Update on Goat Milk

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I visited Willow Run Dairy, just south of Dayton so I could pick up some milk at the factory. First off, the place is beautiful. Hundreds of yards of new vinyl fence, utterly clean pastures and feedlots, the structures would fit into a covenant neighborhood, a sprawling circular driveway complete with a guard shack and electric gate. The store was as neat and contemporary as a specialty shop in a mall might be. Of course, the milk was kinda expensive, about eight times as much as cow's milk.

Willow run doesn't discriminate - they have LaManchas, Nubians, Sanaans, Toggenburgs, and two others I don't quite recall. I bought a quart each of the white and chocolate (I need to sell the goat milk concept to my 6-, 4-, and 2-year olds, hence the chocolate).

How was the taste? I had the white. It was good, much fatter than the cow's milk I'm used to, and distinctly different in taste from cow's milk. (Since most people drink goat milk worldwide, maybe I should phrase that as cow's milk is distinctly different from goat milk.) There was no bucky taste and I could tell I was drinking a quality, fresh product.

My children has mixed reations to the chocolate milk. I did not mention, nor were they aware, that anything was 'different' about their treat (other than I have only bought them chocolate milk once before in their lives). The 6-year-old liked it; the 4-year-old declined more after one sip, claiming it tasted funny, and the two year old had her customary second helping. My wife had a sip of the white and said it tasted okay which is quite surprising since she's lactose intolerant and has grown to dislike milk.

I prepared one of those rice and chicken Oven Classics that evening using goat milk and the 4-year-old gobbled it up. I'm a work-at-home Dad, we have the land for goats, a nice barn, neighbors with a good strain of Nubians for sale, and three growing, milk-drinking children. We're in a situation that makes sense to have dairy goats. So, in my mind, this means I'll be stringing fence this coming spring/summer. JD's book on goats is on order. :)


-- Mark in West Central Ohio (mark@marksykes.net), January 05, 2002


My stepson is lactose intolerant, which in my opinion means his system just doesn't tolerate cow's milk, because he loves goats milk and drinks it by the qt.jar when he comes over. Anything made with milk(of the cow variety) would keep him confined to the potty for days, so I started using goats milk in everything about 3 yrs ago, and it has no unpleasant side affects on his tummy. Also, ouryoungest daughter is insulin dependant, and when she drinks goat milk before going to bed, it seems to help keep her blood sugars stable overnight. I don't know why, just know that it does and I'm very grateful for it!

-- Judy Corwin VA Nubians (corwinsusa@netscape.net), January 05, 2002.

Mark purchase wisely. I would be 80% or more of the folks who buy from me, go on to show or their kids go on to show. Start with papered stock, purebreds only in Nubian, though american's and grades in the other breeds are much less frowned upon. Demand CAE testing before purchase, period, no excuses. Start with the best as you have no idea what you will be doing with them 5 years down the road. Your kids can start showing 4H at 8. How about some of the doelings from the diary? Certainly the best start! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 05, 2002.


The more I hear about CAE the less I am apt to start with a "pig in the poke" doe in the local trader newspaper or auction. My neighbors are quite neat and clean with their goats, I actually smell the smoke daily from where they muck out the stalls and burn the day-old straw, their kids are essentially pets and are friendly with my children. Willow Run (the dairy operation is called Willow Run, the breeder operation does business as Caprine Estates) has a page where they sell doe kids from first-freshened yearlings for $250. Nothing on the page mentioned breed nor any letter grades like '1*M'. They have another area where they sell apparently breeding stock for thousands, that's split up into breeds with letter grades.

I would actually prefer a bit less fatty milk myself, so I might get at least one Sannen or all Sannen though Nubians are right next door.

Thanks so much for your comments, it really helps us 'new kids' get on our feet.


-- Mark in West Central Ohio (mark@marksykes.net), January 05, 2002.

I agree with Vicki, you definately want to begin with the best you are able to afford. I have invested several thousands of dollars into our Alpine herd to bring in the very best of the breed for show quality and milk production. And I am only just beginning to work on the new milk string of does. Would love a barn ful of GCH's but thats not reality!

