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milk sensitivities & horned cows?

 
Edward Murphy
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Someday I'd like to have a homestead with a cow or a couple of goats - partly because dairy products seem to be important in my diet.  I'm thinking that a cow might be more chill to look after than a goat (less of an escape artist), and I like what Rudolf Steiner says about cows.

Trouble is, I really don't do well with cow milk that I get from the store - pasteurized organic cow milk.  And I'm following a diet that says goat milk = okay but cow milk = bad.

I've heard a theory that biodynamic milk - meaning, from cows that still have their horns on them - often causes no problems for people who don't do well with what we modern people call "regular milk".  What I would like is either to a) test this theory for myself (but I don't know how I would do this), or b) hear from actual people who have tried biodynamic milk, hear from people who had milk sensitivities and find out whether they had any problem drinking milk from cows with horns?

I've tried raw milk in the past, but I can't remember if it was absolutely trouble free for me or not.  And I'm curious about the cow horn factor - some people say removing the horns affects the chemical properties of the milk.

Thanks in advance for any comments or personal testimonies, really appreciate it!
 
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I can't see how removing a cow's horns would change the chemical composition of the milk it produces.
 
Edward Murphy
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Su Ba wrote:I can't see how removing a cow's horns would change the chemical composition of the milk it produces.


Well, the theory is that horns are not there just as an accident, or to fight off predators, but they also serve other functions in the cow's physiology.  It's like if we took pregnant human mothers, and did something unpleasant to their bodies - would they (and their milk) be affected by it in ways that might not be obvious to most of us modern people?  Hard to say, speaking personally.

Anyway I certainly do not mean to insult anyone with hornless cows or start a debate.  I really just want to stealthily track down a bit of concrete evidence to help me evaluate if I can consume dairy products if I get a horned cow someday.  Actually, people should feel free to respond by private message if this is some sort of controversial topic or something.  I'm new to all this. 
 
Casie Becker
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You might also find the information in this thread http://www.permies.com/t/55943/cattle/critters/ relevant to your issues.

If I understand it correctly, some cattle produce proteins like those in goat and human milk that are easily digested.Other's (including the most common commercial dairy breeds) produce the proteins that are often the cause of milk issues. It's apparently a genetic rather than diet or environmental issue for the cows. So by knowing the genes of your dairy cow, you can select one with more digestible milk.
 
R Ranson
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I don't know much about cow horns, but with sheep and goats, their horns are their major temperature control.  Massive amounts of blood pump through the horns to cool them off in the summer.  My personal experiences are that goats and sheep with their horns intact are generally healthier, and therefore give nicer milk.  Maybe this is the basis behind the biodynamic approach?

People remove the horns for lots (of good) reasons.  The biggest concern is safety.  See the size of a cow!  See the size of a person!  Imagine angry or belligerent cow.  Have you ever seen the damage they can do to a tractor?  I have enough trouble with my sheep, some of which are twice my weight (and I have small sheep).  It took about three years to learn how I should act to keep my sheep safe around humans.  Learning how to act around livestock that are larger and stronger than you will go a long way towards keeping the animal safe.  I say 'keeping the animal safe' because any animal that harms a human is in the freezer by the end of the day.  If I don't train my animals to act well around humans, than it's my fault that the animal dies.  Just remember, if an animal attacks or kills a human, in many parts of the world, the farmer is responsible, even if the human was trespassing.  I firmly believe that animal behaviour problems are a result of human behaviour problems - train the human to behave right and the animal will be safe and the horns can remain on. 


Getting back to milk.

I have major trouble digesting cows milk from the store, even organic.  One day I had non-homogenized (but still pasteurised) milk and it was wonderful to digest. 

For me, I prefer goats as farm animals, not just because of their size, but because they don't escape much.  My goats can get out of their pasture if they are unhappy, but they choose to stay in it for some reason.  They only leave if they are frightened - then they come running to their human and ask to be let back into their pasture as quickly as possible.   The other thing I like about goats is that they don't produce so much milk as cows.  Another thing I like is that they can keep in milk for 5 years or more between breeding.  I think a cow needs to freshen every year which would produce more meat than we can eat. 

I'm curious to learn more about biodynamic.  I didn't realize it also included animals.  I thought it was just plants.  Very interesting. 
 
Edward Murphy
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R Ranson wrote:I'm curious to learn more about biodynamic.  I didn't realize it also included animals.  I thought it was just plants.  Very interesting. 


