So, if you have visited my farm you know how much we all LOVE the goats milk. It is sweeter, easy on your stomach, and much easier to extract for the milker (me), yeah. I am not going to type out all of the benefits but instead add links that say it much better than me that have scientific facts to help you understand as well. I have read a lot about it and believe that goat milk is better for easier digestion. When I was young I remember milk would make my stomach very upset so I did not drink it for a very long period of my life. Of course, it was not fresh, that stuff they sell with the red lid on it at the store I have come to realize is not really milk, at least not the kind I would willingly drink on purpose. I started milking the goats for my children to have milk and strong bones, but I quickly realized that this new milk did not hurt my stomach and was really kind of sweet and yummy and made me want more, I was impressed. I have a good friend that I was milking her Jersey cow and wanted to do a side by side blind taste test. We were having a meeting and three women all did the test. Even my friend whom drinks her cows milk daily guessed the wrong one. So if you will notice goats milk simply taste like milk. I always want guest to taste the goats milk so that they too see that it is good and no reason to shy from this awesome product. People have a funny hesitant fetish about trying it sometimes, I don’t understand. I especially don’t understand if we have just visited the goats and you see how clean they are and there is no large poop stain of their side or big pile of manure between their hoof claws, goats are soooo!!! clean compared to cows. Now, I am sure if they saw the confinement dairies that the cows milk from the store comes from they may just change their mind, I hope anyway. I have a cow that I started milking when the goats milk was done for the winter and it took a little adjustment to get used to as I do not like the taste as much, and I can not drink as much without feeling too full. But it is still not a painful experience, like the milk from the carton is. I wanted the cow for butter and that is the big purpose of me milking cows, I love know where my butter comes from. I do understand that people do not like the goat milk or products from the store, they are just as different as night and day to the fresh milk and milk products from a home dairy. Also if you leave your buck with your does your milk will likely taste like BUCK, you do not want this. Put old stinky out back and not with your does if you want your milk for good drinking.
Ok, now onto some links:
Goat milk benefits
goat, sheep, and cow milk comparison that is just funny
Of course their is much more information out there, but experiencing it for yourself is so much better. I did meet a goat meat breeder and brought a sample of our milk for him to sample and he said he was highly allergic to milk. But he was curious if he could handle goats milk as one of his relatives had previously told him to try it before. So he took the jar and turned away from us before he tried it, he said it would make him projectile vomit immediately. So I stepped back and wandered if it would affect him in such a way. About 30 seconds or less later he turned back to us ecstatic and thrilled and was so happy that he could indeed tolerate this milk, and said he was going to have his wife make ice cream with it. He loved ice cream and had not been able to eat it for a long time. I was pleased, to say the least.
So I have had four milk cows at this time, all Jerseys. I hand milk and have hand milked them all. I can tell you there are worlds of difference in milking a cow vs a goat. I am a goat person through and through, I have found my passion for life with them. Cows on the other hand, not so much. They are not as personal, they are not as smart, and cows are more prone to pee or poop while you are in the middle of trying to milk them while they are settling in. Anyway, goats are generally not ever going to pee on the milk stand unless something is really wrong. They hardly ever poop on the milk stand either, and the times I have had this happen were with very first timers entering the milk room with their babies left in a stall screaming for mamma and she is resisting and rather freaked out. After about three days of this they usually settle right down and look forward to there new feeding place and poop on the stand no more. I have also noticed that anytime you want to do anything with a goat and they are laying down, let them go to the bathroom before you allow them into the milk room, because almost every time they get up from laying down they will poop within one minute, and usually do it twice at that. Use common sense here and make sure they are finished before you let them enter the milk room. I do think cows are similar in this but maybe not as fast at getting on with it and getting done. Now, one of my cows came to me kind of trained to milk but not to a stanchion. The other was not trained but was however easy to train and did not seem to mind being milked, but she did hold milk for a while. The first couple times I tried she wasn’t giving anything up and I was very disappointed. It was not until her calf had been sold for three weeks that she started giving us more cream as well. My goats are very sociable and look for me to go sit on the log where they gather round and want me to pet them and be loved on, very fun for me. Cows are much more prone to lift up there leg and have all the milk ruined with one wrong move of their back leg to shift their weight, usually only until they get used to things though. Goats can me milked out much faster and as long as they are not a first freshener in training they are not bad about moving. If they do happen to move and you are on guard you can grab their leg and stop the movement. I can easily milk out my goats before they finish their food, I surely can not do this with the cows. Much to my