Goat Milk!

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One quart of delicious goat milk!

One quart of delicious goat milk!

Got Milk?

I’m really excited to have goat milk from my very own goats now. Our Saanen mix does are nursing their kids and won’t have a great deal of milk for us humans for awhile. But I am getting about one quart of milk from them each day, mostly in the morning. The kids are about 2 weeks old now and most sites say that I could separate the kids from the does for the night and I’d get more milk in the morning. I haven’t decided if I’m ready to separate them just yet.Β But for now, I’m thrilled with a quart of milk a day. πŸ™‚

This milk is very creamy and I’m enjoying it in my coffee and on cereal. It doesn’t have a ‘goaty’ flavor and I’m thankful for that. I’ve heard that fresh goat milk doesn’t taste any different than cows’ milk, really. But when it is several days old it might start to taste like goat. Any experience with this from all you goat keepers out there?

I strain the milk right after collecting it and for now I am pasteurizing it. I don’t have a milking machine and it’s hard to keep hair, straw, and dirt out of the milk. Before milking, I wash the udder thoroughly, but somehow there is always a little bit of crud in the milk. So I’m heating the milk to 180 F to be on the safe side.

Do you milk goats? Do you use a machine or milk by hand? What kind of milker do you use, and do you like it? Do you drink the milk raw or pasteurize it?


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42 comments on “Goat Milk!

  1. beatricesalmonhawk

    I am just starting over in the UK, joining an established meat goat herd, the owner is letting me milk two of the new mothers and turn them into milk goats. I have read and understand that you have to cool the milk down after milking but have no idea how you’d achieve that! Any help would be most appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Beatrice,
      My Grandfather milked cows and all of the milk was chilled by spring water. The Amish families near my childhood home continue to chill their milk with spring water. Most people today put the container of milk in their refrigerator to cool it. The family that I was buying raw milk from would take the stainless steel milk containers and set them in ice water to cool the milk quickly.

      I sold my goats, unfortunately. But when I was milking them I was getting around a quart each time I milked. I brought the milk in the house right away, poured it through a stainless steel mesh to strain it, then I put the jar of milk in the refrigerator.

      Let me know how your goat milk adventures come along! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Wow! $10 a pint is a lot! But I’m sure that she pays a premium for her feed too. In our area raw goat milk is $6 for either a quart or a half gallon…I can’t remember. My one girl is picking up in production as I increase her feed. I’m also milking 3 times a day to help increase her output too. I just came in from milking this morning and it looks like I have over 1 quart for the morning and I should get another quart between the afternoon and evening milking too. So I’m very happy to say that I’m up to about 2 quarts a day…more than we need for fresh use. I plan to try yogurt and cheese soon!

        Reply
  2. Lisa Lynn Post author

    Hi Sandra,
    Does heating to 161 kill any bad bacteria? I like the milk pasteurized, as long as I use it within a day. I don’t have enough to make yogurt yet, but I’m wondering if I’ll like the flavor. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Sandra Morris

      Lisa, Yes! The book, The Goats Produce Too from Mary Jane Toth, has a section on Pasteurizing and that is the temperature that is given. I have seen some sites call it the “flash Method” It varies a little as I have seen some recommend holding the temp for 15 seconds instead of the 30.
      Cooling it down quickly is just as important as heating it up.
      The milk should not get an off flavor in the fridge, and should last for several days.
      Make sure you strain the milk before you pasteurize it as well, to get out any unwanted hairs etc.
      My girls always balk at the goats milk, but they love the yogurt, cheese, ice cream etc. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Thanks, Sandra πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to trying the yogurt…when we have enough milk. I have been straining the milk with a metal coffee filter…that works well.

        Reply
  3. Sandra Morris

    We will be milking in a couple of weeks. Still waiting for kids! Any Day now.
    We have Toggenburgs and Oberhasli. We keep the kids with the moms. We do remove them at night after two weeks-three weeks. I don’t like the milk the first few weeks anyway…
    I milk by hand. I would have to be milking more than two or three goats to make the investment into a milker.
    My girls milk out quick, so it doesn’t take too much time.
    I do clip the goats, especially under the belly and shave the udders, cleaner milk that way.
    I do raw and pasteurize. The pasteurized will last longer in the fridge, and makes a better yogurt (imo)
    When I pasteurize the milk, I get the milk to 161 degrees(hold for 30 seconds) and then cool them milk down in a sink full of ice. (I usually pour into cold stainless bowl/pan)
    The milk will taste less cooked than if you let it boil.
    When I accidentally forget about my milk on the stove, and it does boil, I use it for yogurt or pudding.

