Frequently Asked Questions
We tried to answer the most common goat milk questions here...if you have a different one however, feel free to drop us an email!
- I'm allergic to cow milk . Can I drink goat milk?
Goat milk contains only trace amounts of the protein in cow milk to which many people are allergic - alpha s-1 casein. If you are sensitive to this protein, goat milk may be well tolerated. It also has a predominance of short and medium chain fatty acids (vs. the long-chain fatty acids, predominant in cow milk). Dr. Sherilyn Renya of Washington State stated, "it takes less than 20 minutes to digest goat milk and cow milk can take almost a full 24-hour day to be digested". In addition, goat milk has 13% less lactose than cow milk. Most people who are allergic to cow milk tend not to be allergic to goat milk.
- I'm sensitive to lactose. Does goat milk have lactose in it?
Yes. All natural mammalian milks, contain lactose (milk sugar). However, many people diagnosed as lactose intolerant are able to tolerate goat milk. It has been suggested that the reason for this lies in its superior digestibility. Quickly passing through the digestive tract, goat milk leaves less undigested residue behind in the colon to ferment and cause the unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance. Goat milk also has a natural buffering quality to it, making it an excellent choice for those with ulcers and/or sensitive or weak digestive systems.
- Is goat milk good for digestive problems?
Goat milk is a wholesome food, with the added advantage of being more easily digested. As a result, it often agrees with sensitive or weak digestive systems. Goat's milk is naturally - as opposed to mechanically - homogenized, which means the fat globules 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.
- How is goat milk different from cow milk nutritionally?
Compared to cow milk, goat milk contains 13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B6, and 47% more vitamin A. It is also higher in chloride, copper, and manganese. Studies done at the USDA and Prairie View A&M University, link goat's milk to an increased ability to metabolize iron and copper, especially amongst individuals with digestion and absorption limitations.
- Does PKK Goat Milk contain antibiotics, preservatives or bovine growth hormones?
Absolutely not! Milk produced by PKK is free of antibiotics, growth hormones are not administered and we do not use preservatives.
- Is your milk organic?
We are not "certified organic"... however, as stated above, the milk produced by PKK is free of antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives and Bovine Growth Hormones. In addition, we feed no corn or soy and only non-GMO grains that we mix ourselves, sprouted grains and non-GMO fermented alfalfa. Doing feed this way costs us quite a bit more in feed than feeding a traditional grain mix, but we feel like the trade for our family, our girls and our customers is worth it. We also use no chemical fertilizers on our pastures. We use a holistic approach to parasite control and medications. In the rare instance that an animal can't be helped by holistic remedies, the animal is quarantined until she is well and then her milk isn't added back into the milk supply until well after the prescribed "witholding" time for the medication used. The "Certified Organic" label is something we will probably never seek. The sole reason being, that once an animal has been treated with an antibiotic, her milk can never be called "organic" again. We try holistic first, but we simply will not withhold treatment that may save a life. Nor can we afford to maintain two separate herds of "organic" and "non-organic" animals. However, we do follow organic procedures on the farm.
- Are your goats grass fed?
We are getting this question more frequently so decided to add it to our FAQs. However, an explanation of why and how we feed our goats has no short answer. Much has been made of the term "grass fed" in recent years. We agree that grass fed is a good thing! For grazing animals, particularly those intended for meat. Those animals pretty much have nothing to do but eat and grow. No demands beyond that are placed on their systems. In addition, the systems of grazing animals are much different than that of the dairy goat (we are not discussing dairy cattle here as those are grazers as well and not our area of expertise). Without understanding the digestive system of the goat you can't accurately understand why we do supplement our girls with grain on the milkstand. Goats are ruminants just like cattle and sheep. Unlike cattle and sheep however, who are "grazers" and able to more completely digest the grasses in the pastures, goats are "browsers". Meaning that they much prefer the brush, leaves and tops of grasses (ie the seed heads). They are more like deer in that respect than they are the other two ruminants. Our girls are pastured and not confined to a small lot. Their pasture consists of grasses and browse that is never chemically fertilized. In a natural situation, this would be enough for them, even with the demands of raising their kids. However, as much as we want to keep them as naturally as possible, the fact remains that milking them 305 days a year is not natural to them. In an ideal situation, a doe would kid in the Spring when all the browse is just starting to grow and at its most nutritious. She would nurse her kids for approximately 3-4 months. The demand on her body is great at that time, but she has all that Spring growth to support her. With dairy goats, we still have our does kid in Spring and they still go through the first 3-4 months of that milking "peak" but instead of allowing the does to dry off, we continue to milk them causing the demand on their bodies to continue longer that it normally would. Because of that we have to provide the extra calories that will maintain their body condition. To do otherwise would not be in the best interest of our animals. They simply cannot eat enough to get the calories their bodies need from grass and legume grasses and hays. That's where the grains come in. On the milkstand twice daily our girls receive a dairy ration mix that we mix personally to supplement what they get on pasture.
