Sheep Milk FAQs

sheep milk faqs

Taste and Comparison

Sheep milk has a mildly sweet, and creamy flavour. It is richer and creamier than cow’s milk, but it tastes very similar. It doesn’t have that gamey goat milk taste many people expect.

Yes, sheep milk can be used exactly as you’d use any other milk type – in drinks, on cereal, in baking, and drinking straight.

We have a collection of sheep milk recipes you might like to try!

Whether sheep’s milk is better than cow’s milk depends on individual preferences and dietary considerations.

What we firmly believe is that sheep’s milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk based on its nutritional benefits and the environmentally friendly way it can be produced.

milk splash

Lactose and Dairy Intolerance

Yes, sheep milk is considered a dairy product as is any milk that comes from mammals.

Some people find sheep milk easier to digest than cow’s milk due to its different protein and fat composition.

Published research suggests that consuming A2 protein milk, such as sheep milk, instead of A1 protein milk may help ease digestive discomfort.

Learn more about sheep milk’s benefits for gut health and dairy intolerances here.

Yes, sheep milk does contain lactose.

It’s worth mentioning that a 2020 study on 59 New Zealand women found that lactose malabsorption and digestive discomfort associated with lactose-containing milks was improved when consuming milk that only contained A2 β-casein (like sheep milk does).

So, while sheep milk does contain lactose, it may still be an option worth trying for those who believe they are lactose intolerant. 

If you have a dairy intolerance, you may want to explore alternatives like sheep milk. People with lactose intolerance may tolerate sheep milk better than cow’s milk, but individual tolerance can vary.

If you have a clinically diagnosed intolerance, please speak with your doctor or dietician about its suitability for you first.

While allergic reactions to sheep milk are rare, they can occur, and individuals with diagnosed dairy/cow milk protein allergies should exercise caution when consuming it. Again, always consult your doctor.

All information provided on this website is informational and is not intended to replace the advice of your medical professional!

happy gut

Nutritional Benefits

Sheep milk offers potential health benefits such as being rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which can support bone health and boost the immune system.

Learn more about sheep milk’s nutritional benefits in our blog.

The total fat content in sheep milk is typically higher than that in cow’s milk and goat’s milk, making it creamier.

In our article on the fat content of sheep milk, we dive into how it actually  contains more “healthy” medium-chain fatty acids that are easier to digest, and a type of omega-6 which can be beneficial to our overall health.

Sheep milk can be suitable for babies in the same way that cow’s milk is, but it’s essential to consult with a paediatrician before introducing it to an infant’s diet to ensure it meets their specific nutritional needs.

Safety and Processing

Sheep milk is safe to drink, but like any food product, it should be handled and stored properly to ensure safety. We follow strict New Zealand food safety codes and standards to ensure our milk is of the best quality.

Jones Family Farm’s sheep milk is pasteurized (heat treated), which helps eliminate harmful bacteria while preserving its nutritional qualities.

Typically, properly refrigerated sheep milk has a shelf life similar cow’s (12-14 days), while products like cheese have a longer shelf life of 6+ months.

Sheep milk is processed into various products through methods including pasteurization and ageing to create foods such as cheese and yoghurt.

Jones Family Farm factory making sheep milk cheese

Yes, both casein and whey are proteins commonly found in all animal milks.

Like all animal milk, sheep milk naturally contains hormones, but our milk does not contain any added hormones or antibiotics.

In fact, New Zealand maintains one of the world’s lowest antibiotic usage rates in farmed animals!

Our country’s outdoor farming style helps minimise infection, and there are stringent regulations permitting antibiotic use solely for animal health under veterinary supervision. All usage is documented and treated animals withheld from the market for specified durations.

Additionally, New Zealand imposes strict controls on hormonal growth promotants. Even though they are permitted for use in beef cattle under very strict conditions, they haven’t been used in New Zealand since 2016!

(Sources: Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries: 1, 2)

Availability and Sustainability

Check out our online store or visit Our Stockists and Farmers Markets pages to find our products near you!

Our 1.5L sheep milk pouches are crafted from soft, recyclable plastic. In partnership with Future Post, we ensure these pouches are responsibly recycled right here in New Zealand.

Learn more about our milk pouch recycling here.

Farming livestock plays a significant role in New Zealand’s primary industry and food production systems.

Sheep are, generally speaking, more environmentally friendly due to their lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced land and water requirements, and more negligible impact on biodiversity and habitats.

We cover this topic in detail here.

Future Post Plastic-to-Post.

Milking Sheep

All sheep are capable of producing milk however, as with cows, there are specific breeds of sheep that are better for milk production.

The East Friesian is the most common milking sheep worldwide, New Zealand included.

Other breeds that can be used for milking include Lacaune, Manech tête Rousse, Poll Dorset, Border Leicester, and Coopworth, amongst others.

Jones Family Farm milks a special breed of sheep. You can learn more about our Strathclyde flock on Sheep Milk NZ’s website here.

While sheep produce less milk on a liquid litre basis than cows do, sheep milk has a much higher milks solids content. Sheep milk has a yield of 18-25% cheese versus cow milk’s yield of 9-10%.

Based on worldwide figures, an East Friesian produces an average of 130 litres of milk per ewe, per year. In New Zealand, average production results in 57 kg of milk solids per ewe, per year.

East Friesians aren’t the best suited breed for the South Island’s climate though, so Jones Family Farm uses Strathclyde stock, specifically bred for our area while producing lots of delicious milk. 

Our Strathclyde’s also currently produce an average of 62 kg of milk solids per ewe, per year; almost 10% more than the New Zealand average!

You can learn more about our Strathclyde flock on Sheep Milk NZ’s website here.

milking sheep

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