We are now offering goat herd shares! But why GOAT milk?
Raw goat milk is some incredible stuff! Though it may not be for everyone, here are several reasons you should consider making it a regular part of your day:
-Less lactose than cow milk. Although this doesn’t make it lactose-free, it’s still a good bit easier to digest for those with sensitivities to lactose.
-A2. Goat milk is naturally free of A1 beta-casein, a protein in most cow milk that is said to be unhealthy. Health-conscious milk drinkers can now find cow herds that are strictly A2, but all goats have always been A2!
-Better nutritional content than cow milk. The differences aren’t huge, but goat milk contains slightly more protein and fat and slightly less carbohydrates. Click here for nutritional data but be aware that nutrition content varies by breed and herd and the animal’s diet.
-High butterfat content. Goat milk can range from 1% to up to 10% butterfat, depending on the breed. Based on the breeds we have, we estimate our milk to be about 5% butterfat- equivalent to the richest of cow's milk!
-Naturally homogenized cream. The cream in goat milk doesn’t rise to the top like natural cow milk. This makes it more drinkable, though also less useful if you want to separate the cream for making things like butter.
What about that goaty FLAVOR?
Have you ever had a bad experience with goat milk? You owe it to yourself to give it another try! There are three main factors that affect milk flavor and there’s a good chance you’ll be surprised how good goat milk can taste.
-Genetics. Different breeds give different flavors. Our goats have been bred and selected more for flavor than for quantity.
-Milk handling/hygiene. By chilling our milk promptly, reducing air contact, and delivering your milk ASAP, we reduce a lot of the potential off-tastes you might associate with goat milk.
-Goat’s diet. This is the one factor that’s a bit harder to control. What a goat eats has a huge impact on the flavor of the milk! Because our goats are free to roam through lush pasture and cutover, they have access to a very diverse diet. Though this means we can’t guarantee a consistent taste, the flavors associated with diet usually represent high levels of nutrition that you just can’t get from grain-fed animals. If your milk tastes a little funny one week, just enjoy the life-giving nutrients and look forward to next week when it might taste a bit better- the goats eat with the seasons here, too!
Our herd management practices.
Our goal is to manage the goats in such a way as to provide maximum nutrition, while maintaining excellent flavor in the milk. The goats (which are actually owned by herd share members) enjoy an interesting and satisfying life on pasture and in scrubby cutover- the perfect combination for these 4-footed weed eaters! They have 24-7 access to comfy barns but spend most of their time grazing and browsing leaves.
Does “kid” once a year, giving birth to usually two babies. We time breeding so that kidding takes place in spring and fall so there is a more consistent supply of milk year round. Kids live with and nurse from their mothers for about 3 months, learning the ins and outs of being a goat, and getting maximum nutrition from the mother.
Our goats are medium sized and hardy, leading to longer, more active lives than their full-sized counterparts. They also produce less milk than standard dairy goats, but we don’t see this as a bad thing. Rather than expending all their energy into producing a high quantity of milk, they are able to maintain immune function, activity, and produce creamier milk.
Through the winter, they have pasture, but need a substantial amount of hay and grain to maintain optimum health, especially the does that are being milked. We hope to eventually transition them to being 100% grass (and tree) fed, but have learned to prioritize the goats’ well-being over the constitution of their milk. However, we absolutely refuse to feed any GMO feed including alfalfa and soy. The grain we buy is GMO- and soy-free, though currently not organic. All does get some grain while being milked.
We try to avoid medicating our animals as much as possible, believing that nature provides everything that humans and animals need for health. We use good management practices to promote good health in our herd. However, we sometimes do need to use conventional medicine including antibiotics and wormers. Be assured that these medications will never end up in your milk. We are very strict about this since we are "health freaks" of sorts ourselves! ;)
Milking takes place once a day. We use a milking machine for most of the work. This keeps your milk perfectly clean and is very gentle on the goats. We do milk by hand sometimes and maintain excellent hygiene through the whole process. Animal husbandry, especially in a dairy herd, is a delicate art. We farm our goats humbly and proudly. Humbly because we realize how much more there is to learn, and proudly because we do the very best we possibly can.
And now the information you were REALLY looking for: Can I play with the baby goats!?
YES! We often bring baby goats to the weekly market at Magnolia Green(though sometimes we bring ducklings instead). Come see us there and get to know some of our farm babies, or feel free to contact us to arrange a private farm tour!
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of goat milk!