With the increase in goat milk consumption, dairy goat farming has experienced an increase in popularity as well. When getting started with milking goats, it's important to select the right breed of goat, as certain breeds of goats are more suited to milking, and others more suited to packing on the pounds.
Goats are by far the most common source of milk world-wide. Goat milk is consumed mostly outside of North America, but is becoming increasingly popular even here in North America because of its many health benefits. It is easily digestible, creamy, and tasteful, and produces the most delicious cheese. One can also make yogurt, same as with any other milk - my daughter loves to gobble down a bowl of my homemade goat yogurt :) Finally, a healthy snack I can give her that she actually likes ;)
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Of the many types of goats around all over the world, we have focused our attention on several of the most popular breeds of goats for milking:
We hope to help you narrow your decision through the explanations of the various types of milking goats out there. Be sure to check out the links on each goat breed to find out more about that type of goat.
Each breed of milking goats has its own benefits that come with it, so you'll have to decide what you're after. Component levels in the milk will determine what the milk is good for. Some types of goats produce smaller quantities of milk, but with a higher fat and protein content. Often the milk from these types of goats will be great for cheese making. Other breeds of milking goats will produce much larger quantities of milk but with lower fat content - good for drinking, and also for cheese making.
The fat in goat milk does not sit on top of the milk, as it does in cow milk. It's homogenized naturally, whereas cow milk needs to go through a homogenizing process.
Here's a handy chart to give you a general overview of the production rates of several goat breeds that would be recommended for dairy goat farming:
We've opted for Saanen goats at our farm, with a small strain of Alpine mixed throughout. Saanen for the quantity, Alpine for the slightly quantity but creamier quality. We're considering mixing Nubian genes as well, as they are known for their extremely creamy milk... and since we get paid for the components, well, that may determine which bucks get to have at our does! :) Probably leaving it to the Saanens and Alpines in the near future, although I do love the Nubian ears! so cute.