Goat breeding is one of the most popular and promising livestock industries. Many private farms are engaged in breeding goats - this is due to low costs and high productivity. Indeed, such pets require a minimum of care, consume very little food, but at the same time provide a person with milk, meat, skins and wool. In addition, goats are one of the cleanest animals.
There are more than two hundred species of goats in the world. They differ in appearance, productivity, industry focus. Very often the name of the breed is tied to the area of habitation or origin of the animal.
The founders of domestic goats are considered to be two types of wild ancestors: the horned and saber-horned. And later, through natural mutations and breeding activities, it was possible to achieve today's diversity of species. Let's take a closer look at the description of the most common of them.
The most popular and extensive area in goat breeding is dairy. Goats provide tasty and nutritious milk, which, due to its rich set of minerals and vitamins, is valued much higher than cow milk. Goat milk is considered a valuable product containing a minimum of fat and cholesterol . Thus, it has a beneficial effect on the human body.
In addition, dairy goats are better able to adapt to the Russian climatic conditions than others. Of the dairy goats, several breeds are especially popular.
This breed was developed in Russia. Such goats are found in households in the Leningrad, Kostroma and Moscow regions. These are individuals of an exceptionally white color, with woolen outgrowths on the neck, which are often called earrings.
Females are very fertile - they are able to bear 3-4 kids at a time, providing fast growth. The breed can be called universal - goats give enough milk, and the quality of their meat, fluff and thin skin is just as highly valued.
A breed of hornless goats of French origin. These are large animals, the weight of females can reach 90 kilograms, and goats - an order of magnitude higher. The peculiarity of this variety: the lactation period lasts eleven months, therefore, goats give much more milk - up to 3 thousand liters per year. Such individuals are common in all climatic zones: Russia, Europe, America, Australia.
This breed is originally from France. The highest milk yield is obtained from goats, which are bred in the southern regions. This is understandable, because they spend a significant part of the time in the fresh air, eating juicy feed. Lactation lasts all year round. Fertility: the first lambing - 1 kid, in the next - 4-5 babies.
This breed is named after the area where it was bred. Nowadays it is the Nizhny Novgorod region. Females are hornless, but very fertile - there is no one baby per lamb, usually they please the owners with 4-5 nice kids at once. Milking goats is very convenient - the udder is voluminous and well developed.
In addition to milk, one animal per season gives up to 4.5 kg of wool, and the valuable skin is used not only for sewing fur coats, but also in the haberdashery industry: wallets, purses, cases, exquisite book bindings. In addition, the leather of this breed is an excellent raw material for the production of high quality leather footwear.
Indo-Pakistani dairy breed is rare in Russia. Animals with long ears and a humped nose are mainly bred in India and Pakistan. These are large individuals, unpretentious to the conditions of detention and undemanding to food. Females are capable of giving up to six liters of milk per day, while milking them is a pleasure, because goats have large udders with well-developed nipples. Representatives of the breed are distinguished by a rare color, which is not typical of goats in principle.
The breed is perfectly adapted to the domestic climatic conditions and is very popular. You can milk goats almost all year round. Pedigree females give 5-6 liters of delicious milk per day. There are 2-3 babies in each lamb, capable of quickly gaining weight.
Animals of this breed are horned, have excellent immunity, are divided into two subspecies: low-lying and upland. Dairy products have excellent taste and are widely used in the production of cheese, feta cheese and ayran.
The individuals bred in Georgia are ideally suited for the Caucasian and Central Asian climate. The color of goats is diverse: gray, white, red. Females bring, as a rule, one kid, rarely two.
Meat goat breeding is a special direction, which is very poorly developed in our country. The main goal of animal breeding is to obtain a large amount of meat. Goat meat has long been considered a dietary product and is indicated for use by people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the goat meat of the meat-oriented breeds is tender, juicy, healthy, and does not have a specific taste and smell.
It is possible to distinguish the meat breed of goats from any other by the characteristic features:
- short lactation period and low milk yield - milk is only enough for feeding the offspring;
- the udder is small and high;
- the body of animals looks like a barrel with rounded sides, the belly is large;
- the weight of individuals is large, the physique is massive, there are accelerated growth rates of young animals.
There are several dozen breeds of purely meat goats.
It was bred by South African farmers, who were called Boers, which gave the name to the breed. Animals are unusually beautiful, affectionate, have a kind calm disposition. Individuals are predominantly white, with brown-red spots around the head and neck. All representatives of the breed have neat horns and large hanging ears.
In addition to meat, they also produce good quality wool and dense skins. Lambing occurs three times in two years. The mass of a newborn is within four kilograms, a day they are able to add a quarter of a kilogram in weight. Boer goats have excellent health and good immunity.
New Zealand breed well adapted to harsh climatic conditions. Individuals of brown color, with long hair, dense build, weight - within 60-70 kg. Goats are aggressive, have a long beard and large horns. Females surround their offspring with care and love. There are at least two babies in lambing, who are born small, but quickly gain weight.
