5 Things You Should Know About Goat’s Milk

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My friend, Jill, from The Prairie Homestead is a genius about goats. In fact, I think she might just be a genius about everything – remember the Crock Pot Granola? Today she’s giving us some information on goat’s milk, which I find utterly (get it?) fascinating. Thanks Jill!!

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When you first mention drinking goat’s milk to many people, you’ll usually be met with funny looks and exclamations of “Gross!”

But, did you know that worldwide, goat’s milk is more popular than cow’s milk? And if you are interested in healthy eating of any sort, then you’ve probably come across articles and blogs touting the benefits of goat milk.

So, is it worth a try? Or does that initial gross-factor outweigh the benefits?

As a homesteading goat owner, I’m excited to share 5 Things You Should Know About Goat’s Milk. I’m hoping you’ll be pleasantly surprised. ;)

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1. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.

Ever heard someone mention cream rising to the top of milk and wondered why the milk at the store doesn’t do that? It’s because it’s undergone a process at the factory called “homogenization” which basically forces the cream to blend with the milk and not float to the top. (There is a lot of debate as to whether homogenization is safe, but we won’t get into that today…)

Since the fat particles in goat’s milk are different than those in cow’s milk, they automatically stay blended with the rest of the milk– no factory intervention required.

This results in a milk that most people think is creamier than cow’s milk (especially if you are accustomed to drinking 1% or 2%.)

However, the downside to this, is that you won’t get much extra cream along with your goat’s milk. (It is possible to use a cream separator to accomplish this, but it’s extra time and expense.)

2. Sometimes, goat’s milk can be consumed by those allergic to cow’s milk.

Because the composition of goat’s milk is different than cow’s milk, sometimes people who are allergic to milk from a cow can easily drink milk from a goat.

Occasionally, even lactose-intolerant folks can handle drinking goat’s milk. It’s not true for every single person, but if you are suffering from one of these intolerances, it might be worth a try.

This website contains some helpful information regarding the health benefits of goat’s milk.

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3. Store-bought goat’s milk and farm-fresh goat’s milk are two entirely different things.

There are a variety of options when it comes to buying goat’s milk at the store. Some markets sell it in cartons, as well as in cans or in powdered form.

To be honest, I’ve never tried any sort of goat’s milk from the store, but from the reports I’ve heard, it’s nothing compared to the “real thing.”

If you are interested in adding goat’s milk to your diet, I would highly suggest finding a farmer or friend with goats and sampling some of their fresh milk. Which leads us to our fourth point…

4. Goat’s milk isn’t disgusting.

In a post I wrote not long after we got our goats, I confessed that I’d never even tried goat’s milk before purchasing our Nubians.

What can I say? I like to live on the edge…

Fresh, quality goat’s milk that has been handled properly isn’t goaty tasting. Really. Even my once-skeptical husband agrees wholeheartedly on this point. I have a sneaking suspicion that most people’s fear of goat’s milk comes after drinking the store-bought stuff.

Now, it IS possible for certain factors to affect the taste of the milk (breeding season or eating strong-tasting weeds for example). But as a rule? It tastes like… milk. Plain and simple.

My daughter with a new baby goat.

5. Goats make wonderful family farm animals.

If you have ever felt the pull to “get back to your roots” or produce some of your own food, goats make a great addition to a mini-farm. Some people even keep goats in their urban backyards! (Just be sure to check your zoning laws first!)

Goats are much less intimidating than cows and need far less room and feed. If you are interested in possibly owning your own dairy goats in the future, I would love for you to check out the Goat 101 Series on my blog. You’ll find everything you need to know about owning your first goat, including a video showing you how to milk!

But is Goat’s Milk Frugal?

It depends.

If you are buying the quart-sized cartons of goat milk at the store for all of your cooking and drinking, then you better have a special “milk” section of your budget. That stuff is expensive and in my personal opinion, not as healthy for you.

If drinking goat’s milk is something you’d like to pursue, then finding a local farm or family with goats is usually the most cost-effective way to go. Plus, the milk will usually be of much higher quality.

