A milkmaid at the Kostroma Moose Farm in Kostroma Oblast, Russia prepares to milk a moose
Collecting moose milk at Kostroma Moose Farm in Russia

Moose milk, also known as elk milk, refers to milk produced by moose (Alces alces). Though it is most commonly consumed by moose calves, its production has also been commercialised in Russia, Sweden and Canada.

Nutritional content

Moose milk is high in butterfat (10%) and solids (21.5%), according to data collected on Russian moose; research into American moose milk is in a less advanced state than in Russia, but appears to indicate that American moose have even higher concentrations of solids in their milk.[1] Moose lactate between June and August; conditional on a good supply of high-quality forage, nutrient and fat concentrations in the milk typically increase during the first twenty-five days of lactation, which are considered the peak period; nutrients, fat, and mineral element concentrations decrease for the remainder of the lactation period.[2] However, compared to cow milk, moose milk still has much higher levels of aluminium, iron, selenium, and zinc.[3]

Farming and sale

Moose milk is commercially farmed in Russia; one sanitorium, the Ivan Susanin Sanitorium, even serves moose milk to residents in the belief that it helps them recover from disease or manage chronic illness more effectively.[4] Some Russian researchers have recommended that moose milk could be used for the prevention of gastroenterological diseases in children, due to its lysozyme activity.[5] The Elk House (Älgens Hus) farm in Bjurholm, Sweden, run by Christer and Ulla Johansson is believed to be the world's only producer of moose cheese. It has three milk-producing moose, whose milk yields roughly 300 kilograms of cheese per year; the cheese sells for about US$1,000 per kilogram.[6] A disturbed moose cow's milk dries up, so it can take up to 2 hours of milking in silence to get the full 2 litre yield.[7] Russian moose researcher Alexander Minaev had also previously tried to make moose cheese, but he stated that, due to the milk's high protein content, the cheese became hard far too quickly. He was not aware of any attempts to make moose ice cream.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Geist, Valerius (1998), Deer of the World: Their Evolution Behaviour and Ecology, Stackpole Books, p. 157, ISBN 0-8117-0496-3
  2. ^ Chalyshev, Aleksandr V.; Badlo, Larisa P. (January 2002). "Nutrient composition of milk from domesticated taiga moose during the lactation period" (PDF). Alces. Supplement 2: 41–44. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Franzmann, Albert W.; Flynn, Arthur; Arneson, Paul D. (April 1976). "Moose milk and hair element levels and relationships". Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 12 (2): 202–207. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-12.2.202. PMID 933310. S2CID 37773358.
  4. ^ Grocott, Jeff (24 December 1994), "Elk's Milk: Good for What Ails You", The Moscow Times, retrieved 2007-08-27
  5. ^ Dorofeĭchuk VG, Kelekeeva MM, Makarova IB, Tolkacheva NI (1987), "[Protective properties of moose's milk and perspectives of its use in pediatric gastroenterology]", Vopr Pitan (in Russian) (5): 33–5, PMID 3439068.
  6. ^ "Moose milk makes for unusual cheese", The Globe and Mail, 26 June 2004, archived from the original on 7 January 2008, retrieved 2007-08-27
  7. ^ Nobel, Carmen (2009-07-08). "Moody Moose Make $420 Cheese: Big Spender". theStreet.com. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  8. ^ "Moose Milking", National Public Radio, 28 June 2003, retrieved 2007-08-27