Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

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My Raw Butter Comparison: Jersey vs. Guernsey

I have two local sources for grass-fed raw cow's cream.  One friend has a Guernsey cow, the other friends get Jersey milk from a local Real Food farmer.  We don't drink cow's milk, but adore and devour butter (because we're doing GAPS, the gut healing protocol, we only consume our goat milk in the form of naturally fermented yogurt...I love the villi starter from Cultures for Health).  I've been making raw butter with the cream for a while now, but it only occurred to me recently to compare my results with the two creams.  What I found was interesting, so I thought I'd share.

If you read about the differences between the Guernsey and Jersey breeds, you will see that Jersey's are known for their slightly higher butterfat content.  Guernsey milk, however, is higher in beta carotene, evidenced by its brighter golden color.  To my palette, which is fairly sensitive, the milks/creams are nearly indistinguishable.  I have read (see books below) that all unadulterated, grass-fed milks of cows, goats and sheep will taste pretty much the same (sweet and fresh, yum), and at this time, I concur.  Our browse-fed goats' milk tastes just as sweet and creamy as the grass-fed Jersey and Guernsey milks.

[Side trail:  The "goaty" flavor people say they don't like about goat milk products is the result of two things.  First, keeping a buck on the premises near the milking does taints the milk through the pheromone/hormone activity.  Second, goat's milk is naturally homogenized, making it oh-so-creamy, but when kept for more than a couple days, the fat will develop a "goaty" smell/flavor.  So, don't keep bucks, and don't keep your goat milk for more than two days before consuming or turning it into yogurt.  I have never had goaty milk; even after converting the milk into yogurt, it has not developed a goaty fragrance or taste.]

OK, back to butter.  I have done this experiment twice, with very similar results.  Drumroll, please......

I used the same amount of cream: 1/2 gallon.  I only measured the buttermilk from the initial pour off; I didn't weigh any of the "washing" liquid that removed the rest of the buttermilk from the butter.  See photos below for more details.  When I made the Jersey cream into butter, I ended up with more butter and less buttermilk than with the G cream.  The Guernsey cream produced less butter and more buttermilk than did the J cream.  The Guernsey butter is slightly more yellow.  I compared the final weights of the butters in bowls weighing the same and taring my scale.  The final photo is a comparison of the butters to some Kerrygold pasteurized butter.  The color variations are difficult to see in the photos, I apologize.  I can assure you that the Guernsey was a bit more yellow, not a lot, and both Jersey and Guernsey butters out-yellowed the Kerrygold.

Jersey butter and buttermilk

Jersey buttermilk at just over 20 oz.
Guernsey butter and buttermilk
Guernsey buttermilk at just over 24 oz.
Weighing Jersey butter: 14.3 oz.
Weighing Guernsey butter: 9.10 oz.

Color comparison. Top: Jersey, Left: Guernsey, Right: Kerrygold

So, for what it's worth, there's my little raw butter comparison experiment.  Of course, results will vary depending on your cream source and that cow's diet, the time of year, and other factors of which I'm probably ignorant, LOL.  In the end, I love all grass-fed raw butter and am thankful for the cream with which I make it.  I like testing out my own questions, like, "Does Jersey cream really give more butter than other breeds?"  In my analysis, the answer is yes.  Perfect "science?"  Probably not.  Do I care?  No.  Was it fun?  Absolutely!  I was able to question and compare, and we enjoyed eating the test subjects!  Try for yourself if you can.  

For more info on dairy breeds, butter making and homesteading, check out:


We're Kidding Over Here!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled post to bring you good tidings of goat birth!  Yes, the first baby of spring arrived this evening.  I was literally typing my "Traveling GAPS" post when I heard my hubby call, "Get out here, I see feet!"  I got to play goat midwife, and believe me, I earned my stripes tonight.  Allow me to spin the saga.  

We have two pregnant does this spring to add to our tiny little milking herd (the only other member is our current milking doe, so it is a small band).  Our first experience with goat birth came last spring when Keely had her babies, becoming our first milking doe.  Her birth (sorry, kidding is the farming term...but I still think in terms of human birth...and all this farm stuff is still quite new to me) was so easy, so "textbook," so uneventful; we just enjoyed the cuteness of our first baby goats.

Tonight's birth was not so smooth.  Piper did not display normal signs of imminent birth today, but she showed enough discomfort, loss of appetite and mucus activity that we knew birth would happen this weekend.  Her contractions were abnormal, however, so I was taken off guard when I heard that baby was coming.  I was excited and not anticipating problems, but I'm glad I brushed up on my goat kidding literature earlier today.  