Yes, apparently animals are considered essential to a biodynamic farm.  Partly because the manure is considered to be good fertilizer.  It might also be partly because Steiner felt that dairy products were good for some people to consume, and his idea of a farm is that it's nice when it's mostly self-sufficient - whatever you need to consume on the farm, it's nice if the farm itself produces all of that.

As far as belligerant animals... yes, that's definitely a big factor I'm sure, with horns, etc.  Well... I used to do martial arts, including a sword class, and one thing I noticed is that when you have a room full of people swinging wooden swords around, one possible outcome is that eveyone really PAYS ATTENTION to what they are doing, the "mindfulness" increases, and nobody gets hurt.  Another possible outcome of course is serious injury.  Which is something I almost witnessed once.

Yes, interesting comments so far, thank you everyone!
 
Kelly Smith
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Edward  -
i have never heard the term "biodynamic milk".

that said - i know that a lot of people who have problems with processed milk do MUCH better on raw milk.
i would suggest you try to find a raw milk dairy in your area and try their milk to see if you are better able to handle it. IF NOT - then i would look into finding someone that raises A2/A2 cows. (these can really be any breed of cow)
there are some people that swear by A2/A2 milk - though imo, the 'science' is far from conclusive.

for the most part dairy cows dont get to keep their horns because they work in close proximity to humans. one flick of the head can end very badly for anyone near a horned cow.

http://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/


fwiw - i milk 2 cows that have been dehorned and have only had 1 person unable to drink our milk (the poor little fella was allergic to a ton of other things too)
 
Edward Murphy
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Kelly Smith wrote:i have never heard the term "biodynamic milk".


Yeah, me neither, and that's part of my problem here with finding evidence for this theory.

Kelly Smith wrote:i know that a lot of people who have problems with processed milk do MUCH better on raw milk.


Yes, thanks for the reminder, I have access to raw cow milk in the store here where I live, so I'll definitely try that again.

Kelly Smith wrote:one flick of the head can end very badly for anyone near a horned cow.


Yep!

P.S.  sepp holzer is another one of my recent heroes, from the reading I've been doing lately, and I think I see horns on the cows in the photos in his books.  So... interesting.
 
Edward Murphy
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Casie Becker wrote:If I understand it correctly, some cattle produce proteins like those in goat and human milk that are easily digested.


Thanks for the link Casie; I'll take a careful look at that.

Yes, I used to drink raw Jersey milk, rather than Holstein.  If I got my own cow someday, I was thinking that Dexter cows seemed interesting.  More recently I've confined myself to goat milk products.  Just trying to understand what all my options are...
 
Kelly Smith
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Edward Murphy wrote:  Just trying to understand what all my options are...

raw goats milk  - goats are all "A2/A2"

raw cows milk - can be A1/A1, A1/A2 or A2/A2. can range from being 100% grass fed (rare imo) to the standard high grain conventional ration (most organic dairies feed grain) - even the "grass fed" milk in stores only requires cows to be on grass 120 days out of the year (which can be done in alaska )

processed milk - homogenized, pasteurized or ultra pasteurized. (imo this isnt really milk though)


please let me know if you find anymore info on the term "biodynamic milk" - to me it sounds more like a marketing term than anything (and i am close to a few bio dynamic veggie farms, so i am familiar with the standards )
 
Tyler Ludens
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Edward Murphy wrote:
R Ranson wrote:I'm curious to learn more about biodynamic.  I didn't realize it also included animals.  I thought it was just plants.  Very interesting. 


Yes, apparently animals are considered essential to a biodynamic farm.


There might be some confusion with Biointensive, which is usually vegan.

 
R Ranson
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Edward Murphy wrote:
R Ranson wrote:I'm curious to learn more about biodynamic.  I didn't realize it also included animals.  I thought it was just plants.  Very interesting. 


Yes, apparently animals are considered essential to a biodynamic farm.


There might be some confusion with Biointensive, which is usually vegan.



Thanks Tyler.  Yep, that's why I was confused. 
 
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Here are the byodynamic standards including milk . These standards are usually called Demeter .
Here in France you can buy lots of stuff made by these folks including honey and wine and milk
http://www.demeter-usa.org/downloads/Demeter-Processing-Standards.pdf
I am always a bit in two minds about this as they sell some great stuff and Steiner had some good ideas  about being organic and the welfare for animals particularly cows and bees . Then again he claimed to be given these ideas by his spirit guide and  promoted eugenics and the superiority of western folk with pale skins that I am not so keen on .
 
