Choosing a Dairy Goat Breed

| 2/10/2012 11:51:00 AM


 Nigerian Doe 

The most frequently asked question that people ask me about goats is, "What is the difference in each breed's milk taste, and how much milk do they average." And that is always one of the hardest questions to answer, simply because there really aren't any solid answers I can give! Each individual goat is going to have its own amount of milk it's going to give, and it's going to have its own taste. Think of it like a grab bag. You never know what you're going to get.

But that sounds rather discouraging. How on earth is a body supposed to choose a goat breed if they're hesitant about each one? Over the years, I've had the privilege to own almost all the dairy breeds out there, and then try the milk from countless of other goats. Through much experience (read: trial and error as we bought goats that gave horrid tasting milk!), I've gotten to know each breed's quirks and histories, and I've come to realize that it actually is possible to give people an idea of what to expect from each breed.

So I thought I would go through the breeds here and introduce them to y'all. I would like to state again though, that each goat will vary. I know people who swear that Saanens give the best tasting milk above all other goats, and other people who wouldn't touch a Saanen with a 10 foot pole. So this post is going to have a lot of blanket statements, as I try and give you an overview of the dairy breeds. Bear with me here.

First off would be the Saanen ( Saanens are one of, if not THE, top producers of the dairy breeds. 2-3 gallons per day is not uncommon, although most will average 1 1/2 gallons per day. Their downside is that their butterfat is only 2% to 3%. Now, if you are used to drinking two percent milk from the grocery store, then you would probably do alright with these big gals. But if you've tasted other raw milks like Jersey cow, or Nubian or Nigerian goat milk, you might be disappointed. In plain English, it's rather bland and watery. 

7/19/2017 3:44:12 PM

My experiences with Nubians and Oberhaslies is completely the reverse. My husband forbade me to get a goat because we had a friend with Nubians who was always trying to get us hooked on goat milk but her Nubians milk had the worst 'goat' taste and smell you could hardly get it to your lips. I got Obers instead and their milk was always so good. Everyone loved it and I sold a considerable amount to friends who had goats because they liked the taste better than what their milk tasted like. They were selling their goats milk and buying my Oberhasli milk. I had several Oberhasli and Oberhasli cross goats and all of them gave good milk and several of them milked through 2 or more years between breedings.

Elizabeth Brown
4/21/2013 2:39:14 PM

I have a 4 yr old half nubian half alpine Doe. I just got her in the beginning of march. She is my first milk goat.. We loved her milk fir the first month. It Had the sweetest layer of cream on top the next day. For some reason the last 2-3 weeks her milk has gotten so goaty that none of us can drink it, and the cream even seems bitter now. Do you have any advice as to what may have happened? I did start mixing in a sweet feed to her pellets but that was around the 1st of april and when I noticed the change took the sweet feed away and went back to just pellets and it hasn't helped at all..... please help! Thank you!

Lynne Aldridge
2/18/2012 9:51:22 AM

Not yet a goat owner, and based in the UK, but must add another factor in favour of Golden Guernseys (or GG's for short). They are the best mannered breed of goat I have encountered. Even the entire males seem to have a calmer nature, though a smelly GG boy around mating time nudging you for a neck scratch may be a little demanding.

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