Pros and Cons of Cow, Sheep, and Goat Milk

Posted by Stacey Venzel

Which milk is best for you? Goat, sheep, or cow?

Rice, soy, hemp, coconut, and almond milk are trending these days, but home-on-the-range, animal milk is 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 milk you drink.


Cow's Milk


+Highest amount of Vitamin D and selenium

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

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


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

-Common allergies

-Common intolerance to high amount of lactose

-Least nutritious of the three

-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:


+Highest in vitamins A, K, E, and 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

Did you learn something new about the milk 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. While sheep's milk is the most nutritious, sheep are the most difficult to pin down for milking purposes.

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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Pros and Cons of Cow, Sheep, and Goat Milk