goat breeds we love

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Choosing Your Goat Breeds

Goats are one of the most popular animals to have on a homestead. They are smaller than cows and have far less overhead, yet provide dairy products, meat, and are even a fiber animal, just like sheep. Different breeds of goats are more ideal than others, depending on what you need them for. We’ve created a list of the best, most common goat breeds available for your homestead. 

Add Goats to the rest of your Homestead Animals. Learn More here! 

Best Dairy Goat – Oberhasli / Saneen

oberhasli goatOberhasli Goat for High Butter Fat Milk

Size Category: Medium
Height: 28” to 35”
Weight: Does are roughly 130 pounds
Appearance: Easily recognized by their black face, belly, and legs. They also have a black stripe down their back. The bulk of their body is a reddish bay to light brown color.
Hair: Short
Breeding Season: Fall to Winter
Breeding Frequency: Gestation lasts for 148-156 days
Kid Size: Between four and eight pounds at birth
Months in Milk: Not more than 10 months
Daily Milk Production: up to 1.5 gallons
Butter Fat Percentage: Between 3.5% and 4% – ideal for ice cream
Temperament: Quiet and Docile

Notes: Their smaller size and temperament make them a good choice for smaller homesteads. They may not do well in wet climates. This is a goat and child-friendly breed that will get along with everyone else on your homestead.

saneen goatSaneen Goat for Low Butter Fat Milk

Size Category: Medium – Large
Height: About 33”
Weight: Does roughly 150 pounds
Appearance: Saneen goats are all white or cream and delicate looking; they tend to be leggier than other breeds of goats. Does and Bucks both have beards and are otherwise a fairly average-looking goat. Ears are straight, upright, and pointed slightly forward.
Hair: White, glossy and short
Breeding Season: Fall to Winter
Breeding Frequency: They should not be bred before 9 months and will carry for 150 days.
Kid Size: Between six and eight pounds at birth
Days in Milk: 250
Daily Milk Production: Up to 1.5 gallons
Butter Fat Percentage: 3.3% – ideal for drinking cheese
Temperament: Docile and Friendly

Notes: Their pale coat makes them prone to sunburn; they do better in cooler climates and tend to be hardy and disease resistant. 

Best Meat Goat

kiko goat best meat breedBreed Name: Kiko

Size Category: Medium height, heavyweight
Height: 17”-25”
Weight: Does are 100-150 pounds; Bucks 250-300 pounds
Appearance: The Kiko is best identified by blood test rather than appearance as the breed has no actual standard. However, in general, they are white with gently twisted horns.
Breeding Season: Year-round
Breeding Frequency: Gestation is 155 days; they frequently birth multiples
Kid Size: 4-8 pounds at birth
Months in Milk: 5 months
Temperament: Highly independent; does not need nor seek human interaction.

Notes: New Zealand breed with hardiness and parasite resistance. An exceptional meat goat with excellent maternal instinct. On par with the Boer, exceeding it only be sheer size. 

Best Fiber Goat

pygora goat best fiber breedGoat Breed: Pygora

Size Category: Small
Height: 18” to 23”
Weight: Does are 65-80 pounds; Bucks are 75-90 pounds
Appearance: They look similar to a sheep with a thick, soft coat. This thick goat means they must be regularly sheered or brushed depending on the coat classification.
Hair: Thick, soft, and silky
Breeding Season: Spring and Fall
Breeding Frequency: Gestation is 145 – 153 days; twins are very common
Kid Size: About 5 pounds at birth
Can be Dual Purpose: Yes, the Pygora can be used for dairy
Fiber Quality: Lofty, soft. It comes in three types: A: Angora Mohair; B: Cashgora, C: Cashmere
Temperament: Alert and friendly but docile and easy to handle

Notes: This hybrid goat will live for 12-15 years, consequently providing high-quality fiber that will not coarsen as they age. Kiddings should only be done once a year, as any more breeding after that can reduce the fiber quality.

Best Family Goat/ Best All-Purpose 

lamancha goat best family breedGoat Breed: Lamancha/ Mini Lamancha

Size Category: Small
Height: 25”-30”
Weight: Up to 130 pounds
Appearance: Straight face with one of two ear types: Gopher which is about an inch long with a tip turned either up or down, or Elf, which is a maximum of two inches turned up or down at the end.
Hair: Medium to Long coat
Breeding Season: Fall to Winter
Breeding Frequency: Gestation is 155 days, and twins or triplets are common
Kid Size: 6-8 pounds at birth
Daily Milk Production: Up to 1 Gallon
Months in Milk: Up to 24 months
Temperament: Very Docile

Notes: The Lamancha loves people and is a great family pet goat, so they are very patient with children. They thrive in most climates and are a great multipurpose goat with great dairy ability and brush control.

Best Breeder 

boer goat best breeder goatGoat Breed: Boer

Size Category: Medium – Large
Height: 17”-25”
Weight: Does 190-230 pounds; Bucks 200-340 pounds
Appearance: A short and stocky-looking goat with a broad chest and thick legs. Ears are roughly the size of the head and droop down to give a silly, goofy look.
Hair: Short, brown, and white coat
Breeding Season: Year-Round
Breeding Frequency: 150 days, multiple breedings in a year are common
Kid Size: Kids are 6-12 pounds at birth
Frequent Multiples: First birth is usually a single, but multiples are very, very common after that
Months in Milk: Up to 5
Daily Milk Production: up to ½ Gallon
Butter Fat Percentage: 5% or Higher
Temperament: Docile, curious but timid if not exposed to people young

Notes: We named the Boer the best breeder because of their superior mothering instinct. Otherwise, this is a great meat goat though less hardy than other popular meat options. Boer’s can also be used for dairy but will only produce milk for about 5 months. They are very long-lived, with does living up to 20 years.

Best Goat for Working

alpine goat best working breedGoat Breed: Alpine

Size Category: Medium-Large
Height: 30”- 32”
Weight: Roughly 135 pounds
Appearance: Coat can have many colors; they are best recognized by their tall ears and straight nose.
Hair: Short
Breeding Season: Fall to Winter
Breeding Frequency: Gestation is 150 days with frequent twins
Kid Size: 6-8 pounds at birth
Temperament: Curious and independent; will bully other goats; however, the Alpine still needs companions.

Notes: Choosing an Alpine for work around your homestead is different than choosing one for meat or dairy, or other purposes. They are great pack goats, but you want to be sure you’re getting an Alpine with a body built for work. Most importantly, don’t choose a leggy Alpine goat – they are too delicate for the work of climbing and carrying.

Treat your goats right! This means giving them access to comfortable shade while they’re out grazing with a ShelterLogic Shelter.
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