I grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa where we milked about 30 Holstein cows twice a day year round. Although we had all the typical things a small farm has–pigs, chickens, crops of corn, soybeans, oats and hay, it was the cows that I was drawn to. I helped my dad in every capacity of dairying from birth to milking and enjoyed all of it. After I was married and moved away my dad sold the cows, but my fondness for dairy animals never left me. I still love cows, but their size makes them impractical for us to have on our 8 acres, but dairy goats are perfect! My 3 milkers give me 1-1/2 gallons of milk with a once a day milking. It is impressive how a 130 pound goat can give more than enough milk to supply my family. I use their milk for drinking, cooking, yogurt, ice cream, cheeses including feta and cheve, and I am about to start experimenting with hard cheeses. As if that isn’t enough, goat milk makes luxurious, moisturizing soap.
If you’ve never had goat milk before, don’t buy it at the grocery store, you won’t like it. Fresh goat milk from the farm that has been properly handled tastes every bit as good as cow milk or even better, in my opinion. It’s sweet and creamy and has more health benefits than cow milk, including being easier to digest and higher in vitamins A, B1 and riboflavin. Having dairy goats is the most satisfying part of our effort to be self-sufficient, so much benefit from such a small animal!