The Basics of the Goat

 Goat Health Basics

  • Normal temperature: 101 - 103.5 - Varies depending on seasons/surroundings. 
  • Estrus/Heat Cycle: 17 - 23 days. Usually lasts about 2 - 4 days. 
  • Gestation (Approximately): Nigerians 145 days and Large breed goat 150
  • Life span: Anywhere from 8-14 years.
  • Typical weaning age: 8 weeks old
  • Basic Needs: Basic needs of a goat are roughage/hay, fresh water, loose goat minerals, shelter from wind/rain/snow and adequate fencing for containment and protection from predators.

~ A  "Doe" is a female goat. A doe is great option for a pet, 4H animal, show goat, and/or home milker. They don't get urinary stones like a wether (castrated male) sometimes can. They don't smell bad like an intact buck. And they are typically pretty tame and friendly if raised properly. A good doe can be a wonderful home milker producing milk for the family to make cheese, soap, and dairy products. A doe must be bred and produce kids in order to produce milk. Typically a dairy goat is first bred at about 1-2 yrs of age and can breed until they are 10-14yrs old if they are in good sound health.

~ A "Buck" is an Intact male goat used for breeding purposes. Bucks are robust, masculine, smell quite pungent, especially during rut (breeding season). They are NOT a good option for a pet. They will pee on themselves and sometimes be aggressive, especially during breeding season. 

~ A "wether" is a castrated male goat. A wether is a great option for a pet. Many wethers are also used for brush clearing and as fun pets for the family. You can typically buy a wether much cheaper than a doe since they are not a 'breeding animal'. They are typically more docile than an intact male buck. They don't stink or pee on themselves like an intact male. A wether is typically pretty easy to care for, usually only requiring basic quality grass hay, loose goat minerals, pasture, and shelter. 

Click HERE for a great article about the BASIC CARE & MANAGEMENT of the dairy goats and goats in general from the American Dairy Goat Association website. 


Dairy Goat Breeds

Click HERE to visit the American Dairy Goat Association website which describes in detail each of the accepted dairy goat breeds in ADGA. ADGA is the main dairy goat registry in the United States. 

In the United States there are a number of goat breeds typically seen. In dairy goats there are Alpine, LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, Sable, and Toggenburg. The Guernsey dairy goat is another newer addition to the ADGA recognized breed list. 

Other breeds that are not considered "dairy/milk breeds" are Boer (utilized for meat), Kiko (also a meat breed), Myotonic or commonly called "Fainting Goat" and Pygmy Goat,  There are also a number of goat breeds used for their fiber, such as Angora and Cashmere goats.