Edward Murphy
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R Ranson wrote:For me, I prefer goats as farm animals, not just because of their size, but because they don't escape much.  My goats can get out of their pasture if they are unhappy, but they choose to stay in it for some reason.


Yes, interesting.  I would be curious to know how big a space your goats have, what breed, and how many.  Sounds like happy ladies.

I've heard this about other ruminants - that as long as they have good food and feel safe, they have no reason to jump over low fences, a lot of the time, depending on what kind of animals it is.

(edited for brevity and to stay on topic)
 
Edward Murphy
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David Livingston wrote:Here are the byodynamic standards including milk.


Thank you sir.

I don't know enough about Steiner to comment on the issues you raised.  I just know that some of the stuff he says about farming sounds pretty good to me. 
 
R Ranson
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Edward Murphy wrote:
R Ranson wrote:For me, I prefer goats as farm animals, not just because of their size, but because they don't escape much.  My goats can get out of their pasture if they are unhappy, but they choose to stay in it for some reason.


Yes, interesting.  I would be curious to know how big a space your goats have, what breed, and how many.  Sounds like happy ladies.

I've heard this about other ruminants - that as long as they have good food and feel safe, they have no reason to jump over low fences, a lot of the time, depending on what kind of animals it is.

(edited for brevity and to stay on topic)


How big is it?  I'm not really sure.  About 5 times bigger than the book said I needed, about half the size I would like it to be.  Sometimes they go to other pastures, depending on what there is to eat and the weather.  It's about the same size as my kitchen garden. 

My theory is that animals like boundries.  They like to have a place that is theirs (usually their shelter, but sometimes they choose under a specific tree or some other place), and a place they can go, and then a human space that they only go when they need a human.  I don't know any of my animals that cannot get out of their pasture if they so choose.  We have a huge game fence around the property so they can't get on the road or go walkabouts.  If I keep them feeling secure, including sticking to a schedule that matches the sun (not the clock), keep them with enough to entertain them, then they stay where they are put unless an external stimulus drives them out.  If that happens, I put them somewhere else. 

My llamas and alpacas will stay in place with nothing more than a ribbon (if I keep them happy in that space).  It could be part their personality, or it could be that I try to respect them as much as possible.  I don't know why I am so blessed with livestock that (mostly) stay where I ask them. 

Goats need less space, less food and seem to be better at eating a variety of forage than (my understanding of) cows.  For some people, cows work wonderfully well, but these same people seem to have stories of the destruction a cow has done to such and such big thing on their farm.  Because of that, I haven't tried cows yet.  Goats eat fruit trees, they climb fences when board.  They both have their benefits and drawbacks.  Sheep also produce milk and clothing, so they have an added bonus.  You have so many choices.
 
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R Ranson wrote:I'm curious to learn more about biodynamic.  I didn't realize it also included animals.  I thought it was just plants.  Very interesting. 


Absolutely. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer even goes so far as to declare that biodynamics is not meant to work without livestock.

Are you familiar of Sensitive Crystallization as a way to evaluate quality? Organic milk does well, biodynamic even better, but if horns have been cut off the cows, neither fares well at all -- even looks worse than conventional milk!

http://www.goetheanum.org/fileadmin/nws/text-downloads/flyerBWeng.pdf

&

http://www.forschungsinstitut.ch/sensitive-crystallization.345.0.html?&L=1#c16164

The "Biointensive" effort, initiated by John Jeavons and Alan Chadwick, shares a lot with biodynamics -- and Chadwick used the term "biodynamic" for his French Intensive Biodynamic Method -- later settling on "Biointensive" as a bit more palatable. Chadwick and Jeavons never seem to use the biodynamic preparations themselves, but I don't think they're necessary for good farming. The biodynamic preparations can improve good compost, but they can't make terrible compost into something good.
 
John Master
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almost 4 yrs ago I switched from 2% grocery store pasteurized milk, to almond milk then to raw organic grass fed whole milk right from the farm.  I drink it every day and have had about 300 gallons since then as well as using it for lots of home made dairy products like raw milk kefir.  it is amazing, I have no idea what I would do without it, it is a staple for me.  I don't think they keep the horns on their cows but I know a biodynamic farm that does.  In Wisconsin, America's dairyland, the product that has improved my health so dramatically, is essentially illegal to sell (incidental sales and farm employees only).  Hoping the capitol starts listening to its citizens and stops listening to the milk marketing board, the GMA, and the western medical establishment.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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