Milk Goats

While not as mainstream as cow’s milk, goat’s milk is healthier, containing proteins easier for humans to digest. It is also known for its high butterfat content, making it excellent for dairy products like cheese and yogurt. Despite its initial lack of popularity in the United States, interest in raising dairy goats has increased due to the growing demand for sustainable farming practices. Goats are more environmentally friendly than cattle because they need less space, emit lower amounts of methane, and convert feed more efficiently. Over 440,000 goats are reared in the U.S. for dairy purposes.

Goat milk accounts for 2% of the global supply, roughly correlating to 18.7 million tonnes. India is the highest producer of goat milk globally, with approximately 6.3 million metric tons produced annually. Other noteworthy producers are Bangladesh (2.7 million metric tons), Pakistan (1.3 million metric tons), and Sudan (1.2 million metric tons).

Milk Goats

List of the Types of Dairy Goat Breeds

Two primary factors need to be considered before rearing milk goats: the amount of milk the breed can produce on average in a year and the milk produced during their lactation periods (around 275-305 days). Annual milk production is a metric that differentiates the various dairy goat breeds. On the other hand, the lactation range is used to gauge the minimum and maximum amount of milk recorded for a breed, giving a better understanding of its milk production capacity and consistency.

BreedAverage Annual Milk Production
(in lbs)
Milk Produced During Each Lactation Period
(in lbs)
% of Protein% of Fat
Nigerian Dwarf795220-21104.46.4


1. How often should goats be milked?

Goats produce a lot of milk during their lactation period, so they must be milked at least once every 12 hours to avoid complications like mastitis.

2. Do dairy goats have to be pregnant in order to produce milk?

To ensure ongoing milk production, a doe needs to breed annually. Either a reliable buck must be on hand, or artificial insemination should be arranged to impregnate any suitable does. It’s also vital to ensure that they have at least 2 months of rest between lactation periods for optimal milk quality.

3. Which milk goats are suitable for cold climates?

Breeds accustomed to mountainous regions are usually suitable for colder locales. These include the Saanen and Toggenburg from Switzerland and the Alpine goat from France.

4. Which milk goats are suitable for hot climates?

Although the Nigerian Dwarf does not produce as much milk as its peers, its heat tolerance makes it well-suited for those who rear it in arid climates.

5. What are the dietary requirements for dairy goats?

Milk goats should be fed high-quality hay mixed with grains rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

6. Does the goat’s breed affect the quality of the cheese made from its milk?

Milk from all breeds can be used in cheese-making. However, due to its high-fat content, the milk of Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats is well-known for cheese production.

7. How many dairy goats can be kept per acre?

Keeping goats for milk involves several considerations, such as pasture quality, soil health, goat breed sizes, and the use of rotational grazing. Usually, about 6 to 8 dairy goats can be kept on an acre of land with high-quality vegetation for them to browse.

8. Can dairy goats provide meat?

While dairy goats can provide meat, their carcasses are generally leaner and not worth it. The Nubian is one of the few breeds used for both. But when reared for meat, they are fattened as kids.

9. Can people allergic to cow’s milk drink goat’s milk?

While the proteins in goat milk are less likely to trigger allergies than those in cow’s milk, they can cause similar reactions. Lactose-intolerant individuals should avoid milk from either animal as they both contain lactose.

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