    Good luck with your milking πŸ™‚

    Reply
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  5. Margie

    Could someone explain what they mean by pasteurizing their milk, how to? And how long will raw milk last in and out of icebox.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Margie,
      Pasteurizing is the process of heating the milk to 180 F to kill the bacteria. Some people want to drink the beneficial bacteria that naturally occurs in the milk while others prefer to kill any bad bacteria that might have found their way in. This can happen if the cow is sick or the milk isn’t handled and chilled properly. With a milking machine you have less chance of contamination from hair or dirt on the goat. I strain anything out of the milk, but wasn’t sure how good I felt about drinking raw milk unless I get a hand held milker.

      Most states require that milk sold in stores be pasteurized.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    We milk by hand… A bit of debris in the milk is a non-issue for us. I strain it and chill it immediately. We don’t pasteurize… I don’t see the need. If I did, I’d just buy store bought milk.

    I’ve been drinking raw goats milk (and occasionally cow’s milk) for over 10 years… I’m still here… alive and kickin!

    Reply
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  8. Kathi

    I milk by hand. One year I milked six goats once a day, but I don’t have as many goats now as I did then. We always drink it raw. And yes, the older the milk is, the goatier it tastes in my opinion, but since we have a never-ending supply, we always drink the freshest milk. The rest is used for cooking, yogurt, soft cheese, soap-making, etc. The dogs and cats love the leftovers.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I want so much to just milk by hand too, Kathi. I’m just a little icked out by the hair and straw getting in the milk. So I’ve been pasteurizing it just to be on the safe side. I can’t image milking 6 goats a day! Good for you!

      Reply
  9. Katie

    Last Fall we stayed at a farm that participated in the Farm Stay USA program. She was milking a Nigerian Dwarf goat at the time and I was surprised that the milk did not taste “goaty”. We are lucky to have a goat farm nearby that sells both pasteurized and raw goat milk.

    Reply
  10. Takiko

    Are your goats shaved?
    My husband will be building a milk stand soon so I can start training. My older ones will be ready to be bred this fall and hopefully I can start milking them next year by this time.
    I hope to make cream cheese and ice cream.

    Reply
      1. Takiko

        Yes, goats are shaved all over their body for shows but I’ve heard they are shaved their rear end and under when it gets close to give birth for the ease of milking and keeping it clean.
        I was thinking this is what I was going to do and wondering if there are anyone that practice that.

        Reply
  11. bdgoats@yahoo.com

    I am milking two goats by hand (can’t afford a milking machine). We drink the milk either way (raw or pastuerized). I use the milk to make all sorts of wonder things – goat’s milk yogurt, cheese, ice cream, fudge – yum!! Nothing better than fresh goat’s milk

    Reply
    1. talkativeturtle

      Would you please share with us what kind(s) of goats that you have? I have been thinking about getting 2 Dwarf Nubian goats because their milk is so rich. What do you feed your goats and how does their diet affect the quality of their milk? I loved your post and can’t wait to learn more!

      Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          That’s ok, I didn’t even catch that πŸ™‚ I have two Saanen mix does. I’m feeding them alfalfa, hay, some organic livestock pellets for dairy animals, oats, and beet pulp. I have one doe that is producing so little that she is only feeding her kid. The other doe is producing enough for her kid and a quart for us. They were both rather undernourished when I brought them home and the one is not putting on any weight. So I will be worming her again soon. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. The Saanens don’t have as much fat in their milk. I have read that the Dwarf Nigerians have a very creamy milk and that was the breed I originally wanted. But they cost so much around here that I was able to get these other two does for the same price as one DN doeling (a little less actually).

          But you might have been asking that of bdgoats…so hopefully they can answer those questions for you too. πŸ™‚

        2. BDGoats@yahoo.com

          We raise Saanens, also. Only milking two. Out of the two I am getting almost two gallons of milk a day. Of course, I am bottle feeding 5 babies, so they get most of it, but usually I can squeeze an extra quart or two for me for yogurt :-). With regards to the debris, if it is hay or straw, no big deal, I filtered it out when I get back to the house. But if they kick up mud or else (nasty stuff – i.e. poop) into the milk, the milk gets pitched.