- Do you supply milk all year long?
Here again there is not an easy answer. An animal must give birth in order to produce milk. Dairy goats (unlike cattle) do not cycle year round. Meaning they can only be bred in their breeding season. Breeding season is generally August to December. Gestation is 5 months (or 150 days on average)which puts kidding from January to May. That makes December and January the dreaded months for a goat milk producer. Those are the months that production is the lowest. There are two ways around this. 1) Breeding "out of season" which usually requires artificial hormones. We refuse to do this as it goes against everything we believe in. Or 2) Having enough animals that we can overlap breedings and lactation curves. This is what we are aiming for. We aren't there yet, but we are working on it. We would prefer to breed our own up and coming milking girls. That way we know how they were bred, raised and cared for. Second choice is buying from other producers. But this has its own set of difficulties. You see we are VERY selective about where our potential milkers come from. So this makes it a slower process. However, we think the results are worth the wait!
- What is the nutrition information on goat milk and cheese?
Comparison of (Average) Nutritional Value of Goat, Cow, and Human Milk
Properties Goat Milk Cow Milk Human Milk
Protein (%) 3.0 3.0 1.1
Butterfat (%) 3.8 3.6 4.0
Calories (per 100 ml) 70 69 68
Vitamin A (i.u. per gram of fat) 39 21 32
Vitamin B1/Thiamine (µg per 100 ml) 68 45 17
Riboflavin (µg per 100 ml) 210 159 26
Vitamin C (mg ascorbic acid per 100 ml) 2 2 3
Vitamin D (i.u. per gram fat) 0.7 0.7 0.3
Calcium (%) 0.19 0.18 0.04
Iron (%) 0.07 0.06 0.2
Phosphorus (%) 0.27 0.23 0.06
Cholesterol (mg per 100 ml) 12 15 20
Notes: µg = microgram. i.u. = international units. 100 ml = about 3.38 fluid ounces.
Sources: Dronen, Karyl. April 1990. "Nutritional Composition of Goat Milk Products in the U.S." Dairy Goat Journal.
Pennington, Jean A.T., and Helen Nichols Church. 1985. Bowen and Church Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.
Renner, Edmund. 1983. Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition. W.G. Mott. University of Glessen, Munich, Germany.
Comparison of (Average) Nutritional Value of Goat and Cow Cheese
Properties (per ounce) Chevre (Soft Goat Cheese) Cow Cream Cheese
Calories 69.4 99.5
Protein (grams) 4 2.1
Fat (grams) 5.5 10.0
Cholesterol (mg) 17.6 30.5
Sodium (mg) 83.4 84.5
Calories from fat (%) 70.4 95.0
Source: American Dairy Goat Association [www.adga.org]
- What is the nutrition information on goat meat?
Here is an article from Michigan State University on the subject.
Eat goat! It is a healthy choice!
Three quarters of the world's population eats goat meat. This trend is rising in the United States as well. Goat is surprisingly healthy compared to the usual meats we consume, even chicken!
Posted on May 6, 2012 by Suzanne Pish, Michigan State University Extension
Goats are quickly becoming a common sight along roadsides and on small farms all over the United States. Beef, chicken, and pork are more widely consumed at the American family dinner table so many people are surprised to learn that goat is actually the world's most popular meat.
Approximately 75 percent of the world's population eats goat meat. The demand for goat meat has risen sharply with America's growing population of ethnic groups who are more familiar with this food. American producers are struggling to keep up with the growing demand for a product that was virtually unheard of 15 years ago. In addition to the ethnic population that regularly consumes goat meat, many Americans are discovering the benefits of eating goat too.
Since we raise goats for meat, we often are asked why. It has a good flavor and is very healthy. It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50 percent lower in fat than our American beef and is about 40 percent lower in saturated fat than chicken - even chicken cooked with the skin off! The following meat comparison (per 3 oz. roasted meat) table is from the USDA:
Meat Comparison (per 3 oz. roasted meat)
Calories Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Protein (g) Iron (g)
Goat 122 2.58 0.79 23 3.2
Beef 245 16.0 6.8 23 2.0
Pork 310 24.0 8.7 21 2.7
Lamb 235 16.0 7.3 22 1.4
Chicken 120 3.5 1.1 21 1.5
Cooking goat can be more of a challenge due to its low fat content. Cook goat meat slowly and at low temperatures to prevent it from drying it out which makes it tough. The best ways to cook goat are roasting or braising. Roasting can be done in the oven, in a smoker, or on the grill. Braising involves cooking it with added liquid such as water, wine or milk. Marinating will help retain moisture and tenderness as well. The USDA's Food Service and Inspection Service provides several fact sheets on preparing, selecting and storing goat along with nutrition information. Enjoy!
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
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