Pros and Cons of Cow, Sheep and Goat Milk

When it comes to dairy products, which milk is best for you? Goat milk, sheep milk or cow milk? Rice, soy, hemp, coconut and almond milk are trending these days, but home-on-the-range, animal milk is still all the rage. There is raw and organic, pasteurized and non-pasteurized, whole and skim, but on the farm, milk is milk.

Cow, sheep, and goat milk have different benefits but also some drawbacks that should be noted.

If you're a dairy drinker, here's the skinny on the different types of milk you drink.

Cow's Milk


+Highest amount of Vitamin D and selenium

+Different varieties (skim/fat-free, 1 percent, 2 percent, whole)

+Cream separates from the liquid (coffee creamer anyone?)


-Harder to digest due to bigger fat globules (two hours to digest)

-Minimal vitamin C

-Allergenic and can contribute to common allergies

-Common intolerance to high amount of lactose (lactose intolerance)

-Least nutritious of the three types of milk

-Slightly acidic

Sheep's Milk


+Most nutritious of the three


+Cheap and efficient (sheep only eat grass)

+Easiest to digest because of small fat and protein molecules

+Less acidic than cow's milk


-Difficult to milk because easily spooked

-Less per capita production than cow's milk due to small size

Goat's Milk:


+Higher levels of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, and vitamin B6

+Easier to digest because of small protein molecules (30 minutes to digest)

+Most tryptophan, an essential amino acid

+Lots of calcium

+Closest structure to human milk

+Best choice for lactose-intolerant people (least amount of lactose)

+Slightly alkaline


-Has an atypical musky, sweet and salty milk taste

-Less per capita production than cow's milk due to small size

-Highest number of calories

-Strong odor

Choosing the Right Milk for You

Did you learn something new about the milk products you drink?

To answer the question of which milk is best would have to be based on a case-by-case basis. However, it does appear that cow's milk has the least health benefits in comparison with the other two milk types. While sheep's milk is the most nutritious, sheep are the most difficult to pin down for milking purposes.

In some cases, a certain type of milk may not agree with your immune system. If you have a milk allergy, you may experience bloating and other digestive symptoms. While the digestibility of one type of milk might not agree with you, you may be able to tolerate a different milk type. If you have significant dairy allergies, then going dairy-free with a soy or almond milk is probably the safest bet.

If you don't love drinking milk, you can still enjoy these products in different forms. Yoghurt, feta cheese, milk yogurt, goat cheese, ice cream, sheep cheese and other delicious products are made from these types of milk.

All mammals produce milk. While cow, sheep and goat milk are the most well-known in developing countries, other farms are milking more exotic livestock. Camel milk, anyone?

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