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Getting to know more about Goats
Goats are probably among the oldest domestic animal since the beginning of time, they provide us with meat, milk and skin hides, they are generally called the cloven-hoofed animals, they are ruminants and bear the scientific name Genus Capra. They are similar to cow and sheep who also belong to the ruminant family.
Goats have the ability to digest plant and leaves by fermenting them within their stomach which is divided into various compartments, they have the ability to chew and also regurgitate the food that has previously been swallowed. Unlike other animals that fall in the ruminant family, goats are swift wanderers, they have preference to foods that is high and a little bit out of their reach, such as fruits, tree barks and leafs instead of easily eating grasses found on the ground.
When they can’t find their preferred type of food, they will eat and graze on any plant material in sight. It is this characteristic of being able to feed on any available plant material that has enable goats to be able to adapt and survive from time immemorial till now.
Domestication and commercial breeding of goats has made modern days goat smaller than their ancestors, and with wider differences from one another in physical attributes such as color, being horned or not, drooping external organs, texture of skin etc. Although some school of thought believes that selective breeding might not be the only factor responsible for the diversity, they believe other factors such as environmental factors and change of habitat due to migration from one place to another is also responsible.
One attribute of goat which has remain the same all through the centuries is their intelligence, believe it or not, goats are believed to be more intelligent than dogs, although in modern times goats are selectively breaded to be better in meat, milk and hides (majorly for leather production) than for their intelligence. They are also breaded to survive in a particular location.
Benefits from Goat
Goat meat has a similar taste with beef, but with a wilder and stronger flavor, its fat content is not as much as that of beef and mutton (meet gotten from sheep), it also tastes dryer. The colour of goat meat is sometimes affected by its sex ( being male or female), from being light brown tobeing red to being black in colour. A goat kid , which is defined as any goat below a year in age, has a lesser flavor and is more drier but softer than the meat of adult goats.
Goat meat is an important source of protein in Asia, Africa and Middle East. It is also eaten in some areas of Latin America e.g. Brazil and Mexico, it is also very popular in Spain, Italy and Philippines. Goat meats are mostly frowned upon by most of the Americans because of the strong aroma while cooking and because goats are known to indulge in garbage and refuse eating.
In Nigeria, Goat meats contribute for a reasonable amount of our protein source, although not everybody loves eating it, but more percentage of people enjoy consuming goat meet ( the meat is popular known as ogufe, while a delicious soup prepared with goat head is called isiewu).
When talking about milk source, goat meat is not the perfect source of milk around, better sources of milk such as cow is often far preferred to milk from goat, goats lactate periodically and produce smaller amount of milk compared to cows, thereby limiting availability, in some part of middle east and South Asia goat milk serves as beverage, cheese made with goat milk are also loved in the middle east, Latin America and some areas in Europe.
In Nigeria, goat milk is seriously frowned upon, most people are convenient with dairy products from cow which is abundantly available here, this has given goat milk no chance for competition.
Goat meat is known to have the nutritional benefits of both red meat and white meat combined together. It provides almost the same amount of protein when compared with the same quantity of beef but is healthier, in the sense that it contains 80 percent less fat than beef and most of which is unsaturated. Goat meat is obvious much lower in fat than chicken breast, pork and glutton. It has 70 percent iron content more than cow meat and 200 percent iron content more than chicken. It has almost the same amount of cholesterol with these other sources of protein though.
Goat milk has high vitamin and protein content, shown to be as good enough as cow milk nutritionally when feeding badly nourished children. Still, it is the protein, fat and carbohydrate content of goat milk that made it popular as an healthy milk source. High quantities of small, medium and chained fatty acids are found in goat milk, this influences its level of being absorbed and gives it a tangy flavor, it has lower amount of casein thereby producing lesser amount of curd (clumps of protein) in the stomach, curds are hard to digest and can be uncomfortable. Goat milk also lack agglutinin, which results into fat not clumping together and not forming cream on top. Goat milk also contains slightly lower levels of lactose when compared to cow milk, this is an advantage for people who are lactose intolerant (inability to digest lactose, thereby causing discomfort of the intestine).
Although goat milk looks like a better alternative to cow milk nutrition wise, research has shown that people who are sensitive to caseins or lactoglobulins usually have adverse reactions when they consume goat milk. In summary goat milk is not a bad substitute of cow milk nutrition wise, you might start considering including as a source of your dairies.
Find below, nutritional fact of both goat milk and cow milk
|Selected nutrients in milk|
|(1 cup/244 grams)|
|Calories||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Calcium (mg)||Potassium (mg)||Vitamin A (IU)||Vitamin D (IU)||Folate (mcg)||Vitamin B-12 (mcg)|