So when I heard hubby's call, I sent out a prayer for wisdom, pulled on my muck boots and ran to the goat pen.  I knew as soon as I saw Piper and the barely emerging kid that something was amiss.  Now, I'm absolutely NOT a goat kidding expert.  But I read multiple sources on prepping for the event last year, and I'm no stranger to midwifery in general.  The basics of birth are fundamentally the same, of course, but dealing with the pregnant/birthing mama in the animal kingdom is a far cry from the human ladies.  The biggest difficulty is that I don't speak goat...and she doesn't speak English (a fact that apparently skipped my mind as I was telling her to push.  LOL!).

The problem I encountered when I arrived on the scene was a breech posterior kid and a mama who was not pushing.  She was barely contracting.  I knew when I saw the hooves pointing the "wrong" way that we had a potential disaster on our hands.  In normal anterior position, the kid is coming out front feet and face first, body right side up.  In breech posterior position, kid is upside down and backwards.  Various malpresentations exist, some more detrimental than this, but our situation required action.  I remembered reading about how to pull the kid out of mama if baby is presenting posteriorly, how to do a manual check to verify said position, how kids are stronger than you think so pulling them out isn't as damaging as you imagine, and that time was of the essence because the kid could perish if left too long in that position.  I knew that I needed to pull that baby out, which goes against my natural instincts as a noninterventionist.  But when lives are on the line, it's good to know what to do.  It was time for appropriate intervention.

The difficulty was that Piper wouldn't push!  According to my reading, the birthing assistant pulls the kid gently but firmly downward and outward while the mama pushes.  In this case, mama wasn't helping.  Baby was stuck inside in the wrong position, and this goat midwife went into adrenaline overload.  So I begin pulling the baby, remembering "time is of the essence," and all the while I'm saying to the goat, "Push, Piper, Push!!"  And my husband's saying, "Get aggressive, be firm...pull that baby out."  And the little hooves were slippery and my heart's pounding in my ears, and I'm praying, "Please Lord, don't let this baby be dead," as my children are standing there eagerly watching what was supposed to be a blessed event.

Suddenly, after what felt like a herculean tug, out popped baby goat!  Limp baby goat...ah, oh...oh, dear...  And then I switched into command midwife mode and within seconds I had my eldest son handing me the bulb syringe and helping to pull mucus and amniotic sac out of nose and mouth, and.....finally, we're laughing.  Thank you, God, baby goat is sneezing and breathing.  Mama began her nurturing attentions and immediately began licking the mucus away, and the baby was squirming and mewing and all was well.

But, goats usually birth multiple kids.  And subsequent kids generally come on the heels (yes, yes, pun intended) of their siblings.  In Piper's case, nothing was happening.  We waited ten minutes.  I began to worry, based on having observed her not push and barely contract.  How many more kids are in there?  If she is experiencing labor dystocia, will she even be able to birth the other kid?  I began to have visions of dead baby goats and a septic, dying mama and wailing children.  I did the only thing I knew to do.  I went in for a manual check to see if another kid was in the canal.  Nothing.  I attempted to palpate her belly to feel for more kids...that was slightly comical.  Ah, how easy human birth is in comparison.  When you palpate a woman's belly you can actually feel baby.  Not so with a barrel-bellied goat.  I tried jiggling upward and side to side to see if a baby inside would bounce against the walls.  I felt nothing and Piper was quite displeased, to say the least.  It wasn't a very telling sign of anything.

We played the waiting game for 30 minutes, using the time to get baby goat on mama's teat, a crucial aspect to baby's survival.  My children were tired and hungry and we decided there was nothing more we could do, so I went inside to get a friend's emergency vet recommendation (just in case...although not a holistic option) and to start dinner.  Five minutes into onion dicing, I hear hubby calling, "I see a placenta!"  Ah, music to my ears.  Passing the placenta means the kidding is over...no more babies.  So instead of my dramatic imaginings of impending doom, we merely experienced an abnormal singleton birth.  What a relief!  Piper did the normal, natural thing and made a snack of her placenta, the final stage in kidding.  [I'm sure this practice in the animal realm has multiple instinctual purposes, but I know that for both humans and animals, ingesting the placenta is a boon for postpartum hormonal recovery.  It made a big difference for me with baby number three...no PPD.  Two thumbs up for encapsulated placenta, ladies!]

As I write this, mama and baby are doing fine.  Baby Calico is walking and suckling and Mama Piper seems content with her newfound motherhood.  Hopefully both will pass well through the night and the next few weeks, during which we will enjoy another episode of goat birth...Bambi is due next week.

OK, thanks for allowing me to share my drama.  Now that the adrenaline rush has subsided, I realize I fully enjoyed my work as goat midwife tonight.  Maybe Bambi will have a breech presentation!  Ah, just kidding!!!

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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