Milk Goats

Goat milk makes up 2% of the annual global supply of milk. That might not seem impressive until you realize that roughly correlates to 18.7 million tonnes of milk! Goat milk is considered healthier than cow’s milk and is excellent for making dairy products like cheese and yogurt, thanks to its high butterfat content.

Raising goats for dairy is relatively hassle-free, with over 440,000 milk goats being reared in the U.S. alone.

Milk Goats

List of Dairy Goat Breeds

Here is a list of goat breeds reared for their milk, arranged in order of annual milk production. 

Goat BreedTemperamentAverage Annual Milk Production (in lbs)Lactation Range (in lbs) between 275 and 305 days%of Protein% of Fat
AlpineFriendly but occasionally aggressive2715750-57202.93.3
SaanenDocile2702920-48702.93.3
SableFriendly and docile23851540-31202.93.3
LaManchaAffectionate but curious2298830-41203.23.7
ToggenburgActive and easy-to-train22371090-38402.93.1
NubianFriendly and easygoing but personable2018510-38403.84.9
OberhasliFriendly and gentle19951120-30503.03.7
GuernseyGentle16502.813.72
Nigerian DwarfPeaceful and easygoing795220-21104.46.4

Tips for Raising Goats for Milk

There are a few things to consider before deciding to rear goats for their milk.

  • Regular Milking – Goats produce a lot of milk in their lactation period. So, they must be milked at least once every 12 hours to avoid complications.
  • Breeding – To ensure that your female goats produce milk, they need to breed and give birth at least once a year. Make sure that you have a buck capable of reproducing or have a way of artificially inseminating your does.
  • Dry Period – Does need at least 2 months of rest between lactation periods. If they don’t get enough rest, they will produce lower-quality milk.
  • Environment – Goats tend to be messy animals. So, if you want goat’s milk in a sanitary environment, be prepared to clean up after them multiple times in a single day.

FAQs

1. Which milk goats are the best for cold climates?

Swiss goats like the Saanen, the Alpine, and the Toggenburg are great for places on the chilly side.

2. Which milk goats are the best for hot climates?

The Nigerian Dwarf may not produce as much produce milk as some of its peers, but its heat tolerance makes it a godsend for the people who rear it locally.

3. What is to be fed to goats reared for dairy?

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

4. Which milk goat produces the best cheese?

The Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats are great for cheese due to the high-fat content of the milk they produce.

5. Is sheep milk better than goat milk?

Sheep milk does provide more energy than goat milk. Conversely, goat milk is healthier as it has a much lower fat content than milk produced by sheep.

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

On average, it is best to keep at most 3 goats on an acre of land. Goats are, by nature, curious creatures and love to explore, so keeping too many of them over a small area can cause problems.

7. Can dairy goats provide meat?

While dairy goats can provide meat, their carcasses are generally leaner and not worth it.

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