This week we celebrated two momentous occasions on the farm – the first being Cs birthday and the second being the departure of the goats to stud! C was exceptionally gracious about sharing her ‘special day’- no, who am I kidding,sharing isn’t a strong point in our house at the minute, with a resident ‘threenager’ and a baby learning to say ‘no’. Whilst C spent her morning helping King Thistle and Holly escape from a marauding T Rex I managed to disappear for an hour or so to load the goats.
The night before I had carefully checked Amy and Bernadette over to make sure they were fit to travel. A last minute ‘mani-pedi’ hoof trim to ensure their feet were perfect before the off and I left them munching on their hay nets, oblivious to what lay ahead of them.
Fortunately they loaded very easily. I had anticipated all sorts of shenanigans, but no, they were exceptionally polite. Almost too polite…
The journey to the stud farm passed uneventfully. Sam (short for Sambucca) was waiting to greet us, legs jauntily angled as he posed over his stable door.
The girls were impeccably behaved whilst we unloaded them and sorted out the obligatory trees worth of paperwork. They settled into their stable without so much as a backwards glance at me, stuffing their faces with hay as if they’d never been fed before. Slightly miffed at their lack of clinginess to me (but yet pleased that they had become such confident creatures) I made my excuses and left, fingers and toes crossed for a successful ‘holiday’ stay. Good news came within 48 hours of their arrival; the stud owner assuring me we shall hopefully have our first goat kids in April 2017. We shall get them scanned to check that they are carrying babies, and so we can make sure we feed them appropriately.
People keep asking why on earth we are wanting to start milking the goats. The reasons behind this are quite simple. C had been suffering from eczema and tummy aches. Many trips to paediatricians and GPs had led to repeat medication and the same old dietary advice (more water, more fruit) . The treatment we were getting was coming up short, and C’s behaviour was starting to nose dive. Noise phobias, introversion and tantrums started to fill our days. When it came to the point that I was starting to avoid certain everyday activities because of the behaviour they might trigger from C I knew it was time to seek help elsewhere.
A friend of ours who is a behaviour therapist listened to my fears and the symptoms C was experiencing. She suggested trying to switching her milk from Cows milk to goats milk. She felt there may be an underlying Cows milk protein intolerance which was triggering the health problems and now leading on to the behavioural changes. Slightly sceptical but at the same time at the end of my tether with the NHS and ‘traditional’ thinking I headed straight to the dairy aisle and bought a bottle, just to try. Within 24 hours, her eczema had disappeared. Her behaviour improved and her tummy troubles have settled. Miraculous!
Since we have made the swap I have properly looked into goats milk as an alternative source of dairy, to discover exactly why it doesn’t cause the same problems as cows milk.
One of the main reasons seems to be the proteins within it. Cows milk proteins, especially Alpha S1 Casein, are the substances most likely to cause problems in people. Goats milk contains much less of this protein, meaning people have a greater tolerance of it. However, if you are allergic to cows milk protein (rather than just intolerant) you’ll probably have the same reaction to goats milk
Goats milk also has smaller fat globules than those found in cows milk, although the actual fat content in both forms of milk is almost identical. Smaller particles are easier to digest, making goats milk easier for our gut to deal with.
It also contains less Lactose than cows milk, obviously a win for those that are Lactose intolerant.
Finally, goats milk doesn’t cause us to produce mucous, unlike cows milk. Anecdotal evidence suggests that persistently runny noses can dry up almost instantly after swapping to goats milk.
Unfortunately goats milk doesn’t come cheap. A quick calculation led me to think that raising our own goats to provide milk for the house would be much more economical (as well as fun and rewarding) than relying on shop bought produce. It would also give the girls another opportunity to experience ‘farm to fork’ with their food, and help with raising a different species. Of course, the initial outlay is quite a lot, with purchase, transport and stud fees, but hopefully it will start to even out soon!