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Different Goat Breeds (+ Cute Baby Goat Videos)

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Thinking of raising goats? Here are different goat breeds to consider when trying to decide which to raise on your farm or homestead.

Ever since we began looking for a house and land for our homestead we discussed the types of animals we would raise.

Goats usually fall into one of three categories (sometimes they’ll fall into more than one category too if they’re a crossbreed):

  1. Meat
  2. Fiber
  3. Dairy

Your decision to raise goats usually would align with one specific breed type.

If you’re raising for meat, you’re going to be processing them for meat and not keeping them around to raise babies for milk.

The same goes for a dairy goat or fiber goat.

Different Goat Breeds to Consider By Type

Let’s dig into the different goat breeds and what the process for choosing a goat breed might look like for you and your operation.

There are a few variables we’ll take into consideration and help you figure out which breed might be best for you.

Some folks want to make their own goat milk products, but you don’t necessarily need milking goats to do that if you’re just doing it for your family. There are plenty of people who have a few different breeds or even crosses and are happy.

Ultimately, it will boil down to what you and your family’s goals are for the goats.

Process for Choosing Your Goat Breed

These might not be the best questions to ask yourself, but they’re the ones that have made the most sense to us when choosing animals (goats or otherwise).

We honestly haven’t decided if we want to have meat goats or just dairy goats. I know we can sell the kids and then keep milking the momma for milk, but I think we also want meat goats too.

For us, this means we’d either cross them OR we’d have two separate enclosures that could prevent across the fence breeding between the goat breeds. (Yes, that is a thing.)

First: How many acres do you have?

The number of goats you’re able to keep is tied to how many acres you have available. I would contact your local Ag department and ask them how many animals can be on an acre of land in your area.

Every area will be different and typically the Ag department should know that answer.

Once you know how many goats you can have per acre then it’s just easy math.

Second: Will this be for personal use or will you sell to others?

If you’re selling to others you might want to consider niching down to a specific breed. It will be more profitable that way.

So, for us, we’re doing a mix of personal and for others. Our #1 goal is to get our family as self-sufficient as we can by growing any fruits and veggies we need and raising the meats we eat.

If there is anything leftover we will sell, and this could mean we have some leftover or it could mean we don’t. I imagine we’d sell off extra bucks once we reached our buck limit.

Third: Do you want all three types or just specific breed types?

If you’re breeding for your family then this doesn’t matter. If you’re breeding for others you will have to take into consideration separate enclosures to keep crossbreeding down.

It’s way easier to keep one breed so you can just build one enclosure, but if you’re up for building more than I say have at it! You can cater to two audiences that way.

Fourth: Do you anticipate a small or large operation?

This is purely a personal choice. Some people want to big and some folks just want to be small hobby farmers.

I can imagine that most folks will want to be in the middle. Not so small time that they can’t fill their freezers or provide milk the whole year but not so large that their life becomes consumed with all the animals.

We want to be self-sufficient and we’re hoping to help others work towards that too.

Related Post: A Family of 4: Journey to Frugal Living

Goats By Type and Breed

Most goat breeds have a lot of similar “looks” but each has a specific purpose.

I’ve broken them down by their specific type so that it’s easier for you to pick through and see which one might suit your family the best.

Prepare for cuteness overload in the photos!

Meat Goats

Let’s go over the different popular goat meat breeds :).

1 Spanish Goats

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by backtoourboots (@backtoourboots) on

These goats are often referred to as “brush” goats in some areas due to their ability to be used to clear overgrown brush landscapes.

They’re a tough goat that thrives with minimal care.

2 Boer Goats

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Spring Creek Boer Goats (@springcreekboergoats) on

Most identifiable by their redhead, the Boer breed is one of the most popular in the meat industry.

They’re docile and have a high fertility rate with a fast growth rate which makes them really appealing to breeders looking to raise meat goats.

Mature does can weigh 190-230 pounds and mature bucks can weigh 200-240 pounds.

3 Kiko Goats

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Kiko goats are super hardy and can achieve substantial weight gain without supplemental feeding.

This makes them desirable as the cost to feed will be less than other breeds.

4 Mytonic Goats

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Also known as the Tennessee Fainting Goat, this breed is super muscular.

They have been found to have 6-10% more usable meat than any other meat goat.

Fiber Goats

These two are the most popular fiber goat breeds.

1 Cashmere Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ironically, the Cashmere goat is not a “breed” but they are a type. This type has been bred specifically for their luxurious coat.

You’re looking for a goat that displays both the cashmere fiber and the guard hairs. An average adult buck should yield approximately 2.5 pounds of fleece per year.

2 Angora Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Colleen McCoole Payne (@reverieflowerfarm) on

Angora goats produce a fleece that is highly sought after for a variety of reasons. Their fleece is turned into what’s called Mohair and is used by knitters and horsemen alike.

These goats can be raised in hot or cold climates and are pretty hardy creatures, but they do not have much parasite resistance. Meaning, they do better in dry or open-range conditions.

Dairy Goats

These goat breeds make great dairy goats and will provide you with lots of milk.

1 Alpine Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by M E G ? DIY + Mini Farm (@threeacredreams) on

This breed originated in the Alps and was brought to the States from France.

Their size and milk production development is stressed over the color patterns. They can come in a variety of colors but the fawn, grey, brown and black are typical.

2 LaMancha Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You might notice something interesting about this breed… they have tiny ears, which is a unique characteristic to them.

These animals can endure a great deal of hardship and still produce good amounts of milk (not that this would be ideal at all).

Another unique thing about them is that they can be milked for two years without being freshened.

3 Nigerian Dwarf Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Nigerian Dwarf does can be should be bred once per year for maximum health and longevity. And, they can often have three and four kids per breeding.

Another unique thing about the bucks of this breed is that they can be used to service does as young as three months old. But, we’re not advocating using a 3-month-old buck to be used for breeding. We would suggest 6 months at least.

While they’re great for dairy, they’re also great for young children to show in 4-H or the FFA.

4 Nubian Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Nubian is easily identifiable by their long ears and their head is convex shaped.

These goats are well adapted to extreme heat and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats.

On top of this, their milk fat is really high at five percent or more.

5 Saanen Goat

 

 
 
 
 
 
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These heavy milk producers usually yield three to four percent milk fat and are easy to spot as they’re all white or cream-colored.

They are sensitive to heat, though, and do well in cooler, shaded conditions.

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