Sheep milk smells like sheep

Ridgetop

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Handling is paramount. My goat milk goes into a freezer within minutes of going into the jars -- I always use glass.
This is absolutely right! Milk stored in plastic can take on the flavor of other food or surrounding. Always store milk in glass and chill immediately. Absolute cleanliness of udder, pail, strainer, etc. also will help taste of milk. Is the milk clean? Straining the milk is imperative. Immediate chilling is best accomplish using glass containers which conduct cold more efficiently. Place the glass container of milk in an ice water bath to chill. You can use quart canning jars and an ice chest with ice and water to accomplish this easily.

One question - did you taste taste the milk when you bought your milking ewes? If you plan to use the milk for the house it is usually a good idea to taste the milk before buying the dairy animal since not all milk tastes alike.

Also milk can take on the taste of any strange foods that the sheep may eat. If your sheep are pasture fed, check the pasture to see if they are eating any strong flavored grasses or weeds. Wild onion or garlic can flavor the milk, as can sagebrush, etc. Check the grain mixture you are giving. If you are adding any feed that is unusual (some people like to experiment with homeopathic herbs, etc.) check that flavor since it can come through in the milk.

Here is another suggestion - do not mix the milk from all the ewes together. Taste test each ewe's milk separately after chilling. Some individual animals have better or milder flavored milk than others. If you find that one ewe in particular has sheepy milk, then you can isolate her milk or sell her. Likewise, if you find that one ewe has very palatable milk for your wife's taste, keep that ewe's milk for the house.

If you still have sheep flavored milk, I suggest you shear around the hind quarters, particularly the belly, udder area, and into the vulva/rectum. Be aware that if the ewes are carrying heavy fleeces, they are also carrying heavy lanolin since that collects in the wool. You might try shearing twice a year or more depending on your climate. The wool from milking sheep may not be of as much value as a fine wool breed so if you are not using it yourself, shearing the milkers additional times to control the amount of lanolin in their wool may help.

Also in goats, at least, some breeds have different tasting milk than others. Toggenburgs have very sharp tasting milk with a distinct flavor (yucky) that makes very good sharp cheese. Other breeds have much milder flavored milk. Our Nubians had the best milk (yummy) and since we fed alfalfa and dairy cattle feed, it tasted like very rich cow's milk. Our LaMancha milk was very similar to Nubian while the Alpine breeds had a goatier? flavor more approaching the Togg milk. We also only drank the night milking in the am, and the am milking at night, with everything else being used for cooking or raising calves or kids after pasteurizing. We also drank our milk raw.

Remember too that the level of butterfat in milk varies from animal to animal and breed to breed. This extra butterfat can also affect the taste compared to store bought milk since commercial milk usually has most of the butterfat removed. Cream brings more money so it is removed at the creamery to use separately for cream, butter, ice cream, etc. All these things can change the taste of the milk.

Hope this will give you some ideas to help.
 

mystang89

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Thanks everyone. I always wash my ewes udders with dawn dish soap before milking them but I suppose I need to be more diligent in that. Probably wouldn't hurt to cut off some of the wool around the underside as well. The milking tubes and cups get washed everyday right after milking. The milk goes into a glass jar but I've never really stained it since nothing else falls in. Suppose I'll start doing that as well. The hat goes into a refrigerator but typically not until after all the sheep are done being milked, put out to pasture and the ducks are done, along with gardening chores. I suppose I'll change that as well. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully next year we'll get done lambs and I'll be trying these out.
 

Nao57

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I also don't have sheep, but apparently the reason for not a lot of sheep being milked in the US is that we predominantly drink cow milk and sheep don't typically produce as much milk as goats do, so if someone wants something other than cow milk they go to goat milk.

Wool sheep are apparently a problem to milk as the lanolin can make the milk smell or taste sheepy (as this thread shows) and it is harder to keep the udder clean in a wool sheep. Most people if they are going to get hair sheep for milk would rather just get goats since you won't get wool either way and you get more milk from the goat.
So you could do hair sheep to avoid the smell? And that would work?

Maybe we would have to make a list of which breeds would have good tasting milk and which wouldn't?

I think this sounds interesting to me. And fun.

Thank you for teaching me.
 
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Nao57

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Every goat milk/meat/cheese I have ever tried tastes and smells like fur to me. Maybe this is why! However, I tried some Manchego cheese made with sheep's milk this week and it tastes fine. Store bought, but maybe the farmer/manufacturer is very careful.
I get that people wouldn't want to drink liquid fur.

But goat's milk products smell bad to me. (Although I don't know what others think.)
 

Nao57

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Thanks everyone. I always wash my ewes udders with dawn dish soap before milking them but I suppose I need to be more diligent in that. Probably wouldn't hurt to cut off some of the wool around the underside as well. The milking tubes and cups get washed everyday right after milking. The milk goes into a glass jar but I've never really stained it since nothing else falls in. Suppose I'll start doing that as well. The hat goes into a refrigerator but typically not until after all the sheep are done being milked, put out to pasture and the ducks are done, along with gardening chores. I suppose I'll change that as well. Thanks for the tips. Hopefully next year we'll get done lambs and I'll be trying these out.

I wonder if there's a quick way of doing a quick rinse with like a hose sprayer? (Although you probably couldn't do this in winter.)

What do you think?

It would be interesting to hash out how to help you have a quick way of rinsing them well.

And if you strain it, will that nullify the ability to get cream from it? (You can't make butter without cream. So this means maybe what you were doing with not straining isn't bad. Maybe you meant to do good.)

And I guess some types of cheeses made from the stuff might be better unstrained too?
 

Mini Horses

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My milk goes from udder to jar via tube so I don't strain. I'm thinking cut the wool and chill faster should show some fast improvement for you. I've heard many say they use a cooler with ice water at barn if several to milk. Definitely chill before other chores!

Also, I don't mix from several does. But, partly because volume is enough to fill the jars. It would allow you to identify if one had different taste/smell.

Curious, how much do you average per ewe at a milk? Some of the dairy bred give a good amount.

My goat does are from heavy milking lines and good taste. Next year will be one when I will have a couple does to offer for sale as actively "in milk" and milking! Of course, that will mean tooooo much milk happening while waiting for a buyer. May be only year I do it. :lol: But the CL listings are reporting fast sales for those I see and check for such.
 

Kusanar

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So you could do hair sheep to avoid the smell? And that would work?

Maybe we would have to make a list of which breeds would have good tasting milk and which wouldn't?

I think this sounds interesting to me. And fun.

Thank you for teaching me.
Hair sheep don't produce lanolin or at least not nearly as much as wool sheep. So that would be eliminated. I know with goats, if you have a buck in rut the milk will smell like stinky buck goat, not sure if that is an issue with rams or not but I have heard that they can get stinky during breeding season as well so I would be careful about that.
 

Nao57

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Is there any possibility that dish soap residue is getting in the milk? If so, I would think that would add to the problem.
If you are worried about that you could probably compare and look up the chemical ingredients and compare them with stuff in baby soap products (which should have less residue).

Then you could make some adjustments on that.
 
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Baymule

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Dawn dishwashing liquid is some nasty stuff. I have chemical sensitivities and if I even get a whiff of Dawn, I have a reaction to it. If I get Dawn on my skin, I can taste it in my mouth. The only dishwashing liquid I can use is Palmolive original. Dawn is the worst.
 
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