Most farmers grow goats precisely for the purpose of obtaining tasty and healthy milk suitable for the preparation of various dairy products. Different breeds of these animals are characterized by individual productivity in terms of milk yield, therefore, in order to choose the most suitable option for yourself, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the features of the most popular dairy breeds.
The best high-yielding breeds of dairy goats
For a small private farm, a few ordinary goats will be enough, with average productivity and high unpretentiousness in terms of care, but if we are talking about a large agricultural enterprise, the amount of milk yield immediately becomes a key criterion in choosing a breed. Here are some of the most profitable examples.
They were bred in the XVIII century on Swiss farms. Among the main external features are the absence of horns, erect powerful ears. The legs are long and elastic, but in relation to them, the udder seems even more powerful. The average weight is 55–65 kg. The color of the coat is brown, but different shades are possible.The lactation period of the Toggenburg goats is 270-310 days, and during this time one individual gives 1100-1300 liters of milk, fat content of 3.6%. It is noteworthy that even in the cold season, milk yield is not reduced. The main advantage of animals of this breed is an easy and quick adaptation to any climatic conditions.
This breed comes from the Swiss Alps, where alpine wide meadows, a mild climate and long-term selection work to increase milk production rates had a great influence on its productivity indicators. Today, one goat produces about 1200 liters of milk per year, with a fat content of 4.6%.
The external characteristics of the representatives of the Saanen breed allow us to call them strong and correctly folded, and the maximum live weight of the goats reaches 120 kg.
The formation of the breed occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century, when breeders crossed the representatives of the Saanen and Russian breeds. Outwardly, these are quite standard animals, with a rather mediocre appearance, but good milk characteristics. A neat udder of small size gives about 1000 liters of milk per year, and under very good conditions of maintenance and nutrition, this figure can reach up to 1300 liters (about 4 liters of fat milk per day). Depending on the season, the duration of the lactation period averages from 250 to 320 days.
Compared with the previous ones, the milk yield of this breed is slightly less and does not exceed 1000–1100 liters per year (fat content 3.5%). In appearance, these are rather large representatives of the dairy direction, weighing 60–75 kg. A distinctive feature of animals is high fecundity (3-5 goats can be born in the second and subsequent lambing).
Motley German goat
An animal with a light brown, chocolate or dark brown color, obtained by crossing local German breeds with brown Alpine. A characteristic dark stripe runs along the ridge line, and in the lower part of the body and on the abdomen, the color of the coat can vary from light to dark fawn. The weight of animals ranges from 55–75 kg, although there are goats with a body weight of up to 100 kg. For a year, one goat is able to produce up to 1000 liters of tasty milk, with an fat content of 3.2–3.5%.Of course, this is not all representatives of the dairy direction with good milk yield, but the rest should be told taking into account the high taste qualities of their milk.
Did you know? Like humans, goats may faint, and do so often enough. However, they do not always lose consciousness, most often the legs simply fail in animals.
Which breeds have odorless milk
Many of the breeds listed below are characterized not only by high milk yield, but also by delicious milk, which has no unpleasant odor. The following goats will be the most popular in this regard:
- Czech brown. They were registered as a breed in 1970 and since then attention to them has been declining and increasing. Outwardly, these are medium-sized animals, with a body weight of 70–85 kg and smooth bends of the body. The color of the coat is black-brown, with a longitudinal black stripe on the back and a small black triangle between the ears. In a year, one goat weighing 75 kg produces up to 1000 liters of milk with a fat content of 3.5–4.5%. A characteristic feature of these animals is the creamy taste of dairy products, without a strong goat flavor.
- Nubian goats. They are considered one of the most ancient representatives of the meat and dairy direction, the history of which began hundreds of years ago. Outwardly, these animals are not similar to many of their relatives, because instead of branched horns, their heads are decorated with powerful and hanging ears on the sides. The body is graceful and even thin, the legs are long, the udder is of the correct form, proportional to the main parts of the body. A day, one goat can produce from three to five liters of healthy milk, very delicate in taste. It does not have an unpleasant goat aroma, and the percentage of fat content ranges from 4–9%.
