Friday, June 25, 2010

Off flavors in goat milk

I suspect that the reason that a lot of people don't like goat milk is because it is highly susceptable to off flavors. I've had one person describe the flavor to me as the "way that goat pee would taste like." I know exactly what they are referring to, as the first batch of goat milk I had when I first got Falcon was absolutely nasty, tasting just like what I would imagine her pee to smell like.

But then her milk got better. There were times that I found her milk irresistable and would drink it straight from the jar out of the refrigerator. To me, it doesn't taste "just like cow milk" as some goat owners would claim, but it tastes sweet, creamy, and a little goaty--but in a wonderful savory way.

For the last two weeks or so, I've detected that yucky flavor again. Not so much as in the first batch that I got from her (which was likely related to moving stress or to whatever the previous owner was feeding her). Several days ago I had to throw out a couple of gallons because it stank so bad. The mozzarella I made yesterday is edible but still has that off flavor.

I noticed when I first got Falcon that if her milk went into a storage vessel that was disinfected with bleach the off flavor would come back. So I've stopped being so heavy on the bleach.

Last night's milk wasn't so bad (but it didn't taste great), but this morning's milk doesn't smell so good.

I wonder if the switch to pure alfalfa, based largely on my vet's recommendation, has anything to do with it?

Ed goes down to feed the goats first thing in the morning, and then late at night just before bedtime. I wonder if milking her two hours or so after she feeds on pure alfalfa has an affect on her flavor.

Well, since this seeems to be a common problem, I will continually add comments to this post regarding any tidbits of information regarding off flavors in milk. Anybody else out there have any comments?


John said...

Wow thats really nice.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Since the last time I wrote on this subject, I have been giving the goats browse and weeds during the day and Ed feeds alfalfa at night, after I have milked. I figure this gives the alfalfa enough time to work out of her system. Since then, her milk has been much better.

Anonymous said...

Trial and error, right?

Laura said...

I'm not sure what might cause the off flavor. I feed my goats alfalfa, dry cobb, black oil sunflower seeds, and my milkers get some wet cobb, carrots, bananas, and whatever other fruit or veggies I might have to share that don't go to the chickens. Please do keep us posted - I just discovered your blog and am looking forward to reading more! :-)

Anonymous said...

Your goats are copper deficient. I can tell by looking. It can affect milk flavor negatively. Copasure copper bolusing is the only way to go. The NW is severely deficient. Google 'Saanendoah copper' and read about it. Alfalfa shouldn't affect flavor. Have you tested for mastitis? A fecal sample examination will show what worms there are and proper wormer is necessary. Join Dairygoatinfo goat forum to learn lots about goats and Goatkeeping 101 at that site has management info the way professionals do it.
I am anal about my goats management and their milk is amazing.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

I was gonna say either have them checked for worms, be extra clean while milking (stainless, seamless bucket, right?), or its what they are eating. Do they graze? Good quality alfalfa should make the milk taste better (and you should get more milk also). It might be that they are finding something weird to eat during the day. Some weeds can give their milk an off taste.

Have you checked your hay?? Good alfalfa should be soft, green, and flakey. No mold and it should smell fresh.

You can also come over to for advice.

good luck!

NinjaSaphira said...

it depends. it might be from what you feed them to how you milk them.

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Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Today, Ed fed all the milk goats some alfafa about an hour before I milked them. Both of my girls had that yucky flavor in their milk. I've decided to try milking them only once a day. Ed will in the morning, and I will milk them in the early evening, followed by another feeding.