of course, this depends somewhat on the goat’s diet and overall health, but milk from a healthy animal is healthy for you! It is good to note that goat’s milk is lacking in folic acid, so if you’re using it to make formula for a young child, or if you choose to consume raw goat’s milk while pregnant, be aware that you should be supplementing with some other form of folic acid.
My mother and sister both have a lactose intolerance, and they’ve both found that they can drink raw goat’s milk with no adverse affects, but cow’s milk, even raw, gives them stomachaches. Though the lactose content in goat’s milk is only slightly lower than cow’s milk – 4.1% and 4.7%, respectively – it’s enough to make a difference for some people.
Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t drink milk when you have a cold? Do you find that milk increases the production of mucous in your body? This article by Dr. Mercola does a good job of explaining how some cow’s milk contains a protein that can stimulate your mucous glands and cause excess mucous production. Goat’s milk, however, is an alkaline-forming food, so it helps keep the pH level of your body at the proper level. It also acts as an antacid if you have a problem with too much acid in your digestive system or get an occasional bout of heartburn, acid reflux, or other related digestive issues.
A personal opinion that I really don’t have much scientific evidence to back up! While it’s been well-documented that goat’s milk is the most comparable to human milk, and it’s often used to raise orphaned animals of any species, I feel as if the comparable size of goats to humans is a clue as to why goat’s milk is a good choice for me. A standard-size breed, such as the Alpines and Nubians we raise, gives birth to kids that are in the 6-9 lb range, which is also the average weight range for a human baby. An adult standard-size doe averages between 120-150 lbs, while an adult standard-size buck weighs 150-200 lbs, which is again very comparable to the average weights of adult humans. By contrast, the average birth weight of a calf is 80 lbs, an adult cow averages 1000-1300 lbs, and an adult bull can tip the scales at a whopping 3000 lbs! In my mind – cow’s milk is meant to grow ’em real big! And goats – well, they don’t grow quite so large. Like I said, I’ve not found any real evidence to back up that theory, but it makes a lot of sense in my mind.
What about you? Do you drink goat’s milk, or have you in the past? And if you want to try it and aren’t sure where to find it, the Real Milk Finder is a great place to start!
Latest posts by Lindsey Proctor (see all)
- Coconut Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry - July 18, 2014
- Why We Drink Raw Goat’s Milk - January 27, 2014
- Apple Oatmeal Mini Loaves (Soaked whole grain and naturally sweetened!) - December 7, 2013
I can get raw goat milk where I live, but I find the flavor rather “gamey”–like eating a mouthful of the goat itself. Have you experienced this? My children won’t drink it and I have to choke it down. I would love to switch to goat’s milk if we could get past the taste, as cow’s milk causes adverse reactions in 3 out of our 5 family members.
I have only had goat cheese, which has that flavor you speak of. So, I have the same concerns. I would love for someone to tell me it’s the type of goat or something I can fix so that I may switch over from raw cow milk.
Anna, was the cheese you tried pasteurized or a hard cheese that would have required the milk to be heated to a higher temperature? I don’t like pasteurized goat cheese at ALL! But when we make it using fresh milk, which is warm enough for most cultures so that it doesn’t require any additional heating when we make it, I love it!
See my reply to Rachel for further information.
We’ve tried several raw goat’s milks in my area. One had a very, very strong flavor, the other is incredibly mild. So I think it depends maybe on their diet? Or the breed? I’m not sure what makes the difference. Unfortunately, pasteurized goat’s milk seems to always have a stronger flavor.
Different breeds do have different tasting milk some are sweeter then others. Such as nubians, lamanchas and Nigerian dwarfs have the best tasting milk in my opinion. Also if there is a buck with the herd it can make the milk taste bucky. I love my goats and all the delicious raw milk we get from them.
If there is a buck near the does the does w I’ll pick up the male pharanom and that is the. Goaty taste you get in the milk. Does kept apart from bucks have sweet milk
The only off flavor we’ve had in our milk was back when we were still using bleach water to sanitize our milking equipment (blech!) or if a jar gets forgotten in the fridge and starts to sour, but then we can tell by the date and the smell.
