Goat milk: Is Home Grown *Much* Better than Storebought?

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I anticipate our owning dairy goats within the next year or so, pending my running fenceline and building some gates. We're fortunate to have next door neighbors who raise Nubians and can help us get started.

Part of my research before making the plunge was to purchase a carton of goat milk from the supermarket and see what The Other White Milk was like.

It was, uh, not very good. It had a bucky taste (and the neighbors have two bucks, so I'm familiar with the odor). I shook the milk, hard, before each use but still had a big glop of butterfat in the bottom. My question: Was this probably just a bad example of goat milk? I know sometimes the cow milk I purchase can taste 'skunky,' and other times it can be perfect. The carton of goat milk had not come from a local dairy so it had traveled some. There is a local dairygoat farm, Caprine Estates, maybe I should drop in and get a fresh one. (The neighbors dry their goats off after weaning so I can't beg a half-bucket full.)

The whole practicality of keeping dairy goats is pivoting on our three children being willing to consume the milk. I do not plan to keep a buck so unless bucky flavor is innate to goat milk (surely not) that shouldn't be a factor.

Is drinking goat milk for those used to cow's milk a matter of acclimation, or (freshness, quality and other factors being the same) could you pick up one after the other dries off without batting an eye?



-- Mark in West Central Ohio (mark@marksykes.net), January 03, 2002


Mark there is nothing better than good fresh clean goat milk. I've never tasted store bought goat milk but have heard it's not good like fresh. Store bought cows milk tastes kinda funky to me now. I do prefer my Shasta's milk over any I've ever tasted but it could be because I love her so much :>)

-- sherry (chickadee259@yahoo.com), January 03, 2002.

My two grandkids (11 and 14) were here for Christmas. They are used to store-bought 2% cows milk. They drank fresh goats milk for 6 days without so much as a whimper. They knew after the first day what it was and they didn't turn their noses up. The 14 yr old did mention that it was "thicker" than 2%, I explained that it had all the butterfat, she shrugged and said "oh". I've always heard that store- bought goat milk tastes funny. Never tried it.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), January 03, 2002.

Goat milk if processed corectly should taste just as good as or better than cows milk. I get so irked when the bigger companies don't process their milk or make their cheeses right and it tastes yukky!!!! I makes it so hard on the rest of us who try so hard, then the consumers think all goat products are yukky as well. Simply not the case. I will say this if you milk the goats yourself as you are thinking the taste will be better. Always milk into stainless steel buckets, then strain immdediately, flash cool and refigerate. I am picky about milk, nothing beats good milk and if I like goat milk, I know its got to be good.

Now you made my day mentioning the dairy, there is a story to tell about the cheese too, but it would not be polite to post it here, because I wouldn't want someone to do the same to me, but folks and consumers talk, word of mouth is your best marketing tool.

I insist on quality control and eventually we plan on bottling our goat milk as soon as we can afford to purchase the equipment to do so.

I hope that you won't think all goat milk products are alike, theya re not. And..... heres another thought, do you know that smaller dairies who make cheese, etc produce a better product? You know why? Because its not mass produced, its made on a smaller scale. there is something to be said about that.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), January 03, 2002.

Shoot Bernice, I'm telling my story! Bayside Farms is a gross and disgusting place. They are in BayTown Texas, have a cinder block milk house, and process the milk in their kitchen, a kitchen in their home that has as much manure and hay on the ground as my doe pen does. How these people live in this squaller is beyond me, let alone bottle their milk for sale in the Houston area. In the beginning, when I helped them buy stock the girls were lovely, sacks of dehydrated alfalfa lined the pens, infants were sold in a timely manner. Last time I was there I left in disgust. Further disgusted that my very nice LaMancha buck had been their that fall to service their does! They were late on arriving so I got to see things they never intended for me and my husband to see. They are also allowed to deliver the milk in the open bed of their truck, while down the road was a dairy which got sited because her refridgerated truck wasn't cool enough! You can taste the milk and see the non-quality, nice packaging and all, swear the store must wash the containers to get the muck off of them, for them to be so pretty in the dairy case. If it isn't bad enough what they do with their animals, like never trimming feet, it is worse that they stiffed me and another breeder for stock which they milked into the ground!

I am very proud of the fact that my milk contract for 8 years was from someone who previously purchased milk from them, I met her on a total fluke, and though I speak no spanish and her little english we had a wonderful working relationship. She drove past their dairy and 1 and 1/2 hours north to pick up her milk once a week!

I understand all to well that when you milk for a living things are tight. There is never enoough money and never enough energy to do all the things that need to be done. There are also wonderful dairies with wonderful managers who take care of their stock.

Mark, go visit the neighbors at milking time, take some of their fresh milk and cool it quickly, its wonderful when it comes from nice clean stock that is healthy, parasite free and on a good mineral program. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 04, 2002.

Store goat milk is absolutely disgusting. Get a sample from someone reputable, and get it fresh, well cooled ( in a water or ice bath- putting it in the fridge just doesn't cool it fast enough, and of course clean.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), January 04, 2002.

Sounds like I got a less-than-wonderful sample of goat milk. I live near Willow Run Dairy, and I'll drop down probably today and fetch some hopefully fresher milk for further research.

I also have a bit of an opportunity; the same place is advertising for part- time farm hands. I could manage at least one shift a week, and although this is a commercial dairy operation (very different from a smallholder with 2-3 does) it looks like a chance to learn.


-- Mark in West Central Ohio (mark@marksykes.net), January 04, 2002.

We have kept dairy Goats for 4 years now and the first year we dried our girls off we bought goat milk at the store (yuk) .You can not beat the tase of fresh milk !! Our kids/grandkids love goat milk but all dislike store bought .

-- Lee , Lake of the Ozarks Mo. (sgrmtndrone@yahoo.com), January 05, 2002.

Mark, You have gotten all the good advice from the ladies who know about goats milk. I have only a small p.s. to add. If possible before buying your does, taste the milk, fresh warm right from the doe. If you are getting doelings, taste the mothers milk. Some goats give bad tasting milk, just as some cows do. There are lots of reasons, like feed, browse, worms, illness, but also hereditary. By the way, warm fresh goats milk should taste great. Good luck and enjoy. I would drink cows milk before drinking that nasty goat's milk at the store. karen

-- Karen in Kansas (kansasgoats@iwon.com), January 05, 2002.

I agree with everyone that store bought goat's milk can not compare to the fresh milk from your own goat. Store bought has a "goaty" taste. I don't know why it is, but have to guess it is in the management of the herd or the processing of the milk.

As for your own goats, yes, some do give a bad tasting milk, however, it also depends on what other's said - cleanliness and cooling the milk immediately. But one more thing is what you feed the goats. When I first started milking my goat, her milk tasted "goaty". I asked a friend whose goat milk I had tasted and knew it wasn't like that what was wrong. I keep my goats on pasture. She said take the goat off pasture at least 3 hours before milking it. I did and it made a world of difference. A lot of people don't have pasture for their goats and feed them hay and grain. It does make a good tasting milk. But in summer I just can't afford or care to keep my goat's off our pasture. So I use the isolation for 3 hours.

I do dam raise so I find when I milk the goat while the kids are still on her that the milk has a tendency to not be as good tasting either. Don't know why that is. But these are some things to think about.

-- R. (thor610@yahoo.com), February 25, 2002.

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