A great goat breeds directory for beginners! Get the best goat breed for your homestead and you’ll be set for years. Milk goats, meat goats and dual purposed goats are all compared in the following easy-to-use guide.
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There are many things a goat can provide your family. Figure out exactly what you want from your goat and you'll be better prepared to choose a breed. Some reasons you might get goats are for:
No matter what you’re in the market for, there’s a goat that fits your category.
(Except maybe a few traits all goats have in common like being stubborn on occasion, or possibly nibbling on your cloths. :-) )
I’m summing goat breeds into four basic categories. Most goats will fall into one if not more of the following groups. If you find a breed that falls into two of the categories below we call these dual purposed breeds.
Often times no the holistic homestead, we are looking for animals that will meet not just one but several of our needs. For example, if I can buy a goat breed that’s good for milk AND meat, or meat AND fiber, I’m getting more for my money and time than if I were to have two separate herds to meet my needs.
The other way you can bridge this problem, is to get two breeds and mix them.
For example, I like the milk goat breeds that we own (Nubian and Saanen/La Mancha mixes). We will raise and eat their offspring and we love meat. However, they are kinda small and we aren’t able to harvest much off of them.
One way we could get more meat would be to get a big meat goat to breed with our milking does. Then we can keep lots of milk coming in and have the potential of more meat on the offspring we raise. We could even add a meat goat doe to the mix and then we’ll have some full-blooded meat goats in our herd as well.
Known as the Holstein of the dairy goats, Saanens are arguably the highest producing milk goat.
Their milk fat content is about 3-4% and they give an average of 2,500 pounds (about 312.5 gallons) in 305 days.
If Saanens are the Holsteins of the cow world, than you might compare Nubians to Jerseys — a tad less milk that's creamier and tastier.
Milk fat content is about 5%. On average they give 1,795 pounds (about 224 gallons) in 305 days. However, their are some higher producing individuals which can give a fair amount more than the average.
The oddest thing about this goat is it looks as if it has no ears! There's no mistaking a LaMancha.
The average butterfat content is 4.2%. They give an average of 2,231 pounds (about 279 gallons) of milk.
This breed developed in the Alps (hence it's name) and was imported into the United States in 1920.
The average fat content is 3.2%. They give an average of 2,439 pounds (305 gallons) of milk a year.
These are the oldest registered breed in the world dating back to the 1600s. They arrived in the US in 1893 and have always been a popular breed.
Their milk is 3% butterfat. They produce and average of 2,302 pounds (about 288 gallons) of milk a year.
This breed is known for its friendly demeanor and a great milk supply. They originated in Switzerland and are now one of the top dairy goat breeds in the United States.
The average butterfat content is 3.7%. They produce an average of 2,208 pounds (about 276 gallons) of milk a year.
Although once considered a novelty, these dwarf goats actually make great milkers. Many in this breed have teats that are just as large as full size goats and are just as easy to milk.
The average milk production is about a quart a day (over a 305-day lactation).
Note: Make sure if you want on for milk that you purchase from a breeder who is raising milkers. Nigerian Dwarfs that are bred for pet very well may not make good milkers.
This breed is big and muscular. Males can grow up to 300 pounds and are one of the most popular meat breeds. A quality meat breed choice.
Originally bred in Spain, these goats made their way to Mexico and from there they came into the US. This is a low maintenance breed. They became more popular for meat more recently in the 1980s.
Another common goat breed raised for meat. 90% of goat meat raised comes from this breed. These goats are commonly found in the location they originated in, Australia. They do well in dry locations and are a low maintenance choice.
Sometimes called the Kalahari Red this breed can mostly be found in South Africa and are therefore very able to withstand hot and dry weather conditions. They are a hardy breed when it comes to parasites and diseases that are often found in that area.
The meat is said to be more tender and is also more lean than other goat meats.
This is a new breed created in the 1980s in New Zealand. They were bred to be a more adaptable, hardy meat goat. They are very low maintenance and can survive most conditions. They weigh more, are good mothers (and milk producers), and have lean meat.
Also listed above with the milk goats, this is a larger breed which doubles nicely as a meat goat.
The males can weigh up to 175 pounds. Sometimes this is bred with a bore for even larger goats (AKA more meat).
Also known as "fainting goat" this breed will fall over and look paralyzed for a few seconds and for this reason many like to keep them as pets.
However, Myotonics are a great meat breed and were primarily used for this purpose in the past.
The Myotonic goat is friendly and easy to manage. They are a smaller meat breed growing about 25 inches tall with a weight around 174 pounds.
Meat and their coat (which the farmers sell) are the most valuable parts of this breed as it does not produce much milk. They are good breeders and can give birth twice and year to 2-3 kids. They do well feeding on natural resources.
Named after the location they originated from in Turkey, these goats have become popular recently. They are raised primarily for their quality mohair, but also they make good meat goats.
This breed has become valued for its high quality fibers and the large amounts they produce.
This goat is a good dual purposed breed and can be raised for both fibers and milk. They are small to medium in size and can come in many colors.
Funny to watch, these goats fall over and freeze up for a few seconds if you startle them. This breed doubles as a great meat goat.
This is a common miniature breed that many raise as a pet. They're cute and tiny. :-)
Have fun picking out your best goat breeds! :-)