I’d recommend talking to your farmer… while some breeds have stronger-tasting milk than others (Toggenburgs, for example) often, the off flavor has more to do with either a dietary change or improper handling of the milk. Find out if the farmer gets the milk chilled quickly – it should be chilled from its fresh temperature of 90-100* down to at least 40* within a half hour, and the colder it gets, and the faster it gets cold, the better. Ask if there’s a buck living in with does, or if there was a buck in there for any period of time during breeding season – sharing a fence line with a buck won’t make the milk taste bad, but sharing a pen with them can. Ask if they’ve made any changes to their goats’ diet, as well.
Also, make sure that you are keeping the milk well-chilled during transport. Goat’s milk is more delicate than cow’s milk, and should be handled gently, because rough handling of the milk (lots of shaking, stirring, etc) and heat – either not chilling it quickly, allowing it to sit out for too long, and heating it to pasteurization temperatures starts to break down the short-chain fatty acids and release them in the milk, and the three acids found in goat’s milk – caproic, capric, and caprylic – are what cause that goaty flavor. Keep the acids from breaking down, and you should’t have that flavor!
Great info, Lindsey! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I have noticed a big difference in the type I goat, and how the milk is cared for. We have oberhasli’s and cannot tell any difference between their milk, and the cows milk we used to get from the store. Also if the milk is not cooled quickly it can develop a bad taste. If cooled quickly, it will take about 5-8 days for an off flavor to develop. Hope this helps.
The taste of the goats milk can be affected if they aren’t being properly fed, or if there is a buckling nearby. Just having a non castrated buck near or around the does can alter the taste of the milk greatly. I raise goats and drink raw goat milk. My goats are healthy and I have no bucks. My goat’s milk taste clean and fresh, it drinks like water and makes the best fudge
Yes v interesting, knowledgeable. In fact I have lot of interest i animals especially goats,sheep and desire to have maximum information about their habits, liking, disliking. I have not so far reared sheep.
Have you ever heard of colloidal silver? Adding a little may do the trick. I have been meaning to try this some time soon.
There are many factors that can make the milk taste like goat. Most of them having to do with how fast the milk is cooled and how clean the equipment. My mini Saanen has milk that taste like a jersey cows. Very sweet and creamy. Although not as creamy as a Nubians; which is also very tasty. In my house the first fresh milk of the day doesn’t even get to cool properly before we are drinking it.
I’ve known quite a few people though who have bought their own goats to avoid that taste!
I have to believe the milk you got are from a female near a male or just that goat makes off flavored milk. I have lamunchas and one always has off tasting milk and the other 2 taste AMAZING! I have to hide some of the good milk from my kids because they would drink it all and my husband and I would not get any. My advice is find a different source. Post ads on Craigslist and Facebook groups.
Yes! It is definitely the type of goat! I have had raw cows milk that taste wonderful in the winter months but less so during the summer months. I have theories as to why this is but so far, they are just theories. I have had goats milk that was very “goaty” tasting and I eventually had to stop getting it because no one in my family would drink it. I have recently found raw goats milk that is absolutely loved by everyone in my home (who will try it – some are still resisting due to past experiences. haha) The goat owner has stated that some goat breads are better for good tasting milk than others but I do not know what bread she has. I hope you can find some. It is so good and if I freeze it and then thaw it later, we can’t even tell.
The game-like taste can come from a buck being to close to the doe, if there are no bucks around sending out phermones to drive her hormones wild etc, the milk will taste sweet and creamy, almost identical to cow’s milk (but way better). A buck can most definitely ruin milk for a doe.
the trick to not having the goat taste is 4 the milk be plunged into an ice bath as soon as the goat is milked this keeps a fat from from separating. This separation is what gives you that goat taste. Hope this helps because it’s wonderful!
The only time I’ve had goat’s milk is when we bought some to make chocolate ice cream. There was no off taste there 🙂
Great post and I think your theory makes a lot of sense.
