Our goat’s milk has a small ring of red coloring at the bottom of the jar. What is this? Is the milk safe to drink?
Answer: This red ring at the bottom of your milk jars is almost certainly blood. It comes from the slight bursting of one of the very small blood vessels (capillaries) supplying the alveolar tissues in the udder. Although not uncommon, you may go a long time before you notice this happening to one of your milking animals. Usually it occurs when the cow, goat, or sheep is recently fresh (calved, kidded, or lambed). The presence of edema can cause a blood capillary to rupture. It can also occur when the animal bangs her udder against something.There are also some types of mastitis that are accompanied with blood in the milk. However, if there is no swelling or inflammation associated with the event, or if you see no clotting or visible abnormalities (such as watery-ness) in the milk, you can probably rule mastitis out.In three to four days, you will probably notice that the blood is gone and the capillary is healed. You can find which goat is affected by not co-mingling the milk from a milking.I would not recommend drinking milk with blood in it, even if you are pasteurizing it. You can give it to some goat kids if they are not weaned. Your cats or dogs will enjoy the treat, too. Shy of this, you can always pour it on your garden plot. Milk is great for the soil.I would also take the goat’s rectal temperature. A healthy goat’s body temperature should be in the range of 101.5 to 102.5 degrees. If the milk from your goat does not clear up in three to four days, I would recommend calling your veterinarian out to examine the goat. Make sure you monitor the udder each milking for any inflammation, as well as her general appearance and behavior. If she loses her appetite, call your vet immediately. The ATTRA website has many publications on sheep and goat farming. Check out the Livestock and Pasture section at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/livestock/.