IN some societies, seeing someone milking a goat is a taboo; whoever does so is regarded poor, if not a reject. Some people do not believe that it is normal to drink goat milk. Goat milk is only taken in extreme cases where a mother has died and has left behind a baby.
Goats are known for their meat, but not milk. One of the misconceptions on goat milk is that it has a peculiar â€œgoatyâ€ smell. But this is because of the presence of the buck (male) goat, whose scent glands are rather smelly and may indeed lead to the â€œgoatyâ€ milk people object to if it is present at milking time.
The powerful odour from the male can be avoided. It is advisable that dairy goats are kept separate from the male. Once this is done, goatâ€™s milk produced in the absence of a buck should bear no objectionable odour.
Today, goat milk is slowly making inroads in mainstream dairy production. In fact, I have seen goat milk in powder form on the shelves of various supermarkets meant for babies between zero to six months. Truth is, goat milk has been consumed for ages, especially in mountainous, areas of the Rwenzoris and around Mt. Elgon among the Bagisu.
Research shows that human bodies are not designed to digest cows milk or goat milk; they are meant to consume breast milk for the first several months, and then move on to other foods. This is because of the human digestive system failing to produce the enzymes necessary for digesting lactose, the sugar-like fat in animal milk, a common case with people whose tummies â€˜cannot tolerate milkâ€™.
It must be pointed out that dairy products are a good source of protein; but are also high in fat, acid â€“ and mucus â€“ forming and difficult for many to digest.
Cow milk products are believed to contribute to the increasingly early onset of puberty, as well as adult fertility problems. And sensitivity to milk products may be related to asthma, congestion, inflammation, digestive illness and acidity.
Milk upsets the acidity in the body and boosts mucus production, contributing to inflammation and congestion. Milk products are also thought to support harmful bacteria in the body, such as candida.
Those with a cold, sore throat or skin breakouts may find an improvement in their health by avoiding milk and milk products, and asthmatics, in particular, can benefit from avoiding milk products entirely.
Research findings indicate that there are several advantages to avoiding cow milk in favour of goat milk. The nutrient content of goat milk is slightly less than cow milk, goat milk is more digestible and nourishing because the fats in goat milk are a fifth the size of those from cow milk, making it easily tolerated by those with stubborn digestive systems.
Also goat milk has no cream because of less fat content. Goat milk is tolerated by people with damaged liver because of the smaller fat content and it is naturally homogenized.
Goat milk contains a more highly evolved cholesterol than cow milk, making it more available for absorption to the brain and the body (cholesterol is essential to the health of â€œwhiter matterâ€ of the brain nerves and is essential in the formation of bile acid).
Goat milk is low on carbohydrates. The inability to digest lactose is a common human condition, and milk with less lactose; this time goatâ€™s milk, is helpful to lactose-intolerant individuals.
Goat milk is closer to human milk in composition and more easily acceptable by babies or those in poor health. Goat milk has an alkaline reaction, the same as motherâ€™s milk, whereas cowâ€™s milk has an acidic reaction.
Goat milk contains more chlorine and fluorine than any other domestic livestock. Chlorine and fluorine are natural germicides and fluorine assists in preventing diabetes.
Also, goat milk is better tolerated by the asthmatic and those with allergies.
The human body is known to absorb goatâ€™s milk protein at a much faster rate than cowâ€™s milk protein.
Goat milk has the ability to sweeten the intestinal tract and assist with constipation abnormalities.
Goat milk contains a higher evolved carotene (pro-vitamin A), which has been found to have cancer preventing properties.
Goats are immune to diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), and its milk is used to actually cure TB because of its inherent TB antibodies.
Importantly, goats can survive on less pasture than cows. Goats are also suitable for hilly, rocky areas.
The poorest of the poor find it easier to keep dairy goats more than dairy cattle because a goat will occupy a smaller area and produce enough milk for the average family. A good dairy goat produces about four litres of milk per day. Dairy goat rearing is growing in popularity and it is regarded as a â€œpoor manâ€™s cowâ€.
Since 2006, Send A Cow Uganda has been promoting and distributing dairy goats to selected groups of the active poor such as widows, HIV/AIDS affected and infected persons, orphaned and vulnerable children across the programme. Available feedback is gradually demystifying goatsâ€™ milk due to registered positive improvement in the nutritional levels and health standards.
In fact, in some communities in Kyotera and Buwambo in Wakiso District, goatâ€™s milk is regarded highly as having some â€œmedicinalâ€™ properties for HIV/AIDS, which, however, has not been ascertained scientifically. But can be attributed to the highly digestible and nourishing qualities of goat milk, in addition to its germ-killing properties against opportunistic secondary bacterial infections.
Dr. James Ssematimba,
a veterinary specialist at Send A Cow Uganda