Oh, one comment Mark, the name of the herd for the dairy you visited is the same, Willow Run, in fact I have a doe sired by Willow-Run Lothario. Caprine Estates is their umbrella name. I have personally met the Deans and see them at many shows. They are very cordial. I have not ventured into business with them so I cannot speak about their bloodlines. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), January 05, 2002.

Mark, one really great thing about high butterfat milk is that the taste is better, the butterfat somehow keeps it from tasting 'goaty'. Maybe Vicki could fill you in on the how's and why's of this, being a Nubian breeder. I would say find the breed you like and get along with best, and can get good stock from. Even from a breeder like Willow Run, be SURE that the stock you are buying has tested CAE negative. Do not assume that a big breeder doesn't have diseased stock, my experience has been that as they get bigger it seems to be harder to maintain a negative herd. From what I understand, uoir area has a lot of great goats, you should be able to get some really great stock.

By the way, $250 is not a bad price for a registered kid from a good herd, assuming that the dam has a good udder and sound conformation. A yearling is not likely to have the *M because she hasn't had the chance to earn it yet, especially if her kids were just born.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), January 06, 2002.

Just because the breeder has CAE - stock doesn't mean it really is. I highly recommend having a vet of your choice draw blood and while you are there. There are just too many shams out there on testing. By sham I mean that many breeders will claim CAE- but in actuality they are not. They can draw blood from a goat that is neg, several samples and unless you can afford DNA to check serum samples then you have no way of knowing if the blood work is from the doe you want. Do NOT take anyones word for it, check it out yourself, and by the way, I also recommend testing for CL as well.

Don't conclude that because a breeder is experienced, established, owns a large commercial herd and a top breeder that they have intregity. I am not knocking Willow-Run here, but some breeders in general who don't have ethics. And... another trick is to register a kid from being out of a certain buck or doe and then in reality not be. There are 2 cases of this I know of and this prompted ADGA to form a committee to discuss DNA testing on all bucks for registration, believe if they do the fee is 50.00 to register them.

I recommend carefully examining the does before buying, ask a lot of questions and then make your decision. And go into this knowing what you want in qualities for you goat. Visit several herds and take notes. The breeder who is able to answer your questions directly after the sale is important. Many breeders don't care do and once the goat is sold its a different matter entirely. Also make sure that the breeder will stand behind their breeding if something happens. If its a buck then you may have to wait a few yrs to see what his daughters do for udders. Afterall, you are paying good money for a good doe or buck and need to hold the breeder accountable for any flaws or porblems.

Ask to see DHIR or milk production records and Linear Appraisal scores. You need to be able to go back several generations and see if there was improvement in the line. Look for triangles in the pedigree and see if there is consistency there and improvement. I better stop before i write a novel.

good luck on your search and sounds like you are on the right track Mark. You are making decisions based on research and are an informed buyer.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), January 06, 2002.

Also make sure that the breeder will stand behind their breeding if something happens. If its a buck then you may have to wait a few yrs to see what his daughters do for udders. Afterall, you are paying good money for a good doe or buck and need to hold the breeder accountable for any flaws or problems.

Ha Ha! I have not seen a breeder yet who will do this, it sure would be nice. If you know of some like this, could you please tell me who they are!!

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), January 07, 2002.

Bernice I am on that committee, which I am kind of shocked they put me on, since I think it would help ADGA in the long run to up buck registration fees and mandatory test all bucklings registered. Course I would also like to see all Nubian bucks carry paperwork that they are G6S negative :) I also think the Sables should be a color code on the Saanen registry like black obies are! I don't see any of it happening really, but that is my opinion. I actually only wanted to be on the Trade Arbitration committee with Linda Campbell, but in putting down my three choices, ended up on all three, breed standars is the 3rd. I think its going to be fun! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 07, 2002.

I did not find answer to my question. How long will goat milk last to drink when it is fresh from the goat? That is not pasturised. My 5 month old great grand daughter has to have it as of today Aug. 16, 2002 Thank you for your help

-- Helen Oakleaf (hoakleaf@hotmail.com), August 16, 2002.

It will last about a week if it is milked in a sanitary manner, strained with a milk filter, and cooled quickly in a glass jar in a sinkful of very cold water.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), August 19, 2002.

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