So, you have decided to take the plunge and get a few goats!
When we first decided to get goats, I thought it would be so easy. I mean, a goat is a goat, right?! Ok, so I quickly discovered that is NOT the case. There are a lot of factors to take into account when thinking about what kind of goats to get.
Here’s 3 factors to help you decide what breed of goat to get:
1) Why? – There are 3 main groups of goats. Meat goats like Boers, Pygmy’s and Kikos. Dairy goats like Nigerian Dwarves, Saanens, and Alpines. And hair goats like Angora and Cashmere. So, why are you getting a goat? Will it be a pet only? Will you want a product from your goat? Answering that question will help you narrow down your possible breed list.
2) Size – goats come in all different sizes. Smaller (mini) breeds like Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf can have a height range of 17 – 23 inches. Bigger (normal/standard) breeds like Alpine and Kiko and have height ranges of anywhere from 30 – 40 inches. So, if you have space constraints or just want a smaller goat, you may want to look at a mini breed like Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf. There are also “mini” dairy goats that are a cross of Nigerian Dwarf and Alpine or Saneen that will result in smaller kids.
3) Production – if you are getting a dairy goat, you will likely want to look at milk production to help make your decision. The standard size breeds can produce upwards of a gallon a day in milk while smaller breeds like Nigerian Dwarf average more like a quart a day. However, keep in mind, Nigerian Dwarfs also usually have a much higher butterfat content which makes their milk taste more like cows milk. Similarly, if you are getting a meat goat, Pygmys being a miniature breed will obviously produce much less meat than that of a Kiko which is a standard sized goat.