Will it be as cheap as the gallons of 1% at the grocery store? Probably not. But here is how I justify it:

You see, I love saving money and pinching pennies, but there are certain food items that I feel are important for the health of my family. Therefore, I am more than happy to spend a little extra cash on those products. For me, milk definitely falls into this category.

So, if you’ve never tried goat’s milk, I encourage you find a source and pour yourself a glass. I think you’ll be glad that you did!

Jill

Jill writes from the homestead she shares with her husband, daughter, and ever-changing assortment of animals. When she’s not in the kitchen preparing traditional foods, you’ll find her outside riding horses, growing vegetables, milking her cow, and building fence. She blogs at The Prairie Homestead, where she enjoys encouraging readers to return to their roots, no matter where they may live.


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • http://www.mtfw.net Danielle @More Than Four Walls

    Great post! Due to lactation issue our son was on farm-fresh goats milk for about 10 months. At $12 per gallon it was anything but frugal but well worth it for him. We did add a few things to it, making a “forumula” of sorts and he thrived well.

    • Stacy

      I’ve heard that goat’s milk is great for “formula!” :-) Sometimes being frugal doesn’t make “cents” – taking care of your baby to the best of your ability is what makes “cents.” ;-)

    • http://whitlowfamily5@blogspot.com Tyra

      I am currently breastfeeding our newest addition but usually can’t for long due to allergy/health issues. I would love to know what kind of things you added to the goat’s milk to make it more of a “formula”! Also, did you have issues with constipation? I tried goat’s milk with one of our babies and she just couldn’t seem to handle digesting it well. Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks.

      Tyra

      • Janet

        Our daughter wasn’t able to latch well enough to gain properly so we put her on goat milk at 2 weeks of age.
        Although I wouldn’t call it any special “formula”, we did add some cod liver oil to it so she wouldn’t be constipated.
        If I remember correctly, we did dilute the goat milk with distilled water until her tummy could handle it better. I’m thinking it was 3/4 goat milk to 1/4 distilled water.
        She is now 4 years old and smart and healthy as can be!

        Blessings,
        Janet…. mommyof10 and expecting another sweet baby in a couple of weeks!

        • Stacy

          Thanks for chiming in, Janet!!

      • Annie

        Add the liquid vitamins Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron. Use as directed. If your insurance covers it, your doctor can prescribe it for you. If not, it’s appx $8.00 OTC. After two months of nursing, I switched to goat’s milk. My daughter is a year and a half now, and thriving. You mentioned your one child couldn’t tolerate it. It may not have been the milk itself, but what was the goat being fed? Common suspects are corn and/or soy. Try finding a source that does not use these and you may have better success. My daughter would get constipated on goat milk from a farm that uses these, so I switched to a source that was corn and soy free and we were home free!

        • Stacy

          Thanks for the information, Annie!!

  • Kristi@FaithSteaders.com

    We have used goat milk on and off for 9 years now. My 9 year old was allergic (rare) to it in the beginning, but has since gotten over that. We have purchased raw cows milk, which they actually like better, but at $6 a gallon and a hour and a half drive to purchase, when goat milk is available for $5 a gallon and a 10 min drive, well, which makes cents? We have done Almond milk in the interim times, when cow or goat milk was not available to us. Even though that was expensive, it was definately a better alternative to purchase that “milk” from the stores! Thanks for the post!!!

    • Stacy

      I’m trying to convince my dad to get a few goats…so far, I’m unsuccessful. LOL

  • http://www.janisecookston.com Janise Cookston

    We’ve been drinking goat’s milk since February of this year courtesy of my parents two new gals, Martha and Dolly. Every now and then it gets a little “goaty” tasting if it has ever warmed to near room temperature (like in the car on the way home or in a lunch bag for work) but if we keep it chilled, it really does just taste like normal milk. Mom even ordered old-fashion glass quart milk jugs. So fun and healthy.

    • Stacy

      Those names ROCK! :-)

      • http://www.janisecookston.com Janise Cookston

        She named them after the wives of her favorite founding fathers: Madison and Jefferson. She’s a total history geek.

