The Toggenburg dairy goat breed. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Dear Daktari, I am an ardent follower and like your succinct articles. For a long time, I have never entertained the thought of drinking goat milk. But last year I bought a diary Galla goat mainly for my wife and children’s milk. Last month out of curiosity I tried a sip of it and I have loved the taste, it settled well in my stomach and I am never going back to cow milk.

Wakasala William, Bungoma County

A negative attitude – but goat milk is the best

Thanks, William, I love the bit that it settled well in your stomach. I decipher you meant it did not give the discomfort that we sometimes get from cow milk, which a number of people have allergies commonly referred to as lactose intolerance and is characterized by gas, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, abdomen swelling and comes after 30 minutes following milk ingestion.

Let me start by saying that years back I also had a similar attitude, I did not just have a liking for goat milk, I had of course read and heard the nice things that had been said about goat milk. Nonetheless, that negative attitude persisted, until one day I tasted goat milk and I have never looked back; I went on to drink camel milk and it too satiated me well. If you have never tried camel milk please consider treating yourself to these delicacies.

Goat milk is superior to cow milk

It is a scientific fact that goat milk is more nutritious than cow milk. Goat milk has more Vitamins, A, B, and C, calcium, iron, chlorine and phosphorous compared to cow milk. Its health benefits are many, goat milk has very low cholesterol levels making it good for your cardiovascular system. In addition, goat milk is tastier and does not have as many allergens – goat milk does not result in allergies.

Research has shown that keeping dairy goats alongside cows improves the health of children as people prefer to sell cow milk and remain with goat milk.

These good things can be said of goat meat, we are heading to the Christmas festive season and I can tell that a majority of Kenyans prefer goat meat.

Goats are easy to rear

In addition to the above advantages that goat milk has over cow milk, there are advantages that goat rearing will also give to the farmer. First goats are easy and affordable to keep, one can start goat farming with just a little money but with guaranteed returns. You do not need a lot of space - About ten goats can be reared in a space that will be taken up by a single cow. You can work out the mathematics by yourself here and tell which enterprise will give you better prices. You may not need a farm hand and this will help you save on costs. Goats are relatively safe for children and even the farmer and can therefore be handled by children and women without fear of injuries.

Goats do not eat much and have a variety of vegetation on their menu – with the current prolonged drought situations in the country maybe we need to seriously think about small stock and of course the goat.

Goats reproduce fast and have a higher twining capacity; this means you can grow your farming business very fast.

(Dr. Othieno is a vet surgeon and the head of communications at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kenya. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of FAO but his own)

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