Choosing the Best Breed of Dairy Goat For Your Homestead
There is simply no beating the rich, creamy taste of fresh milk right off the homestead. Since not every homestead can support the size and hunger of a dairy cow, this makes goats a popular alternative. Not only do goats save space, but they produce milk that is easier on the stomach and still just as nutrient-rich as cow’s milk. Unfortunately, goat’s milk gets a bit of a bad reputation due to a few misconceptions. This is how to choose the Best Breed of Dairy Goat For Your Homestead.
Does Goat Breed Affect Taste?
Contrary to the popular misconception likely spread by some disgruntled cow, goat’s milk doesn’t necessarily taste very goaty. In fact, that taste usually manifests from storage. Goat’s milk has more lactic acid, if it is stored in temperatures warmer than 38 degrees, the distinct goaty taste multiplies. Since most refrigerators are about 45 degrees, it has turned a lot of goat’s milk from clean cream to a distinctly more pungent flavor.
If you choose non-dairy breed goats, then you will get milk that has a stronger flavor. Even some dairy breeds are known for having a more pungent flavor for those that have an interest in producing goat cheese with stronger flavors. In truth, the breed of dairy goat doesn’t usually affect the flavor, but rather the volume of milk you get.
Top 3 Dairy Goat Breeds
If you have pasture land and a shelter set up if can be pretty easy to find some goats if you ask around in homesteading circles. However, you will want to know what you are looking for first to fit your needs.
The Nigerian Dwarf goats are growing to be hugely popular among homesteaders specifically because they are only about 18 inches tall. They are very small goats and fit very small homesteads. Furthermore, one goat can give anywhere between 2 cups of milk to a half-gallon of milk per day so one or two goats can be plenty for a homestead. With a nice sweet flavor and high butterfat content of eight to ten percent, their milk makes for excellent cream for your coffee.
This breed is popular as a dairy goat because of the volume it produces. One goat can pump out two to three gallons per day. The Saanen produces milk with only about two percent butterfat. This is the same butterfat content as two percent milk on a store shelf. So if you are used to drinking that, it will taste very similar. However, if you are used to high butterfat raw milk, you’ll find it quite disappointing.
In short, a Saanen will provide no shortage of milk for your cereal or household cooking usages.
The Nubian breed is a nice middle ground between Nigerian Dwarf and Saanen in every way. They produce around a gallon of milk per day with a sweet flavor, but it has a nice medium butterfat content of five percent. This means it isn’t overbearingly rich, but it is great for a lot of different uses.
Try Before You Buy
The best advice one can give when buying a dairy goat or two is to try the milk before you buy the goat. If you are buying young goats, try the mother’s milk if they are not yet producing. Sometimes breed can affect the milk taste, but it also does vary from goat to goat. No breeder is going to fault you for wanting to try their goat’s milk before you buy them, and many will probably have samples waiting for you already.