Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
There is so much discussion going on about raw milk right now that I thought I would join in on the band-wagon and put in my two cents.
We at Stony Knolls Farm are a State of Maine licensed RAW goat dairy. Does that give you a hint about where I stand on this?
Goat milk is the most digestible dairy product because of its molecular size and similar composition to a human mother’s milk. Any mammal can be raised on goat milk. In fact, did you know that many zoos keep small herds of dairy goats on premises to assure a constant supply of goat milk in case of emergencies?
Stop and think about this for a moment. A cow has a calf, the calf weighs approximately 40 pounds at birth and weans at about 250 to 300 pounds. A goat kid weighs approximately 7 pounds at birth and weans at about 45 pounds. Whose milk would be more digestible by a human, who is about the same weight as a goat? Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized which means the fat globules in their milk are small, and remain suspended in the milk. This helps in digestion and absorption! Many people that have digestive problems have found that goat milk has a natural anti-inflammatory component.
Have you ever noticed that after drinking cow milk you seem to produce a lot of mucous? Goat milk does not do that! Infants and toddlers have a much easier time digesting goat milk. I can go on and on about how great goat milk is, but, now the question is why raw?
If milk is pasteurized, its temperature is raised to 165° and held there for 45 seconds, or the milk is brought up to 145° and held for at least 30 minutes. What happens to the milk at these temperatures? Bacteria are killed off. BUT, not all bacteria are bad! Some bacteria are good, and they get killed off along with some of the natural vitamins.
If you are a huge commercial milk producer, you can add “stuff” (vitamins and minerals) back in, but, if you are a home producer, are you really up to snuff on how to add the good things back in! My whole theory is, why bother? Why fritz with a fantastic product? Some get hung up on pasteurization but all they are doing is destroying their milk because they do not add anything back!
By keeping our milking room and milk processing room immaculately clean, we ace all of our random state milk tests, and consistently turn out a quality product.
A very often asked question is: does the breed of goats affect the taste of the milk? And the answer is….YES! The milk fat affects the taste of the milk, and genetics play a part in how much milk fat your breed of goat will produce.
Another question we often answer is: will what I feed my goats affect the taste of the milk? OH YES! If your goat is out grazing and gets into wild garlic or skunk cabbage, you will know it! But probably one of the worst offenders is feeding your milking girls what supermarkets throw away. One family told me that they couldn’t drink their goat’s milk because the taste was so awful and they couldn’t believe how good ours tasted. After a little investigation with them I found out they went to the supermarket once a week and picked up all the outdated and spoiled produce! Good for pigs, but for goats? Not so much.
Why would you go through all the trouble to raise milk goats and then destroy all that’s good?
Here is a hint for you! After a phone call the other evening from one of our Goat School attendees, I thought maybe I should share this trick with everyone. When a nursing kid is taken from its mother, it often refuses to nurse from a bottle. Can you blame it?
If you aren’t able to use goat milk, make sure that you are mixing up an appropriate formula for the baby and that you are heating it up to 101 to 103 degrees. Secondly, and this is a really sneaky trick, take a small towel and wrap it loosely around the kid’s head so that it can’t see what’s going on. Nine times out of ten this trick works like a charm!
Want to learn more about goat husbandry? Come to Goat School! We still have room in our Spring 2012 class which will take place on Saturday, June 2nd, and Sunday, June 3rd!
Can’t make it for spring? Come to our Fall Class on Columbus Day weekend. What a gorgeous time to visit Maine!!