~Sheep have been raised for milk for 100’s of years. Mostly in countries near the Mediterranean Sea. France has nearly a million ewes in production.
~Most sheep milk is used for cheese production. The most famous sheep cheeses are Roquefort (blue cheese) and Feta.
~It takes 1/2 as much sheep milk to make cheese as it does cow or goat milk.
~Sheep milk can also be used for yogurt, ice cream, fluid milk, soap and lotions.
~Domestic sheep average about 125 pounds of milk per lactation period about 95 days.
~Dairy breeds average about 523 plus pounds of milk per lactation period.
~The most common dairy breed is the East Friesian.
~Sheep milk contains twice the calcium as cow milk.
~Unlike other kinds of milk, sheep milk can be frozen and retain its nutritional value.
~Many people that are allergic to other kinds of milk are more tolerant to sheep milk.
Sheep’s milk contains almost twice the solids of cow’s milk, as well as higher casein and fat content. Higher casein content makes rennet coagulation time for sheep’s milk shorter and the curd firmer. Sheep’s milk is richer in vitamins A, B and E, Calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium than cow’s milk. The fat globules in sheep milk are smaller than the fat globules in cow’s milk, making sheep milk easier to digest. Sheep milk has higher solids content than goat or cow milk. As a result, more cheese can be produced from a gallon of sheep milk than a gallon of goat or cow milk. Sheep milk yields 18 to 25 percent cheese, whereas goat and cow milk only yield 9 to 10 percent.
Sheep’s milk is naturally homogenized, keeps well without separating and can be stored frozen for extend periods without loss of quality. Butterfat content of sheep’s milk is 9%, cow’s butterfat range is 3 to 5%.