Goat-Buyer's Guide and Checklist

Learn what features to look for when buying the best dairy goats.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
March/April 1977
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Choosing the right dairy goat can be complicated. Use thischecklist to help find the perfect milking goat.

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Before you buy any dairy goat, isolate the animal ... then [1] check her up close, [2] stand back and take a long, hard look at her overall appearance, [3] watch the doe (from the front, side, and rear) as she walks, and [4] go over all the points on the following list. If the nanny falls to meet two or more criteria, consider her a waste of money ... no matter what a "bargain" she may be. To learn more on how to buy a good dairy goat, read MOTHER's article "Finding the Best Dairy Goats."


_______a. Well formed (not low-hanging)

_______b. No indication of mastitis, both sides producing

_______c. No double teats'
_______d. Easy to milk


_______a. Deep abdominal cavity
_______b. Long torso
_______c. Wide ribs


_______a. Straight, strong legs

_______b. No indication of lameness

_______c. Strong pasterns

_______d. One-hand-width separation of front legs


_______a. Shiny coat

_______b. Good weight in proportion to size

_______c. Bright eyes

_______d. Pleasing personality


1. Doe kid. Purchase only if either a half sister by the same sire, full sisters, or the kid's mother is available for your inspection. (The related animal must — of course — meet all the above criteria.)

2. Virgin dry doe. Purchase only if the doe is under two years of age and meets the above criteria.

3. Bred doe (dry or milking). Must come with a written guarantee of pregnancy and a service memo signed by the owner of the buck, if the buck is registered.

4. Lactating doe (of any kind). Witness two consecutive milkings. Minimum daily production for a first freshener (up to three months fresh): three quarts. For second through sixth freshenings, the minimum daily amounts allowable are: four quarts if fresh less than 3 months, three quarts if fresh 5 to 6 months, two quarts if fresh 7 to 8 months, and one quart if fresh over 9 months.

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