- Megrelian goats. Representatives of this breed come from the southern Georgian regions. Among the main external features are large horns and a middle beard, the color varies from white to roan and light gray. In comparison with previous breeds, Megrelian goats are not so powerful, and the weight of one individual rarely exceeds 60 kg. A year, the goat produces up to 800 liters of tender milk, from which the world-famous varieties of cheese, feta cheese and cottage cheese are subsequently made. One of the main advantages of Megrelian goats is good vitality and high immunity.
- Cameroon goats. The first representatives of this dwarf breed appeared in the western part of the African continent, and were transferred to European territory only in the middle of the last century. Today, these animals produce about 1-2 liters of milk per day, which does not even compare with high-milk representatives of other breeds. However, Cameroonian goat milk has excellent taste, for which animals are appreciated by breeders. Outwardly, these are small goats, whose growth does not exceed 55 cm, and the weight ranges from 15 kg. Males are slightly larger than their girlfriends, but they do not gain more than 25 kg in weight.
- White Russian goats. Among the ancestors of these animals are the best breeding individuals of European breeds with very good milk productivity. During the lactation period, from one female you can get up to 800 liters of milk, with a fat content of 5-6%. It really lacks a strong goat smell, but much in this matter depends on the conditions of keeping and hygiene of animals. Outwardly, they are strong animals with a short body and short legs. The ears are medium in size and diverge to the sides, with white hair covering the face and body.
We recommend that you learn more about the features of keeping Czech goats.
Important! Breeders do not stop at the result and the white Russian breed is still being improved. The priority is to increase the productivity and quality of milk, as well as resistance to disease.
Regardless of the breed of dairy goats, there are a number of common features of their appearance, which make it possible to judge their productivity. First of all, these are:
- strong skeleton;
- wide and straight back;
- wide chest
- rounded belly
- elastic pear-shaped udder with well-defined milking and thick milk veins.
Did you know? A goat is not a cheap pleasure and an ordinary farmer does not have enough money for every breed. One of the most expensive ones is shami, since buyers will have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for each animal.
Why milking hairs
Udder hairs are a natural defense of this organ against possible mechanical damage. Goats often graze in various territories, climb between bushes and jump over rocks with prickly vegetation, so accidental damage cannot be avoided. In addition, in some rocks, the coat in the chest area protects the animal from hypothermia and related problems.
Today in the world more than 350 different breeds of goats are recorded, each of which is distinguished by its individual level of productivity. Good milk yields are not the only productive qualities of the animals described, and some goats can be raised for completely different purposes. Based on this, the criteria for determining the level of productivity can also be considered:
- amount of wool ("Fur" goats are bred in Russia, America, Turkey and Iran, and the resulting products are supplied for further production of woolen products);
- volumes of fluff (for this purpose, animals are bred mainly in Russia and Mongolia);
- meat performance (more interesting for India and China);
- mixed direction (such goats do not have a clearly defined specialization and are equally often bred for the purpose of obtaining milk and meat).
The first thing you should pay attention to when breeding goats is the most balanced daily diet of animals and suitable conditions of keeping that meet the requirements of each individual breed. Let's look at an approximate menu of goats in different periods of the year, and learn about the most common requirements for the place of their keeping.
Not all products are equally available at any time of the year, so each owner of goats should prepare a sufficient amount of nutritious food for the winter for their wards. In the summer, there is no shortage of vitamin greens, and the main thing here is to choose the right place for grazing animals.
In summer, from early morning until evening, you can graze milk goats in meadows and forest glades, where they will have no shortage of green fodder. One animal can calmly eat 7-8 kg of fresh herbs per day, in addition to which you can give him fruits or peeling from cabbage, potatoes, fodder beets or carrots. Also, goats will not refuse kitchen waste, it is only necessary that they be fresh and finely chopped.In the warm season, goats are fed twice a day: morning and evening, and in the daytime they are driven out to pasture. A horned breakfast should consist of a soaked feed mixture with the addition of wheat bran, bone meal and chalk. For dinner, various vegetables and hay are suitable, which can be left overnight in the manger. Clean water should be near the animals all day.
Important! Cold water is not suitable for goats, especially if they spent the whole day in the heat. In a hot organism, such a fluid can lead to pneumonia or gastric arrest.