As the name implies, it lives in the Greek lands. Small-sized animals are characterized by a small head with large horns. Due to the disproportionality of the body and head, goats look awkward, resembling the goat god Pan, who is the patron saint of shepherds and domestic animals. The color of unpretentious individuals that feel great on rocky slopes is diverse.
The meat is not only very tasty, but also attracts with its unusual pink color. The lactation period is very short, the maximum milk yield does not exceed one hundred liters. Milk is mainly used to make Greek cheese and butter.
Such goats are often found in the Russian open spaces. Their features: thick wool, excellent protection from the cold, "earrings", beard. Individuals are ideal for breeding in the harsh conditions of Siberia, have excellent immunity, poor ecology does not have the slightest effect on them. With proper care, goats get quality wool and fluff. Fecundity of females is low: usually one baby per lamb, less often two.
This breed is a capricious goat that does not tolerate being near other animals . Another drawback is that animals are very susceptible to the bites of blood-sucking insects . The color of individuals is unusual - there are combinations of a wide variety of shades. Lamb - twice a year, each with 2-3 kids.
Downy and wool varieties
The most important thing in breeding downy goats is getting quality down. Much of it is obtained from males. This is due to the size of the animals, because males are always larger than females.
Consider the features of representatives of downy breeds:
- goats are large, with well-developed bones;
- strong hooves and deep chest;
- the coat is 70% down.
There are several known downy breeds.
- Orenburgskaya was bred by domestic breeders. Downy fiber is thin, soft, elastic, and in finished products it also fluffs beautifully. The formation of the coat, as well as the quality of the down, is favorably influenced by sudden changes in the weather: frost, wind, heat. The breed is recognized as the best due to the high quality of down obtained from its representatives. As a rule, the color of animals is black, without blotches of other shades. Females are distinguished by fertility - there are always several kids in the offspring.
- Pridonskaya is an ancient breed, the wool cover of whose representatives is 80% down. The color of goats is white, black, gray or similar shades. Thoroughbred individuals are capable of producing up to one and a half kilograms of downy mass. Goats are fertile and adapt well to any climatic conditions.
- The Gorno-Altai breed is famous for its beautiful shiny down. Animals bred in harsh conditions are very hardy, they can spend the whole year on pastures. The number of babies in the offspring directly depends on the quality of the pasture and the conditions of care. In addition to down, goats of this breed give excellent meat. It is very profitable to grow them: they are unpretentious, they quickly gain weight.
- The black downy breed got its name from the main color of its representatives. Goats bred in Uzbekistan produce long, but dull and thin down. Individuals are medium-sized, with long ears and thin strong legs.
Separately, the Kashmir goat should be noted , which gives the most unique fluff in the world, and it is highly valued. Everyone knows cashmere - this is an indicator of material wealth. It is made from the down fiber of Kashmiri goats. The quality of the coat was greatly influenced by the presence of these amazing animals at an altitude of five kilometers above sea level. The color of individuals is white and gray, but the former is valued much higher.
Long weightless down is hypoallergenic. Not only scarves and shawls are made from it, but also bed linen. Individuals are large - the body length reaches one and a half meters. The productivity of females is low - one kid for each lamb. Sometimes representatives of this breed are bred for meat and milk, but the indicators there are much worse than downy ones.
Woolly goat breeds are less popular than downy ones, although they produce excellent quality wool. Of course, it is coarser than fluff, but still much softer than sheep's, and more suitable for the production of children's things.
Let's dwell on the following breeds of woolly goats.
This is a rare goat species found in North America. Their coat is as snow-white in color as mountain peaks covered with pristine snow. Animals live in the mountains, at a considerable height above sea level, and therefore their coat has unique thermal insulation properties.
Individuals are large, with short, but sharp horns, curved back, and strong limbs. The gestation period lasts six months, usually one kid in each lamb. Life expectancy ranges from 12 to 20 years, depending on the conditions of detention.
This breed appeared in ancient Mesopotamia. A characteristic feature is the small size and weight of goats, as well as horns set apart. Individuals adapt well to various climatic conditions, but not to harsh winters. The predominantly white color of animals, but sometimes black, gray or even silver is found. The coat is shiny and very durable. Grooming is done twice a year. Females are not too prolific - as a rule, one baby per lamb.
Angorok is used for crossing with other woolly species to improve the breed and adapt. Goats are not milked, but the meat tastes excellent.
This breed was bred by Kazakh breeders back in Soviet times. Suitable for grazing both in mountainous areas and in semi-desert. Wool of excellent quality: white, with a chic sheen, very strong, hanging down in luxurious lush tassels. Animals are slightly larger than Angora goats, but also do not differ in fertility. Individuals adapt well to the conditions of detention, they are distinguished by mobility.
It is famous for its excellent fine coat, which is distinguished by a uniform color. Individuals are large, horned, capable of perfectly adapting to various climatic conditions, fertile. The quality and thickness of wool fibers is greatly influenced by the sex and age of the animals.