        • Stacy

          So are we! We love history….books and movies mostly. :-) On our honeymoon we went to Wilmington, NC for the history stuff…not the beach. ;-)

  • Nora

    My husband and I have started looking into raising goats for the milk. We have almost 1 1/2 acres and feel that we need to start making it into a homestead. We went to the library this weekend and gathered quite a few books to read, learn and make our decision.

    • Stacy

      I just love having the library for resources like that!

  • http://simplypractical.blogspot.com Bama Girl

    Hi Stacy! What a timely post! We just got our Nigerian Dwarf goat babies this past Saturday! They are so cute! They are just the right size for our homestead, which is just less than 3 acres. They are five months old, and can be bred when they are between seven and eight months old. I’m excited to know that this Spring, we might have our own goat babies, and milk! I can hardly wait to try goat milk! The only goat milk I’ve ever tasted was from the grocery store! Yuk! Goaty! But I sincerely believe that our own goat milk will be delicious! We have a ways to go to prepare for milking, but we have plenty of time to get things done before then! Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

    • Stacy

      Bama, I’m gonna have to come visit some day!

  • Ruth

    There is nothing, NOTHING as wonderful as goat’s milk!! How I long for my fresh goat milk…..

    • Stacy

      :-) I like goat cheese best!

  • http://whentheshoedoesntfit.com Just a housewife

    Since getting goats 3yrs ago I don’t know how I ever drank milk from the store. Gross. Even the SO who is lactose intolerant can drink it and eat the products made from it. A real plus for someone who loves cheese and ice cream but suffers from cows milk.

    • Stacy

      One should never go through life without ice cream.

  • Michelle

    We love goats milk. My boys are used to drinking raw cows milk, but this spring when our goats had babies, I decided that I wanted to milk them. My middle son never really cared for the cows milk because he didn’t like shaking up the milk to redistribute the cream, so when I told him that goats milk was different, he wanted to try it. We LOVE it and I don’t really care for milk. Our preferred way to use the milk besides just to drink is to make yogurt out of it. It is so much better than yogurt made from cows milk because it is so creamy.

    • Stacy

      I’d love to try some!!

  • Kim Walters

    We’re long-time dairy goat farmers and we LOVE our goatie milk around here! One thing that was not mentioned is that goat milk is the closest in composition to human mother’s milk, and sometimes it’s better than mother’s milk. Hear me out on this before you freak! I have six children and have spent more than 15 years of my life breastfeeding; I studied to be a La Leche League leader at one point; I function as The Unofficial Lactation Consultant when family and friends (and complete strangers) have breastfeeding issues. So, yeah, you could say I’m pro-breastfeeding :). However, in our business we’ve run into so many mommas who are generationally nutritionally deprived — great-grandma couldn’t nurse her babies, grandma didn’t make enough milk for her babies, mom didn’t have support for breastfeeding and her milk was “too thin and watery”, and now Current Momma cannot seem to breastfeed either and Current Baby is failing to thrive. Current Baby starts on our great goat milk and suddenly Current Baby is doing fantastic! Like Poster-Child-for-Goat-Milk awesome! We’ve seen it happen over and over and over again in our last eight or so years of providing goat milk to babies. My friend Carrie over at organicthrifty.com has a couple of blog posts from May of 2009 detailing her young son’s health restoration on our goat milk plus a post on making an infant formula of sorts from goat milk, for those who are interested.

    • Stacy

      Thank you for sharing that information! :-)

  • http://newearthjourney.com Candace Craw-Goldman

    What happens, tho, to the baby goats? Don’t you have to keep them pregnant and birthing to create the milk? You can’t keep producing babies without a plan…and then aren’t the boy goats expendable? Do they have to be slaughtered?

    I love goats. I’ve had two in the past and adored them, “Lucy and Ethyl” were quite the characters. My family wanted them to produce babies and milk but I could not see how to deal with the constant influx of babies without having to have them go to slaughter.

    Candace

    • http://theprairiehomestead.com Jill

      Yes, you must continue to breed your goats if you want them to continue in their lactation. As far as the babies go, it really depends. If you are looking to grow a herd, you can keep the females for breeding stock or sell them to other goat owners.

