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.
List of Dairy Goat Breeds
Here is a list of goat breeds reared for their milk, arranged in order of annual milk production.
|Average Annual Milk Production (in lbs)
|Lactation Range (in lbs) between 275 and 305 days
|% of Fat
|Friendly but occasionally aggressive
|Friendly and docile
|Affectionate but curious
|Active and easy-to-train
|Friendly and easygoing but personable
|Friendly and gentle
|Peaceful and easygoing
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.
Swiss goats like the Saanen, the Alpine, and the Toggenburg are great for places on the chilly side.
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.
Milk goats prefer high-quality hay mixed with grains rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
The Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats are great for cheese due to the high-fat content of the milk they produce.
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.
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.
While dairy goats can provide meat, their carcasses are generally leaner and not worth it.