surprise the cows teats are generally smaller and harder to wrap your hand around than goats teats. I have one cow with ideal teat placement and the other one has teats that are a little far apart for me. It is my plan to only keep heifers with teat placement ideal for hand milking, and I suggest if you are on the search for a home milk cow that you keep this in mind. I highly recommend that if you are going to buy a cow for hand milking that you milk this cow yourself before you buy it in the same way that you plan to milk it at home. This will allow you to see temperament, orifice size, which way the milk squirts, how long it takes you to milk the cow, ect. I would also suggest collecting a milk sample and making sure it is free of mastitis first as well, especially the contagious kind. I know from experience that I prefer the does born here to ones that I have bought, they are much more sociable towards me and even other people. Goats are much easier to handle because they do not weigh much more than me, but cows are much more difficult to manage if they do not want to cooperate. Training our cows to come into out milk stanchion was a big deal and my husband had to use his strength to accomplish this. They never would have went in if he had not been able to help me. He helped me for about a week before they would go in on their own. Now they go in easily, but it was a very frustrating ordeal at first. My goats usually only take one feeding on the milk stand and are ready to go back from then on. But keep in mind, I will not and do not own any goats that are unfriendly and hard to work with. I am big on breeding for good temperament among all the other things. The shear hand strength it takes to milk a cow is unknown by most. When you start milking, your hand muscles will hurt and cramp and you will not like building up this hand strength but you will get there. I like that I was used to milking goats before I had to milk a cow because even though you do have to go through a hand hurting phase it is not near as hard or painful as cow hand milking. I would simply much rather milk 10 or more goats than one cow, but then I would not be able to make butter, bummer. Also keep in mind if milking cows or goats, you really need a descent size orifice to make milking easy and comfortable. Small orifices will cause the strongest hand muscles to hurt and cramp for days, just do yourself a big favor and sell these animals as brood stock. By the way for those not familiar with anatomy of dairy animals the orifice is the hole at the end of the teat where the milk squirts out of. Teat size and placement and orifice size should all be huge considerations for anyone raising dairy animals for milking purposes. On another note goats are very clean compared to cows. Goats do not like mud, muck, or to be wet what so ever. Cows on the other hand will muck up land after a good rain then lay right in the mud and their freshly laid big pile of manure as well. You have to therefore clean a cows udder before milking her much more thoroughly and it takes more time. Goats poop in little pebble type balls that are not mushy and even if they lay in it, it will not be all over them when they get up. Goats are also much easier on the land and do not muck up the land near as badly.
Update as of October 11,2019, I no longer have my Jerseys and will simply be milking goats and keeping the cows only for meat supply.
I want to inform everyone of a fabulous book that tells you how to collect and store milk that is very clear and direct in how to do things. This book also tells you how to do at home test to make sure your milk is the quality you think it should be. The book is The Small Scale Dairy by Gianaclis Caldwell book link and she also writes another book I have and it is a very advanced detailed book on cheesemaking called Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking cheesemaking book link . Seems most of the importance is in milking a clean and dry udder and then getting your milk into sterilized clean containers and getting the milk below 40 degrees within 2 hours at the most but wanting at 40 degrees within 30 minutes is much more preferred. Getting the milk cold enough before bacteria that like the warm temperature is probably the number one difficulty of this process. If this step is not met though the milk is likely to spoil long before it would if proper temperatures were met shortly after milk is collected. Making sure the animal is washed up and clean is your first step and their are a million products available to help you accomplish this process. Then make sure to dry the udder and teats, also always strip the first three squirts of milk from each teat into a separate strip cup to get the most bacteria out of the milk before milking. Once your done milking go ahead and cool it to below 40 degrees. This can be accomplished by placing the milk bucket into another larger bucket that has ice water in it, and then with a clean stainless steel spoon stir the milk, use a thermometer to make sure the temp is where you want it all throughout the milk. Then pour the milk through your strainer with a filter in it into previously sanitized jars, most people use a setting on the dishwasher for this. Then go ahead and get your jars of milk into the back of the fridge where they can stay their coldest. Make sure you jar lids are clean as well. There is a trick I saw on one site that kept ice water with salt on it in the freezer for a while so they did not have to use new ice everyday, great idea. There is a wonderful article I think everyone should print out and follow and if you sell milk to individuals give them a copy as well so that everyone can keep their milk the freshest the longest. The link to the article is here milk handling article . This is a great article to use for knowledge of how to handle milk until you can get the book above, and read section two of that book first to learn about milk collecting and handling.