As a child – we had a goat dairy. We milked over 100 goats every day – at first by hand and then we added a couple of machines. Both my brother and I are lactose intolerant and so is my daughter & Nieces. I always remember people going yuk -its going to taste funny. Until they had some. Flavor depends greatly on what they are eating – how many animals milk is being mixed together and how it is handled. We used to drink it fresh from the goat – warm- in the mornings. My mom made yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream out of it when I was a kid. We have local cheese makers here in the WI area that actually feed the goats the herbs that they are going to flavor the cheese with to get the base flavor into the milk.
Currently I have an issue eating goats milk cheese but that is due to a after-taste/smell trigger caused by milk drying in my daughters hair as a baby (it was highly pasteurized stuff – dries to a very unpleasant smell). I can tell you by smell if the cheese or yogurt is made with goats milk, its a heating thing. “gamey” flavor can be caused by what the goats are eating, how heavy processed it is. Raw milk should not be “gamey”. If you can – go and visit the farms – see what they are eating, Goats love shrubs and branches. Which of course can alter the flavor. See how many goats are being milked. If they have 5 goats and 1 eats something strong – good chance you will taste it vs a large herd.
I miss going out and milking. There was something great – specially if things were rocky in my world at the time – to snuggle up to a warm listening agreeing girl eating her breakfast will you milked and gripped about your world.
Sarah, thanks for sharing! I love morning milking time – it’s such a nice way to begin – and end! – the day. 🙂 I love early mornings and late evenings in the barn.
I wanted a dairy cow to milk for a long time, but it never worked out. Then last year I decided to try dairy goats. It worked out so well! My 14 year old daughter loves taking care of them and milking so there is more than just me doing it and the milk tastes just like cows milk if we chill it quickly. We like to drink it fresh when she brings it in in the morning though!
Can ricotta be made from goat’s milk as it can from cow’s? I purchased a gallon of raw and it has been a week and I have about half left; I’d love some suggestions as I am the only one that currently is using it.
Thank you for such an informative blog. I’ve recently started drinking raw goats milk because I’ve heard of the many benefits(and I haven’t had any form of milk since I was a child). Where I was living in the states raw milk in any form was illegal and you couldn’t get it anywhere legally. I remember meeting a woman who raved about it. At the time, I thought she was being overly dramatic with all the health benefits.
After doing my own research, I realize that it’s highly beneficial and have been drinking it for a little while now and I have no issues with the taste at all.
We recently started drinking raw goats milk and it is delicious. My husband and I have both had cancer and my husband is waiting for tests results now to see if it is back in another form. I have read that it can help with cancer so we are trying it out. Hopefully before long we can get our own goats and start milking them. If anyone has any information on it’s healing powers let me know.it is delicious regardless.
If you don’t like the taste, get a nice jug of Grade “B” maple syrup at Trader Joe’s, and pour some in, and mix with the goats milk, it tastes wonderful that way!!
I work at a local pet store, where we sell Answers raw frozen goat’s milk. Even though it’s supposed to be for pets, the product is great quality, and I can buy it at a discount, so I drink it too. The great thing about the Answers milk is that it’s fermented for about 6 days at 42 degrees before being frozen and shipped. Fermentation makes the milk crazy good for you, adding all sorts of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, nutrients, etc.
I’ve started to put it in my coffee recently, but will the coffee or it’s heat eliminate any of the beneficial stuff made from the fermentation?
I always drank goat milk from 3 yrs of age until 20 yrs of age. We had toggenberg &sannen. After those years 1958 until last year I had very little goat milk to drink. Now I have been enjoying goat milk for Over a year and also have improved health from the milk and like it. Bernie
Does anyone know where I can buy raw goats milk in Derby Uk, or surrounding areas? Any help woild be much appreciated. My email is email@example.com
I just obtained my first goat’s milk yesterday, raw, unpasteurised. I too also thought the taste would be goaty but it was delicious, very delicate and sweet, far superior to cow’s milk in my opinion. I am starting to make kefir from the milk, fingers crossed!
