Milk Showdown: Cow vs. Sheep vs. Goat – Which is best?

cow-goat-sheep-which-is-best
 
It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN!  dada-da-da-da! Da-dada-da! Dada-dat-dat-da-da-da. (FYI,that took me a full 5 min to figure out.)

Get ready ya’ll because today we’re gonna have a competition of epic proportions. That’s right folks, after thousands of years of milk-drinkin’, we, here at Weed ‘em & Reap are going to finally FINALLY make the decision everybody’s been waiting for.

First, read here to see why we drink raw milk!

Now, let’s start with some of the pros & cons of each of the contenders milk…

COW

PROS – One of the benefits of cow’s milk is that the cream separates from the liquid. Hence, you get cream. Hence, you get butter. Hence, you get heaven on earth. So yeah, two big thumbs up for that Mrs. Cow. Cow’s milk also is a better milk to “feed the masses”. While I don’t support commercial farms (CAFOs) AT ALL, even small organic, grass-fed, raw dairy farms who have only 50 cows can put out a whopping 300 gallons a day. So, another thumbs up to those amazing cows that produce that much milk a day. Also, cow’s milk knocks goat’s milk out of the park in levels of B12 & folate.
CONS -  Because the fat globules are bigger (& the main reason why the cream separates) cow’s milk is harder to digest. It takes your body about 2 hours to digest cow’s milk(even raw). Not too bad, but a far cry from goat’s milk 30 minutes. The 3rd most common allergy for children is cow’s milk, and there are many theories for this from GMO leaky gut side effects to a mutation in the beta casein protein in “newer breeds” cow’s such as the common Holstein.

GOAT

PROS – Goat’s milk is closest in structure to human milk. The fat globules are smaller which aids in digestion. In a recent study of infants allergic to cow’s milk found that 93% of them were able to drink goat’s milk with absolutely no allergic reaction! The ease of digestibility is due to the high amount of medium-chain fatty acids, and has 35% compared to cow’s 17%. Goat’s milk also contains less lactose (milk sugars) than cow’s milk which helps those who suffer from lactose-intolerance. Goat’s milk is slightly alkaline, unlike cow’s milk which is slightly acidic.
CONS – Some people dislike the taste of goat’s milk, and we agree that certain breeds of goats can have musky tasting milk. We own Nigerian Dwarfs, which produce a mild taste, almost identical to cow’s milk. The only drawback is that they are small.  Small = less milk. Because we only get about 1-2 quarts a day from one goat, we need about 2-3 goats to feed our family of four. Not too bad, but you’d definitely need a lot of Nigerian Dwarf’s to “feed the masses”. Read my Guide to Raising & Milking Goats here.

SHEEP

PROS – While there’s some debate on the actual amounts of fat soluble vitamins in sheep’s milk, they still produce the CREAMIEST milk, and are famous for the deliciously succulent cheese their milk makes. They are efficient producers, only needing 100% cheap grass (no alfalfa or grain) to produce rich milk. They, like goats, have naturally homogenized milk, which means smaller fat globules and more medium-chain fatty acids. This aids in digestion just like goat’s milk.
CONS – Sheep are instinctively natural prey, which means they have difficulty “relaxing” while being milked. Trying to milk a sheep is difficult because if you scare your sheep, even slightly, their bodies will produce adrenaline which counteracts the “letting down hormone” oxytocin and the subsequent production of milk.

Next, let’s go over the nutritional facts…
 

 
Finally, let’s do some official taste-testing! Yes, all of it is fresh & raw!

The girl:        COW – “Goodish”        GOAT – “Good-ish & Bad-ish”         SHEEP – “Awesome”
 

The boy:            COW – “Good”             GOAT – “Sweet”             SHEEP – “Awesome”
 

The man:            COW – “Good”             GOAT – “Good”             SHEEP – “Good”
 
 
           The woman:       COW – “Tastes like a hoof”       GOAT – “Sweet”       SHEEP – “Perfect”


So, which is best?

I’ve thought long and hard over the subject of milk and I’ve come to an official decision for everybody. Are you ready?…….I have no idea. Jk lolololzzz. Honestly it just comes down to personal preference. You’re probably wondering if sheep’s milk is so superior in nutrition, why it isn’t more popular? Well, I’ll tell ya’ right now! I’ve been milking my sheep, Paula for the last month and that animal is a pain in the rain! Sheep are not friendly and by “not friendly”, I mean “has given me a bloody nose, knocked me flat on my back, and bruised my hands and shins”. Personally, I prefer goat’s milk because goats are cheap, easy and fun. (Hey sounds like my best friend in high school!)

Seriously though, I attribute the reversal of my son’s asthma to our lovely goat’s milk. The smaller fat globules makes it easier for him to digest and personally, even when I drink goat’s milk I feel like it goes down clear and smooth and light. With cow’s milk I feel sort of phlegmy and it seems like I am always clearing my throat. I LOVE BUTTER though, so I would still love to have a cow someday (literally) and the benefit of having copious amounts of milk to make tons of butter. Mmmm, butter. I do love sheep’s milk as well (although Paula’s a brat) and I’d love to get myself a dairy sheep(one that didn’t hate my guts) to be able to make some rich cheese as well. Right now we only have meat sheep and although you technically can milk them (and I did just that for this experiment), they aren’t very efficient producers and they are basically satan’s spawn. I guess it can be said that overall, there is a benefit to each kind of milk, and you’ll just have to decide which works best for you.

Above all, I gotta give a shout out for RAW MILK. Because it is awesome, and nourishing! If you are worried about drinking raw milk or need to search for raw milk in your area, go to www.realmilk.com

So, after our showdown, which do you choose?

milk-showdown-cow-goat-sheep

Sources:
http://www.dieteticai.ufba.br/temas/leitederivados/cabra%20e%20ovelha.pdf
http://www.milkfacts.info/Nutrition%20Facts/Nutrient%20Content.htm

This post is a part of…Small Footprint Fridays

DaNelle is the creator of the blog Weed ‘em & Reap, and author of the book, Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too. DaNelle, along with her husband and children, raise goats, sheep, and chickens on their urban farm. DaNelle writes about the reversal of disease, weight loss through real food, common food diet myths, and her funny farm experiences and gardening adventures.
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