Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

The search for goats. August 2, 2009

Filed under: Home Economics — realfoodmama @ 2:24 pm
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As some of you may have read, it is perfectly legal for a resident of Santa Fe to house livestock on their property in the city limits. Due to this lenient legislation, my family will be getting some goats to provide us with a fresh source for raw milk, cheese and yogurt. The health benefits of raw milk are numerous, and goats milk in general is easier to digest and has more vitamin B – from The World’s Healthiest Foods

Goat’s milk is a very good source of calcium and the amino acid tryptophan. It is also a good source of protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium. Perhaps the greatest benefit of goat’s milk, however, is that some people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk are able to drink goat’s milk without any problems. It is not clear from scientific research studies exactly why some people can better tolerate goat’s milk. Some initial studies suggested that specific proteins known to cause allergic reactions may have been present in cow’s milk in significant quantities yet largely absent in goat’s milk. The alpha-casein proteins, including alpha s1-casein, and the beta-casein proteins were both considered in this regard. However, more recent studies suggest that the genetic wiring for these casein proteins is highly variable in both cows and goats and that more study is needed to determine the exact role these proteins might play in the tolerability of goat’s milk versus cow’s milk. Other research has found some anti-inflammatory compounds (short-chain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides) to be present in goat’s milk. These oligosaccharides may make goat’s milk easier to digest, especially in the case of compromised intestinal function. In animal studies, goat’s milk has also been shown to enhance the metabolism of both iron and copper, especially when there are problems with absorption of minerals in the digestive tract. These factors and others are likely to play an important role in the tolerability of goat’s milk versus cow’s milk. Allergy to cow’s milk has been found in many people with conditions such as recurrent ear infections, asthma, eczema, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk may help to reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions.

Not only is goat milk a fabulous substitute for cows milk, not to mention the fact that it is a close source for raw milk, but goats are freakin’ adorable! Here is a picture in case any of you doubt it:

Our new goat.

Our new goat.

The search for a goat took me far and wide – I called all the local dairies here in Santa Fe, I searched Craigslist for any and all ads regarding goats, I did online research via the 4-H Club site to find goat breeders in the area…in short I called about 40 people. The reason the search was so exhaustive and took so long was due to the fact that I had very specific parameters defining the “right” goat.

First? Breed. I researched the various milk breeds and came to a decision based on two qualifications. One: I needed a breed that would survive the hot, very sunny, climate here in Santa Fe. Two: I wanted a high fat content in my milk. That pretty much led me to choosing the Anglo-Nubian breed as my preference. It also helps that they are the most adorable goats around (the above picture is a pure bred Nubian).

Secondly? Horns. I have an eighteen month old son and I require that any goat I own has been dis-budded (i.e., they no longer have their horns). While there are a lot of goats here in the high desert, most of them still have their horns. This was a deal breaker for me and I was forced to overlook a lot of Nubians as a result.

Thirdly? Milk. I really wanted to find a goat in milk. That is to say, I wanted a female who had been recently bred and had an existing supply. The plan was to buy two females and breed them on alternating years so as to have a constant supply without putting too much stress on one animal. While there were a lot of kids for sale, I didn’t want to have to wait an entire year for milk.

That being said, I did finally find the perfect goat. Sweetie, as picture above, is a fabulously adorable Nubian goat who is due to deliver her kid(s) in September. We will be taking her, and her offspring, after she has delivered. Pictures of the goat pen will be provided as soon as there is anything to take a picture of!

Keep reading for more goat updates and, eventually, recipes for goat cheese! In the meantime, Happy Eating!

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