Hey there! Are you considering raising goats on your small farm? If so, you’re in for a treat! Goats are some of the most versatile animals out there, and they can be raised for profit by producing milk, meat, and fiber, clearing out lands, or even as pets. But with so many goat breeds, deciding which one is right for you can be tough.
We’ve put together this article to explore the most popular goat breeds for various purposes. So let’s dive in and find the perfect goat breed for your farm!
Comparing the Most Popular Goat Breeds
|Goat Breed||Purpose||Physical Characteristics||Traits|
|Boer||Meat||Large and muscular with a white body and brown head||Docile and fast-growing|
|Kiko||Meat||Lean and muscular with a variety of coat colors||Hardy and adaptable|
|Nubian||Dairy||Long, floppy ears and a Roman nose with a variety of coat colors||Affectionate and vocal|
|Saanen||Dairy||Large with a white coat and erect ears||Gentle and high milk producers|
|Alpine||Dairy||Medium-sized with a variety of coat colors and erect ears||Energetic and high milk producers|
|Angora||Fiber||Long, curly hair in a variety of colors||Docile and friendly, requires regular shearing|
1. Boer Goats
Boer goats are the most popular meat goat breed in the United States. They are large, heavily muscled goats that rapidly gain weight and bulk up. Boer goats are docile and quiet, making them easy to handle. They have medium-sized pendulous ears and white bodies with dark reddish-brown heads.
In my experience, Boer goats are also very hardy and adaptable, making them an excellent choice for beginners. One thing to keep in mind when raising Boer goats is their size, as they can weigh up to 300 pounds when fully grown.
2. Kiko Goats
Kiko goats are a newer breed that originated in New Zealand. They are hardy, disease-resistant goats that are well-suited for meat production. Kiko goats have long, twisted horns and a white or cream-colored coat. They are known for their excellent maternal instincts and ability to thrive in harsh environments.
What I love about Kiko goats is their ability to thrive in harsh environments, such as rocky terrain and high altitudes. They also have a high resistance to parasites, a major advantage when raising goats.
3. Nubian Goats
Nubian goats are incredibly popular because of their high-butterfat milk. Nubian milk is creamy and rich, with an average butterfat content exceeding every other breed except the Nigerian Dwarf. They have long, floppy ears and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Nubian goats are known for their friendly personalities and are often used in petting zoos, which makes them great for families with children. One thing to keep in mind when raising Nubian goats is their need for plenty of water and shade, as they are sensitive to heat.
4. Saanen Goats
Saanen goats are hailed as the Queen of Milk because they’re the most productive dairy goat breed. Their milk is lower in fat than other breeds, making it less creamy, but they produce more milk overall. However, they require a lot of feed and good nutrition to maintain their high milk production.
Saanen goats are a medium to large breed with short, white hair and erect ears. They are docile and easy to handle, making them a good choice for novice goat owners.
5. Alpine Goats
Alpine goats are also known as French Alpine goats. They derive from the French Alps and are a medium to large breed. Alpine goats produce 1 – 2 gallons of milk per day, with an average amount of fat in the milk of 3.5%, which is high. They are known for their hardiness and adaptability to a variety of environments.
In my experience, Alpine goats are also very playful and energetic, which makes them fun to watch in the pasture. However, they require regular grooming to keep their coats clean and healthy.
6. Angora Goats
Angora goats are the most common breed of fiber goats. They are raised for their mohair, a luxurious fiber used to make high-end textiles. Angora goats have long, curly hair and come in a variety of colors. Angora goats have a unique characteristic called “corkscrew curls,” which means their fiber grows in a spiral or coiled pattern.
They are docile and friendly but require regular shearing to maintain their coat. Did you know that Angora goats are susceptible to overheating and can die from heatstroke, which makes them ideal for cooler climates?
Whether you’re raising goats for meat, dairy, or fiber, goat farming can be a rewarding and profitable venture. You can enjoy the benefits of owning these charming and useful animals by choosing the right breed and providing proper care and management.
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.