Goats of this breed are considered the most promising and irreplaceable for breeding in the household.
This is a species of Soviet wool goat breed adapted to the arid climate. Individuals of medium weight are very productive: the wool is semi-thin, of high quality, and is in great demand. On the territory of Tajikistan, there are two pedigree state farms for breeding these animals.
This type of goat breeding is versatile. In this case, animals are bred not for the sake of one specific focus, but to obtain all products in a complex: milk, meat, wool or fluff, skins. Mixed-breed goats are excellent adapters to any climatic conditions, but areas with high humidity are contraindicated for them.
A breed of expensive and beautiful Damascus goats. Individuals bred in the Middle East belong to the meat and dairy orientation. In addition, the skin of these animals is highly prized.
Noble appearance, unusual appearance and poise - these are the characteristic features of the oriental variety.
The popularity of breeding Damascus goats is as great as that of Arabian horses. They are also attracted to participate in exhibitions and competitions. And also used for crossing with other species to improve the breed.
Brown-red color is more common, but sometimes goats of brown or light yellow shade are found. Long ears and hunchback - these are the signs that you can accurately identify with stitches. Females are fertile: the offspring are from two to four cubs in one lamb. The weight of males exceeds 100 kg, the weight of adult females is in the range of 70-90 kg. During the lactation period, a goat is able to give up to one ton of fatty and healthy milk.
Individuals of this breed are native to the Indo-Pakistani regions, they are distinguished by a unique appearance and color - you can find almost all shades of red. Goats are able to provide their families with dairy, meat, wool products, as well as skins. Animals can only eat vegetable or commercially available food.
To increase milk yield, you need quality feed and proper care. Females bring 2-3 kids a year.
It is a small local goat species. These individuals are universal - they provide the owner with all products of goat breeding with uniform productivity. The low fertility of animals is more than offset by the highest quality products.
This breed is an aboriginal Chinese species, oriented for breeding at significant altitudes, at certain temperatures and humidity. This will allow you to get unique skins of monthly kids with shiny white hair. The color of the animals is predominantly white, the horns are unusual, spiral.
Local Korean goats for meat and milk. Black color predominates, occasionally gray individuals can be found. The average litter is 1 kid, the interval between lambing is about ten months. Features: erect short ears, straight head profile, curved horns directed backward.
Breeding miniature goats is gaining popularity. These tiny creatures attract attention not only for their charming appearance, but also for their productivity, surprising for their size. As a rule, mini-breeds are dairy-oriented.
Dwarf individuals came to Russia at the end of the last century. Their homeland is the African continent, where in search of food they calmly move not only on the ground, but also climb trees.
The main advantages of mini goats:
- modest dimensions, allowing them to be kept even in an apartment;
- unpretentiousness in food and care;
- a good milk yield for the size of animals: from 1.5 to 2 liters per day;
- milk has no specific smell or taste;
- good-natured affectionate character;
- easy to train;
- low-cost breeding: a minimum of feed and space is required;
- life expectancy up to 20 years.
So far, there are only three breeds of these babies in the world.
- Cameroon. These natives of Africa do well with all the burdens of keeping, with the exception of high humidity. Due to their compactness, sailors often took goats with them on sailing - it is convenient to always have fresh milk and meat. The average weight of animals does not exceed thirty kilograms.
It is interesting that in almost every lamb of a female there will be two tiny goats, the mass of which does not even reach five hundred grams. Nevertheless, from the first days of life, babies move independently.
- Nigerian. This is almost a copy of the Cameroonian breed, but reduced in size. Mischievous and playful individuals have slender legs, small horns, pleasant muzzles and large udders. They lend themselves well to training, are friendly and clean.
- Courtyard model. Amusing creatures with a small, constantly wagging tail and adorable tiny horns bent inward. Thick short fur with original specks in combination with habits makes them look like dogs.
These are the smallest individuals of all dwarf breeds - the maximum weight barely reaches 25 kg.
How to choose?
The choice should be made slowly, based on what direction the goat is needed for. It is important for breeding animals to know the pedigree. The selection of males is carried out according to such basic characteristics as the number of offspring and indicators of its quality.
Criterias of choice:
- productivity in the chosen direction: the amount of milk, meat, wool and their quality indicators;
- the fertility of females of the chosen breed: some always have one baby in the lamb, while others have five;
- for dairy breeds, a large udder with prominent, prominent veins and well-developed teats is important;
- when buying an adult, you should know its age and state of health.
There are also certain signs of the direction of goats.
- Dairy - large animals with a shallow head. Features: large belly and udder, prominent protruding nipples.
- Woolly - large individuals, a large body surface allows you to get more wool. The cover is uniform, the same length, high density.
- Downy - the owners of a round elongated body with a deep chest. The downy tier is a well-developed "walking" ball of wool and down.
- Meaty: large mass, massive build, accelerated growth rates, short hair, undeveloped udder.
For the characteristics of goats of different breeds, see below.