With the advent of cold weather, greenery on the street becomes less and less, therefore, satiety and the general condition of animals depend on home feeding. For one adult goat per day, there should be at least 2.5 kg of hay, 1.5 kg of beets and 0.8 kg of wheat bran. Distribution of food is performed three times a day, at about the same time. In the morning, you can steal a blender with bran or compound feed, and in the evening leave hay and vegetables. In the afternoon, animals are isolated from summer brooms from leafy trees and silage (about 0.5 kg per individual).When harvesting roughage, special attention should be paid to straw:
Important! Be sure to ensure that all solid feed given to the goats is pre-chopped - if not into flour, then at least into very small pieces. Otherwise, even wheat can clog the stomach and upset the digestion of the animal.
Video: Goat feeding in winter
Conditions for keeping
Most goat breeds are highly frost-resistant and are not picky about the level of lighting in the room, so the main thing to pay attention to when organizing their permanent location is the absence of drafts and the dryness of the room. In regions with relatively warm winters, you can build a stall right in the yard, covering it with a canopy and blocking it from several sides with dense windproof material. Wooden or even brick structures should be erected only in regions with severe winters, where the temperature often drops below -10 ° C. The optimum temperature for keeping adults in such conditions is approximately 3-5 ° C.
A barn for goats must meet certain requirements and standards that must be taken into account even at the stage of construction. For example, for the construction of the goat house, the highest and driest place on the site is best suited, allowing you to organize a small walking yard for animals on the south side. As a material for the construction of walls, adobe, plank or log structures are suitable, and the gap between the individual parts can be closed with pine needles, peat, leaves and dry sawdust (the main thing is that there are no voids left). The height of the finished shed should be at least 2 m, and the fence placed in front of it should reach 1.5 m.The windows of the room are best done on the south side, stepping back from the floor line about 30 cm. On the opposite wall, at the same height, you can nail wooden shelves with a width of at least 1 m. They will serve as a good animal bed, protecting them from colds.
It is advisable to attach the feeders to the walls so that you can fill them with food without going into the pen itself. Alternatively, you can organize a small corridor in the room, separated from the main space with the help of a lattice wall (it is the feeders that are attached to it).Another wall of the goat house will serve as a good basis for fastening nurseries (nursery-type feeders) made of metal rods. Under them, you can install a small box-feeder, in which leaves and small pieces of plant stems will fall out. In addition, here you can also make various mineral additives and salt, so that animals can replenish the body’s reserves with useful components at any time.
Additional feeders and drinking bowls can be installed on the territory of the walking yard, but only so that their contents are closed from debris and moisture. Damp feed is not attractive to animals, so it will often have to be changed to fresh.
One or several goats can be tied in the immediate vicinity of a private estate - the main thing is that a large number of useful herbs grow on the territory. Also take care of shelter in case of bad weather and rain (a small canopy will not be superfluous). On hot days, do not forget to take out water to the animals, and even better - just place a few drinkers around the perimeter, and the horned ones will get drunk when they want.A small chain or strong rope several meters long can be used as a leash. She must hold the goat, but not hurt her.
It is good if there is a meadow or field near the house, because it is in such places that the goat will be able to find alfalfa, vetch, winter rye, comfrey, hogweed. You can always supplement them with a garden in the form of cabbage and other vegetables.
Grazing without a leash is more characteristic of large goat herds, but it is far from always possible to organize it. At least a selected area should be enclosed with a high and strong fence that does not allow animals to scatter across the field. The horizontal poles of the fence should be placed on the outside so that the goats cannot use them for escape.
Ropes are not suitable as a shielding material, because active and curious animals easily chew them. When using wire, you should pay attention to safe products that can not injure goats who want to chew them. As for the pasture itself, then trees (except for pines or firs) and only useful plants, without any poisonous specimens, should grow on it. In the case of goats, the latter include:
- warty euonymus;
- marsh rosemary;
- marsh callas;
- black bleach;
- speckled hemlock;
- poisonous milestone;
- smelly dope;
- pink mustard;
- St. John's wort
- perennial buttercup;
- sharp gusset.
Did you know? Representatives of many goat breeds are able to bounce up to a height of 1–1.5 m. True, such jumps are more characteristic of slender and energetic goats (goats with a full udder are not up to it).
