Choosing Your Goats

A guide to help you make a wise decision for your farm or homestead. First decide what your goals are: pet, breeding, dairy, meat or all of the above. Terminology helps a lot in understanding on what you are looking at when purchasing.
๐˜ฟ๐™ค๐™š, ๐™—๐™ช๐™˜๐™  ๐™ค๐™ง ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง? ๐™’๐™๐™–๐™ฉ? So you hear or read these terms and maybe you don’t know what they mean. A doe is a female goat a doe kid is a young female sometimes referred to as a doeling. Buck means an intact male a buck kid is a young intact male often referred to as a buckling. Wether refers to a neutered male.

๐™Š๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™ข๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™—๐™š ๐™–๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ง๐™š ๐™ค๐™› ๐™–๐™ง๐™š;

Sire: father
Dam: mother
Yearling: kid under 1 year
First Freshener (FF): doe who kidded for the first time
Polled: naturally horness
Disbudded: horn buds killed before growing
Dry doe: doe who has freshened who is no longer in milk. Or a โ€œdry yearlingโ€ referring to a doe who is 1 year old who has not yet freshened.

๐˜ฟ๐™ค๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™œ๐™ค๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™—๐™š ๐™ง๐™š๐™œ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ค๐™™ ๐™ฆ๐™ช๐™–๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ? Absolutely not. There are many quality unregistered goats and many poor quality registered. But on average your chances are much better to get a sound goat that will function as you desire especially for breeding, milking etc. if registered. Registered allows you to know the parents and lineage of the goat as well as adds value to the animalโ€™s progeny (future kids). FYI Nigerian Dwarf goats MUST come from 2 registered parents to be registered. And if not, there is NO chance for future kids to be registered. So, if you think you may want registered in the future BUY registered and save yourself the frustration.
๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜€? All breeds. Honestly you can make a pet of any goat. Especially one that is a wether. Be sure to consider the size the kid will grow to when choosing which one is best suited for you. ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜†? There are many dairy breeds in the USA we have, Saanen, Nubian, Alpine, Toggenberg, Oberhasli, Lamancha and the miniature dairy goat Nigerian Dwarf. There are also many crosses of these breeds who make fantastic milk goats for your homestead or farm needs. If your goals are large amounts of tasty milk you will want a Nubian or Lamancha. ND can be great producers but the average one will give you a quart when milked twice a day at peak.

๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜?
Boer, kiko, fainting(myotonic), Spanish, Savannah and pygmy.
Your choice will depend how you desire to manage them. Savannah and Kiko do better on pasture vs boer. There are a lot of successful herds with a boer x kiko mix herd so donโ€™t shy away from crosses if meat is your end goal. Pygmy goats while categorized under a meat breed are not used as a meat source here in the USA.

What should you look for?
This is a loaded question but let’s start with some basics.
If you plan to breed your goats you will want your goat to stand correctly. This means the legs are sound, not turning outward or the hocks in the rear turning inward.
You want the goat to have an uphill stance, meaning the front end is higher than the back end (kids grow wonky at times so check out the parents to see how they look). A goat with proper structure will have less issues as it carries a pregnancy and as it ages. A good breeder will be able to point out a goatโ€™s faults so donโ€™t be afraid to ask! Knowing what you are getting will greatly help your breeding program.
Check the teats for dairy goats they should have 2. Some meat goat breeds can have 4.

If the structure is less then desirable for breeding then the goat may be available for pet homes. As a responsible breeder I love having pet homes for does who shouldn’t be bred for some reason or another or wethers who are not going to make the best herd sire. Remember this is a guide and not a complete list of information about the breeds listed here. Research and discussion with other breeders will help you narrow down what animals will be the right fit for your needs.

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