When it comes to goats everyone knows that Boers are for meat. Saanens, Alpines and Nubians are for dairy. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are for those short on space. But those aren’t your only choices.
In my Ultimate Guide to Goat Breeds I talked about 15+ different goat breeds, but here is a little more about 5 of those breeds that are often overlooked.
5 Most Overlooked Goat Breeds
Golden Guernsey Goat
Guernseys are a heritage breed of goat that originated in England. They are the smallest of the standard sized dairy goats. They have a very docile personality, which makes them a great choice for smaller farms or 4-H projects.
They produce an good amount of milk for their size- about a gallon a day- which is another reason they work well on smaller homesteads.
Guernseys are a critically rare breed, so adding them to your homestead benefits them by increasing their numbers and you get a top dairy goat with a lot of pluses.
I first saw Toggenburgs on a visit to the Carl Sandburg Home near our farm. And they are beautiful. They have such a lovely coloring and temperament.
They are known for producing a good 2 gallons per day and are on the smaller side of the standard dairy goat size.
I have read that they have a tendency for “goaty” tasting milk since they are a swiss goat, but that is also said about the Oberhalsi and I haven’t found that to be true.
The Oberhalsi is often shadowed by the French Alpine breed, but this Swiss Alpine goat breed has a ton going for it.
The Ober is also a heritage breed- though it is recovering- known for it’s brown and black markings. They are the sweetest goats, even the bucks are super affectionate.
Like I mentioned with the Toggenburg, they are said to have a tendency toward stronger tasting milk, but I didn’t find that to be true with the ones we owned. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to taste the milk of a goat (or it’s mother) before you buy just in case.
If you are new to goats, I recommend reading up as much as you can before you purchase. You can find a lot of articles here on The Free Range Life that will teach you about goat care and be sure to check out The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder– it’s full of to-do lists, checklists, record keeping sheets, and resource pages that will get your new goat herd off to a great start!
The Kiko is a New Zealand bred meat goat. They are a lesser known breed that oftentimes out preforms the better know Boer goat.
Kikos are known for having excellent maternal instincts, less health problems, and rapid growth in kids. They also are strong foragers- so they gain weight and you get your weeds taken care of!
TN Fainting Goats
Tennessee Fainting Goats- or Myotonic goat is another meat goat that is often overlooked. They are a smaller sized goat known for the way they stiffen up or “faint” when startled. They show great growth rates and good parasite resistance.
These myotonic goats are another heritage breed that is considered recovering. Their smaller size and friendly nature makes them a good fit for smaller homesteads. They are less likely to jump and escape than some of the other smaller breeds due to the myotonic muscle condition in their legs.
Have you heard of these breeds? Do you have an experience with the lesser known, overlooked goat breeds?
i find it very enteresting mode to study about the goats.
I too have the Swiss breeds tend to off flavored milk. This was explained they are a cheese goats. I raised Nubians and never had problems, though it may depend on cleanliness of milking tools (glass and SS implements.) Got mine as children couldn’t drink cows milk. Friends wouldn’t believe it came from goats. And there’s the ice cream. back to goaty milk, is there a buck in the area. Sometimes his presence, for some inexplicable reason can affect taste. it is getting to be illegal in a lot of states for you to even use your own goats milk, and I’m sure cows milk for personal use. In my state if you are found out they will take your goats and then you still pay a fine. (Big dairy/associations involved??)
Is it legal to use your own goat milk in Florida?
As long as you don’t sell it for human consumption
We have an oberhalsi/alpine mix really good milk taste and production for a firts time mom. She is sweet and an awesome mom. We kept her daughter, wish only has 1/3 apline. She is sooo loveable.
We have and love our Kinder goats. Their milk has always been mild flavored, rich and with great cream content. We try to keep them truly bred as a dual purpose animal.
I find that what you feed your goat affects the taste of the milk
I raised dairy goats for 20 years. My sister was a certified dairy goat judge and mom was superintendant for Josephine county Oregon for years. Obies don’t have strong tasting milk, but Togengurgs no matter what have Muskie tasting milk. My favorite is Nubians. We used to give the milk to guests who claimed they hated goat milk and they never knew the difference.
I’ve grown up with goats my entire life. We have a fainting goat farm. Had about a herd of 50 and some neighborhood dogs killed 45 of them, including the babies, about 10 years ago. We have about 15 now. Just had 8 more babies this month.
Love this post. Glad you mentioned fainting goats.
We have a mini-Oberhasli doe that gives an incredible amount of milk for her size. The milk is sweet and creamy and tastes just like Nigerian Dwarf milk. No goaty taste at all. We went with an Oberhasli instead of a Nubian because we live in the city and Nubians tend to be very noisy which the neighbors would not like. We are so happy we did. Oberhaslis are very human-oriented and love attention. She is a great pet/milk producer.
Just in case anyone else is like me and rushed to find Golden Guernsey breeders in the US…let me save you some time. There aren’t any. It is currently illegal to import GG goats or semen from the UK. However, there are several US breeders of Guernsey Goats (drop the ‘golden’). They are breeding up from just 8 pure GG. If you’re interested in Guernsey’s here in the US, search for “Guernsey Goats.”