How often to drink
Some farmers prefer not to place drinkers near animals, but to bring them water several times a day separately. On average, one goat drinks at least 8-10 liters of water per day, and even more in the summer. You need to drink it immediately after feeding, with a clean liquid, with a temperature of at least 10 ° C. If there is a large amount of succulent feed in the diet, water consumption may decrease, in winter this indicator is also affected by the presence of snow on the pasture (with free access to it, it will perfectly replace part of the drink). But you shouldn’t completely rely on snow, because a lot of energy is spent on its heating and milk yield falls. Without water, a goat will not be able to produce milk at all.Goats have a well-developed excretory system, which means that they can drink water with a salinity of 0.9%. However, you should not take this as a rule, because prolonged use of salt water leads to blockage of the urinary canal and subsequent deterioration of the general condition of goats.
How many live
On average, with good care, dairy goats calmly live up to 15 years, and some representatives of horned can celebrate their twentieth birthday. Unfortunately, this does not mean their good productivity during this time, and most often after a seven-year milestone, the number of milk yields is significantly reduced. Peak milk production occurs only for a short period of time: from 3-4 to 7-8 years.
How to milk
The process of getting goat's milk is not much different from milking a cow, except that the representatives of some representatives have more horns (if you are not sure about the calmness of the animal or the goat has already confirmed its bad character, it is better to tie it by the horns before performing the procedure).In the summer period, with an abundance of greens and succulent feeds, it is advisable to carry out milking at least three times a day, and in order to keep the volume of milk yield at the same level, the procedure should be performed at about the same time every day.In winter, double-squeezing will suffice, but it is better to focus on the state of the goat and its diet for a day (with a large number of succulent feeds, sometimes three-fold squashing may be necessary).
As for the method of obtaining milk, milkmaids most often express it manually, first holding the nipple with the thumb and forefinger, and then pulling it down rhythmically. With a large number of goats, you can purchase a special milking machine, and then the task will become even easier.
Video: How to milk a goat
Features of growing kids
Little kids are more sensitive to external factors than adults, so the issue of their care should be given special attention. For example, the temperature in the goat house, even in the coldest months, should not fall below 12 ° C, and in the room itself should always be dry and light. In the summer, ten-day-old kids should be allowed to walk for at least 2–5 hours, and from two weeks they will be able to spend more time in the pasture. Very small goats of the milk direction are excommunicated from the goat almost immediately after birth in order to make maximum use of the increased milk production of the uterus. As for independent further feeding of young animals, in the first few days, fresh and well-filtered milk poured into a small bowl is well suited for these purposes (you can gently wet the kid’s face in it). Up to one month, the optimal number of feedings per day is at least 6 times, and, making up the diet, it is advisable to postpone the first feeding at 6 o’clock in the morning and postpone the last at 8 o’clock in the evening.
Important! Up to two weeks, no kids need any vitamin-mineral supplements, and already from the third week after birth, you can supplement the diet with sodium chloride, calculated at 6-10 g per individual.
In the second week of life, in addition to milk, oatmeal freshly prepared, strained and cooled to room temperature can be introduced into the animal diet. A few days later, in addition to it, it is useful to give the goats finely chopped root crops and animal feed mixtures mixed with chalk and bone meal. At 10-15 days from birth, babies can begin to eat hay and leafy brooms, but the proportion of such feed in their menu should be minimal.
Video: Growing kids
Tips for beginners
Newcomers to farming often face difficulties caused by inept handling of farm animals. To avoid troubles, it is important to consider all possible problems in advance and find out ways to solve them. In the case of dairy goats, the owner should pay attention to the following recommendations:
- make sure that the animal receives only the most nutritious and most beneficial food, along with enough water;
- graze goats for at least 6-8 hours in the summer and be sure to let go run in the winter;
- monitor the cleanliness and dryness in the goathouse, maintaining the optimum temperature and the proper level of illumination if necessary (reducing daylight hours leads to a decrease in milk yield);
- Accustom the goat to the milking process: it should be performed at about the same time, in a fixed place (following the procedure, put food and water in front of the animals);
- When milking, do not pull and do not pinch the goat by the nipples - if for the first time the process causes her pain or discomfort, then in the future you simply will not force the animal to stand still in one spot.