        3. Rachel

          Hey talkativeturtle, I have milked 2 of my Nigerian Dwarfs so far. The milk is indeed VERY rich and sweet. It is sooooooooo yummy to cook with! I’ve heard that you need less of it to make the same amount of cheese as from the standard breeds’ milk, because of the butterfat.

          Since these 2 does were first fresheners, they didn’t give a whole lot. I hand milk once a day and they both peaked at about 2 cups. I was told that the first freshening isn’t a really good indicator of future production, that it goes up in subsequent freshenings. I hope it will, because I’m not too skilled yet at milking technique. It takes me a while. An hour’s work for 2 cups or less isn’t very labor efficient. But there are so many positives about the Nigerians that we are going to wait and see. It’s the first time for my does so I shouldn’t put too much pressure on them to perform.

          Also, for our first goats, we got the best animals we could afford, but the really well-bred milky ND’s were out of our price range (and too far to drive, so we had to find something within reasonable distance), so what my goats gave may be at the lower end of the spectrum. One of the 2 I milked will soon have her second litter. I’m excited to see if her production goes up. Recently we brought home a buck from one of the well bred herds near us (relatively…a 7 hour drive one way), whose mother milks 3 quarts a day (!!), so hopefully he will introduce some good solid milk genetics into our herd. He is the father of the litter I mentioned. The next few years will tell.

          It probably would have been better from a homestead perspective if we had just initially invested in the better animals. But we just couldn’t afford it. Plus I had never had goats before, so starting off with expensive animals would have terrified me.

          Sorry to ramble…I saw where you mentioned Nigerians, and wanted to share. πŸ™‚

          Lisa Lynn, I liked your post and I love your blog. Right now I milk by hand, but later on, when we have multiple goats to milk, we will be using a milking machine built by my husband (who is a mad scientist/engineer). I am sooo jealous of you getting a quart a day!!!!!!!! πŸ˜› Lucky you! πŸ™‚

        4. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Rachel,
          I can certainly understand your hesitation about purchasing the more expensive does and driving 7 hours…wowzers! I have seen them for around $300-350 for a doeling within an hours drive from us. I bought both Saanen mix does for a total of $300 plus the bucks were ‘free’…of course there is no such thing as a free goat. πŸ˜‰

          I also felt that the price was more than I could justify. I just hope these girls can give me more than the quart a day…yes, 1 cup would definitely not cut it around here! Thanks so much for sharing your experience withe Dwarf Nigerians. I really wanted that breed, but I think I will be happy with these goats. πŸ™‚

        5. Rachel

          Yeah, they sure ain’t cheap. There were other reasons that added up to Nigerians for us also, one being that we’d had full size goats for brush control on our place before and they damaged the fruit trees badly even with protective fencing. The Nigerians have yet to hurt anything. The other reason for me was, never having had goats, I was intimidated by the size of the standards. I’ve been around some crazy stud animals, and I appreciate the fact that even my big buck barely comes up to my knee. Thankfully they are not in the LEAST aggressive – such mellow sweeties who love scritches. But they’re easy to pick up and put where I want them to go even when they can’t focus on me for slobbering at the does. A bigger buck with worse manners would probably drag me away with him. Hehe.

          We have been talking about upgrading a size – getting a full sized doe to breed to our small bucks and come out with Miniature cross babies that might produce more. But there again, distance is an issue. We live way out in West Texas and so far, the really good goats don’t come much farther west than central. But I’m sure there is an answer somewhere.

          I’m surprised you were able to buy your big goats for such a good price! Wow! We paid $400 for our original 5, 1 buck and 4 does, and then $300 for our second buck from Ft Worth. That breeder usually sells her goats for at least $600, but she had several young bucks that she hadn’t been able to sell, so she offered us a great deal on him.

        6. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Rachel,
          Wow! Yeah, the price depends so much on how many are available and the demand. That is a lot to pay for the amount of milk you are getting, but if there is demand for the breed in your area, you can sell the offspring when you’ve got all you want for your own herd.

          I thought the price was decent for the Saanen mix does that I bought, and I think that they will work out in the long run, but I have to get them into good condition before the milk will be enough for our family.

          AT this point I’m really trying to learn as much as I can, make all my mistakes here and then when hubby retires we will be moving back to our hometown to start a more in depth homestead operation. That’s the plan anyway πŸ˜‰ At that point I hope to know a ton more about goats and their care. Maybe then I’ll look into the dwarf breed for our dairy needs.

          Thanks for sharing…I find it so interesting to hear about what folks in other areas are doing and their experiences!

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