• Amanda Pieper

Best Goat Breeds for Dairy, Meat, Fiber and Fun

Updated: Oct 26

It's official, you're ready to add goats to your farm and you're in the market for the best goat breed for your operation.


Now comes the fun part!


Which goat breed you decide to bring home depends on a variety of factors. But, in most cases, your decision will be guided by one of these primary goat uses:


  1. Goats for Milk

  2. Goats for Meat

  3. Goats for Fiber

  4. And Goats for Fun!


Of course, some of these goat breeds can be multipurpose. So let's get down to the nuts and bolts of the best goat breeds for your purpose!



How to Choose the Right Goat Breed


Selecting the right goat breed depends on what you'd like to do with your goats.


With that being said, you'll also want to ask yourself these questions:


  1. Do you have time to groom a goat? Fiber goats must be shorn and also may need to be groomed regularly, for example.

  2. Do you have time to milk your goats every day? If you're thinking about adding dairy goats, will you have time to milk them twice a day?

  3. Will you need a buck? If you want kids or goat milk, you'll need to breed your does to a buck.

  4. Do you have enough space? Some goats are larger than others (the Boer Goat is a bigger breed than the Nigerian Dwarf, for example). So, how much space you have might dictate which breed you choose. Always keep in mind that you'll need at least two goats to keep each other company.

  5. Do you have neighbors that don't like a lot of noise? Because some breeds tend to be more vocal than others.


These are all things to keep in mind as you decide which breed of goat is the best for you.


Best Goat Breeds for Milk


We’ll start off by just putting this out there: there's no single goat breed that's better than the other.


But, if you want a goat that is production-friendly and can provide the most milk to your family or farm operation, then look no further than the following breeds of milk goats.


  • Alpine

  • Saanen

  • LaMancha

  • Nigerian Dwarf

  • Oberhasli

  • Toggenburg


Any of these breeds will provide you with plenty of milk but the Nigerian Dwarf is often used in smaller homesteading operations. This little goat produces high butterfat milk (and quite a bit of it for being so small).


The larger goats on this list are utilized in some of the larger commercial dairy operations due to their ability to yield a lot more milk than other breeds.


Best Goat Breeds for Meat


If you're looking to start a meat goat operation, you'll find that the sale prices for the Boer Goat are usually among the most desirable.


With that being said, the Kinder Goat is another up-and-coming breed that offers the best of both worlds; milk and meat production on a smaller scale.


Many meat goat farmers choose to crossbreed their meat goats to find a mix of high-yield and parasite resistance in their herds. The following are some of the more popular meat goat breeds.


  • Boer Goat

  • Kinder Goat

  • Kiko Goat


It's often said that the Boer Goat is the broiler chicken of the goat world because they grow very fast and are a hefty breed. The Kiko is also quite popular due to its ability to fight off parasites without having to deworm often.


Lastly, the Kinder goat is the best of both worlds (and then some) because it’s a hearty little goat with a great carcass and also a decent milker! Those with smaller acreage might enjoy this little goat's many gifts.


Best Breeds of Fiber Goats


When it comes to the best goat breeds for fiber, the options are a bit more limited than milk and meat goat options.


Two goat breeds stand out as the best fiber breeds, and they are the Angora goat and the Cashmere Goat.


With that being said, some of the best goat breeds for fiber are often hybrids of these two breeds.


The Nigora, for example, is a cross between an Angora and a Nigerian Dwarf goat and the Pygora is a cross between the Angora and the Pygmy goat.


The Pygora and the Nigora are both hybrids of the angora and are often used as a part of fiber production.


Best Breeds for Pets


Some of the best breeds of goats for pets aren't even breeds, they're often crosses!


With that being said, some goat breeds are said to be more friendly than others.


When it comes down to it, each breed can produce extremely friendly goats. Plus, if you put the time in, you can make a pet goat out of most breeds.


For the purpose of this article, though, we're giving you a list of good pet goods with a purpose so you can reap the benefits of both companion goat and production goat.


1. Nigerian Dwarf - Best small goat that’s also a good milker

2. LaMancha - Best milk goat that doubles as a super friendly pet

3. Boer Goat- Friendliest meat goat

4. Kinder Goat - The triple threat pet goat (meat, milk, companionship)

5. Angora Goat - Fiber goats that make good pets



When it comes down to it, there’s really no best goat (and most breeds can be made into pet goats) but some goats certainly specialize in certain areas. So, if you’re looking to get goats for a certain purpose, that’s probably where you’ll want to start.


And once you’ve brought your goats home, be sure to track all your goat herd health, breeding, treatment, and production information to keep them happy, healthy, and producing!


 

Amanda Pieper is an accomplished agricultural writer who owns and operates a small goat farm in Wisconsin. Amanda is laser-focused on raising healthy goats and pasture-raised poultry.

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