British Columbia

No kidding! Newborns blamed for shortage of goat milk

There's a shortage of certified organic goat milk for human consumption because one of B.C.'s main farms is in the middle of a baby goat boom.

Baby goats get doe milk before any of it can be used to make cheese or processed for humans to drink

When the herd is having kids, it can be tough to keep up with the demand for goat milk products at Farm House Natural Cheeses. (Farm House Natural Cheeses/Facebook )

The herd of goats on a Fraser Valley farm is kidding, but the farmer isn't when it comes to a recent shortage of certified organic goat milk.

An explosion of newborn goats or "kids" has put a dent in the production line at Farm House Natural Cheeses in Agassiz, B.C.

The kids get first access to doe milk before any of it can be used to make products for human consumption, said Farm House office manager Dana Dinn.

"We have a few times a year where the goats are kidding and then we're short on cheese and milk, so the goats can be with their babies," said Dinn. 

Retail shelves empty 

Certified organic goat milk is a popular item with customers at Pomme Natural Grocery according to staff at the store's Port Coquitlam, B.C. outlet. 

"They're very happy that the goats are having babies, but they're sad that their product is not here," said Pomme grocery manager Karen Picco. 

Pomme sells about 70 litres a week of certified organic goat milk said Picco. 

A sign on an empty cooler in the store tells shoppers they're out of luck. 

The sign on the fridge at Pomme Natural Market in Port Coquitlam. (Steve Mercier)

Close to human milk

Certified organic goat milk is popular for a variety reasons say those who produce and sell it. 

It's lower in lactose than cow's milk and has been shown to be easier to digest. 

"Goat milk is structurally very close to human milk," said Dinn. 

"A lot of mothers will feed it to their babies as a substitute if they're having trouble breastfeeding or they don't want to switch them to formula." 

Meanwhile, the recent batch of goat babies at Farm House is almost old enough to wean from their mothers. 

Excess goat milk is slowly becoming available again. 

It's still a tricky situation, said Dinn, to decide whether to bottle it or use it to make cheese. 

"Who are we going to disappoint? The cheese lovers or the customers who really love our milk?" she said. 

The first order in several weeks of certified organic goat milk arrived at Pomme Natural Grocery on Wednesday morning.

The 18 litres were sold out by noon, said Picco.   


Belle Puri


Belle Puri is a veteran journalist who has won awards for her reporting in a variety of fields. Belle contributes to CBC Vancouver's Impact Team, where she investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community.