Where did u buy it from Sylvia?
I have a question. I have an extremely sensitive stomach and I found goat’s milk to be good. Can I consume just goat’s milk and no other food? How long can I do this?
Bought a half gallon of raw goat milk today ($3.50 US) at an Indiana Amish shop ‘for pets only.’ Absolutely delish, no goaty taste whatsoever.
will like to try it but i want a milk that can help me to lose
I can’t find where to buy goat milk in Texas.
Look on realmilk.com. TX has lots of goat milk farms. Even the Rio Grande Vallley has one but very expensive. Next closest one is 5 hours away so they can charge what the want and it’s worth it for me . Not goaty at all! And delicious!! Good luck ????
Hi just looking for advice,
We recently bought Boer goats (5 nannies) and we have a billy with them at the moment to hopefully next year start selling goat meat.
Since we bought them we have fallen in love with goats and have an Angora also coming to join our little group!
Today we bought a toggenburg x sann that was at a sheep sale- we have had one before to rear pet lambs but after reading this im quite interested in the milk for the family. The man that sold her has a few more for sale back at the farm and i was wondering if it was worth the investment?
Is there any worry with raw milk if cooled properly? I would also be milking by hand so is there anything apart from cleaning the goats and a metal bucket that id need?
Also after reading a few comments will this breed affect the taste much? They will out on head with the Boers probably, there are a few bushes but what about course mix? Would that be OK?
Out on grass i meant sorry
If goat milk makes you feel more comfortable due to the size and weight of goat infants relative to humans, then how rice milk and almond milk should make you super comfy, as the size of a grain of rice or an almond is much closer to that of a human embryo than a newborn goat. The logic here just astounds me. You are hurting the process of spreading scientific awareness. Do us a favor and delete the opinionated crap.
Not at all. The milk is for the calf.
Sharing information/ideas is important. Even your idea, but it would help if it was clearer and more respectful (personally I found that comment jarring) towards someone that is very helpful in terms of (real/useful/helpful/healthful) “science” (versus people out to get money only is the sad reality a lot of the time. Surely no one can deny that. I hope the world is waking up to this.).
When I drink pure goat milk such as after meal or before, sugar mix or not , in night or day . I wantuse of procedure.
Hi I live near Evesham, Worcestershire and myself and my husband have been taking goats milk kefir for a while, 100% improvement in skin, excema, psoriasis, general,condition, and ibs, I would now like to make my own as it becomes quite costly for 2 people. I am struggling to find a local supplier of raw goats milk, could anybody help, I’m willing to travel to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire if necessary.
Many thanks if anyone can assist
Healthline recently published this report on the disputed safety of raw water, a new product which involves companies selling water bottled from the source without typical treatments.
We know you are tuned in to all things raw, and we’d love to hear your opinion on whether you think raw water is the way to go.
We look forward to your feedback.
healthline.com | medicalnewstoday.com
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Goat milk enthusiasts acknowledge that bacteria can grow in raw goat milk, but shrug it off as unlikely. I started drinking it a month ago because I was told it would be better for my osteoporosis. I began to be very sick, and day after day felt like throwing up,-and have sharp stomach pains. It turns out I got a serious pathogen and face a long road to recovery. I do think more people should take warning seriously.
Barbara Lynne Yoerger
I have both Lamancha’s and Oberhasli’s. The milk tastes the same, very much like cows milk, maybe a little sweeter, and lighter. I milk, and refrigerate after filtering immediately. We have had the milk 5 days old without any change. I freeze what won’t drink. We’ve been drinking it for 2 years. My frozen milk is bought by soap makers, if we don’t need it.
There is a wonderful small farm here in Texas that raises some goats and they produce the most delicious sweet milk! Lynn also makes yogurt and its the best I’ve tried. Her stuff is always very fresh, never days old and I have never had an issue (goaty)with the quality that this tiny farm produces. If your in Texas, you can look up N and P farm in Farmersville, Texas. They are also VERY clean with a few extra products that they have available.