Introduction

  • Sheep and goat milk are a healthy dairy alternative, even if your physical condition is not compromised. They are rich in fats and minerals, and the (very favourable) facts regarding the nutrition value of this milk can be found on websites mentioned in this chapter.
  • The milk can be processed to make cheese, butter, ice cream and other dairy products.
  • This is a niche market.

Local business environment

Expert advice about the regulations governing safe milk production can be obtained from the Dairy Standard Agency (details under “Role players” heading).

The advantages of goat milk are laid in several role player websites (see “Role players” heading). Elmarie van Aswegen from Ovis Angelica sets out the case for dairy sheep:

  • Sheep are a triple purpose species, yielding wool, mutton and milk.
  • You can keep up to four times as many sheep per hectare as cattle, and they reproduce faster than other species
  • Cattle take a long time to produce saleable offspring. Most goat breeds are seasonal breeders and will kid only once a year. But sheep can reproduce up to three times in two years. Milk sheep are prolific breeders.
  • The SA Milk Sheep has a lactation period of six months (other sheep – three months)
  • The SA Milk Sheep gives up to four litres a day
  • The wool is strong – 30 micron
  • The ewes are productive: twins and triplets are the norm. Maternal instincts are excellent.
  • The carcass quality of slaughter lambs is very good and has a good spreading of fat. The sheep are relatively big, ewes weighing 70 – 75 kg.

Role players

Find the complete member list at www.milkgoats.co.za. Some of these are listed below. Please note that the “Dairy processing” page in the Adding value section includes some role players relevant to the goat and sheep milk industry.

 

Associations and standards

  • Dairy Standard Agency www.dairystandard.co.za
  • SA Milch Goat Breeders’ Society www.milkgoats.co.za Find the notes on goat’s milk on the website
  • SA Milk Sheep Breeder’s Club Tel: 051 713 7091 / 082 412 3787
  • SA Stud Book and Animal Improvement Association www.studbook.co.za The SA Milk Sheep (a cross between East Friesan and three indigenous breeds) is registered with SA Studbook.

 

Training and research

 

Inputs

See also the “Dairy (cattle)” and “Dairy processing” pages.

 

Some producers

 

 

Websites and publications

Also refer to the “Dairy processing” page in the Adding Value section.

Find the general goat publications on the “Meat goats” page. General sheep publications can be found on the “Mutton – sheep” one.

 

Some articles

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