      I’ve had 3 batches of babies and haven’t slaughtered any. (I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but we have plenty of beef and I prefer that.)

      So far, I’ve been able to sell off all of my bucklings. People want them for lawn mowers or for their own herds. And I’m sure some folks eat them, and that’s fine with me too.

  • karen

    we drink raw goat’s milk, it costs $8/gal. I live in Arkansas. We switched from 2% cow’s milk at the store to raw goat’s milk and my 14 year old didn’t know (and still doesn’t) because the goat’s milk tastes just like milk. I even gave some to my mom who is VERY picky when it comes to flavors (she gags if she doesn’t like something) and she said “wow, it tastes like milk!” I haven’t compared it to raw cow’s milk though, as it’s illegal to sell raw cow’s milk in Arkansas.

    my favorite part of it is that i buy it frozen, and when it thaws it’s just the same as when it first came out of the goat. my farmer puts all the milk into the freezer the same day she milks so all the good stuff stays intact.

    also, another interesting fact about two of the kinds of milk proteins, A1 and A2. different breeds of cows give either A1 or A2 milk. most cows that are milked in the US are A1, which is harder for humans to digest and has been implicated as causing some disease processes. But the good news is that ALL goat’s milk is A2.

    PS – I drive a 2 hour round trip for my milk, and it’s worth it. I don’t feel as good physically when we run out and i don’t have any to drink.

    • Stacy

      That’s a great testimony to goat’s milk! Thanks for sharing, Karen! :-)

  • Amanda

    Can someone describe a goaty taste…LOL…just curious what a goat would taste like?

    • Stacy

      Excellent question! I have no idea….

    • http://theprairiehomestead.com Jill

      “Goaty” milk has an aftertaste than tastes a lot like a goat would smell. Kind of a barnyard flavor… The only time I’ve experienced it is when we’ve kept a buck in with our lactating does. All the hormones running around gave the older milk a slight aftertaste. But, that’s the only time I’ve experienced it. ;)

  • http://yourgardeningfriend.com/ Holly

    I’m also curious what “goaty taste” means. :) I’ve never tasted goat’s milk, but I’m definitely looking forward to the experience.

    I’m also curious about the cost of owning goats. I want to do my due diligence BEFORE I have those irresistible eyes looking up at me, and realize they’re too expensive to keep, but they’re now family members. :D

    I doubt goats are too expensive, but you get my point: What will owning goats look like to budget? No difference, less money – how much?, more money – how much? Specifically, vaccines, meds, etc. (I asked a similar, but different, question on The Prairie Homestead comment area.)

  • Mooberry Farmwife

    We raise goats and I *love* goat milk!! I use ours to make all kinds of things in my homestead kitchen. Great info, here. :)

    • Stacy

      Yay for goat’s milk!!

  • Momonamission

    I have done a little bit of research on the difference in composition of goat and cow’s milk. It seems to me that there are places in which both milks are lacking (i.e. Goat’s milk is higher in saturated fats and cholesterol, but goat’s milk has significantly more calcium, potassium, and Vitamin A, while Cow’s milk has higher selenium, riboflavin, and folate). Maybe it would be beneficial to include BOTH milks in your diet? What do you think of this idea? (BTW, I love your blog, and I am aspiring to live a whole food lifestyle as well!)

    • Stacy

      From what you say, it seems like it! :-)

  • Laura Barton

    Great article! Do you pasteurize your goat’s milk before drinking it? Do you treat it in any way?

    • Jill

      No– I drink mine completely raw– I just filter it first to remove any stray hairs. :)

  • Lauren W

    Hi, i live in England and have an 11month old baby who has a cows milk allergy. I’m interested in trying the goats milk to see if he would be ok on that as i’m anxious about his calcium intake because he’s missing out on cheese and yoghurts. thank you

    • Jill

      Hi Lauren– it really depends on each individual as to whether they can tolerate goat’s milk if they have a cow milk allergy. I’ve heard it go both ways. But, it does seem that goat milk is far less allergenic for most folks that cow milk. Hope that helps!