In the Redwall books written by Brian Jacques, where do the creatures get milk from?

All of the characters are small creatures ranging from shrews and mice to otters, badgers, and wildcats. Nothing as big as a cow is mentioned. The cooks of Redwall Abbey often serve cheese or meadow cream, but they do not keep cows or goats.

  • 1
    This always really bothered me as well. There is a horse mentioned in the original book, and it has an (apparently person-sized) cart hitched to it. I hoped that would be explained and it never was. Apr 28, 2013 at 5:04

4 Answers 4


Brian Jacques answered this question in an online discussion with his fans:

Q: What is greensap milk?

BJ: If you squeeze a green plant you can extract sap. Thus, greensap milk.


Q: If Redwallers are mainly vegetarian, eating no animal products other than fish, then how is it possible for them to create cheese or custards without the aid of dairy products which would come from animals other than the latter?

BJ: Green sap milk is my solution. The sap of many plants can be used to make vegetarian versions of milk, cream, butter and cheese.


All Mammals produce milk, so a cow would not strictly be required.

That aside - My impression at the time was that the story occurred in a human inhabited world, they were just over there a bit. Similar to Watership Down by Richard Adams, but without the intrusion into the story line. In my memory there were multiple human built buildings that had roles in the story, so running over to a farm to pick-up milk and cheese is no more difficult then us running to the store.

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    Humans & human influence seemed to be phased out in the later books
    – evilsoup
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:13
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    See also plant milk.
    – BESW
    May 26, 2013 at 17:14
  • Interesting, but unfortunately incorrect.
    – Valorum
    May 30, 2015 at 15:38

As BESW linked, plant milk is available in a variety of types and flavors. A plant cream is also obtainable by thickening plant milks. This is often done by adding a vegetable oil - see here for an oat cream recipe. I would expect a plant-based cream to be the 'meadow cream' referenced in the Red Wall series, perhaps using a plant milk thickened with nut butter and sweetened with honey.


Personally, I think Jaqcues originally intended to set the Redwall series in the real world like Watership Down, but after the first book, he decided to put it in it's own special universe. The only reference to the existence of humans is in the first book where Methuselah reads the recent rat activity out of the archives which reference cows and other human things. I think the milk is derived from other milk producing animals because cows do not exist in the Redwall universe.

  • Nice addition of the mention of Methuselah. Otherwise, I was going to comment that you're basically replicating what's in the answers above.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 11, 2015 at 12:21

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