Interesting facts about dairy goats!
• Goats have a four chambered stomach and chew their cuds like a cow.
• Goats are ruminants and are browsing animals not grazers, preferring poison ivy vines to fresh grass.
• Although there are well over 100 breeds of dairy goats in the world, there are only 8 recognized breeds of dairy goat in the U.S. per the American Dairy Goat Association and the American Goat Society. They are Alpine, Saanen, LaMancha, Oberhasli, Sable, Toggenburg, Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian.
• Goat babies are called kids, females are called does and males are called bucks.
• Goats do not eat tin cans; they are actually picky about what they eat. The myth being “a goat will eat anything” only comes from the fact that they are very curious animals and explore things with their mouths, not actually consuming those things.
• Goats are herd animals; you cannot and should not have just one. They need companionship and will actually get sick or die if alone.
• A group of goats is actually called a tribe or a trip, but most people refer to it as a herd.
• Goats were regularly imported into America in the early 1900’s. Sometimes sent by ship as food for exotic zoo animals such as lions and tigers.
• Goats do not have teeth in their upper front jaw.
• Goats have a gestation period of 145-155 days and can have multiple births up to 6 in a single kidding with 2 being the average.
• Healthy kids can stand on their own within minutes of birth and are able to move with the herd almost immediately.
• Goats generally live for 8-12 years.
• Azalea bushes are poisonous to goats as well as cherry tree leaves and many other plants.
• Goats’ pupils are rectangular in shape.
• Although most goats are born with horns (some are born naturally polled-without horns) the majority of registered dairy goats have their horns removed (disbudded) shortly after birth for the safety of their owners and the goats themselves.
• It is said that coffee was first discovered by goats as goat herders noticed the goats acting energetic after nibbling on coffee beans.
• The normal temperature of a healthy goat is around 102-103 degrees F.
• Depending on the size and the breed of the dairy goat, they produce an average of 2 quarts a day, enough for a small family. Some have been known to produce up to 3 gallons a day. The highest milk production occurs in the first 6 weeks after freshening.
• Dairy goats are usually milked twice a day about 12 hours apart.
• National Dairy Goat Awareness Week is from the 2nd Saturday of June though the 3rd Saturday of June. It was first observed in 1986.
Did you know that on a worldwide basis, more people drink the milk of goats than from any other single animal? Over 440 million goats (worldwide) produce an estimated 4.8 million tons of milk that is predominantly consumed locally, or processed into various types of cheeses. Although the most goat milk is produced and consumed in India, it is becoming quite popular in the United States. As of January 1, 2013 the United States had 360,000 registered milk goats and the numbers continue to increase.
Benefits of goat’s milk: (Most of the benefits will be in comparison to cow’s milk, since in the United State cow’s milk is the most produced and consumed)
• Goat milk has a more easily digestible fat and protein content than cow milk. Goat’s milk can be digested in about 20 minutes where cow’s milk can take up to a day to digest. Oligosaccharides act as prebiotics in the gut and may help to maintain the health of the digestive tract by encouraging the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
• The increased digestibility of protein is of importance to infant diets (human and animal) as well as to invalid and convalescent diets. Some infants and small children who are allergic to human milk and or formula are able to consume goat milk. Goat milk is closer to human mother’s milk than cow’s milk is. Because it has a chemical makeup that is much closer to human milk, it is easier to digest and assimilate in the human body.
• Goat milk can successfully replace cow milk in diets of those who are allergic to cow milk.
• Goat milk is naturally homogenized, not having to go through the mechanical process as cow’s milk does. Homogenization is the process in which fat globules are broken into a smaller form to keep it suspended within the milk.
• Goat milk has greater amounts of vitamin A than cow milk. Also, goats convert all carotenes into vitamin A, creating a white type of milk. Goat milk is also higher in minerals, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, chlorine and manganese; but it is lower in sodium, iron, sulphur, zinc and molybdenum.
• Goat milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.
• Goat milk is naturally lower in cholesterol than cow’s milk.
• Goat milk contains Lactic Acid, an alpha hydroxyl acid that aids in breaking down skin cells, has a PH level that is very close to that of your skin and is packed with essential vitamins and natural nutrients making it the perfect foundation for health/skin care products such as soaps, lotions, lip balms and more.
Environmentally friendly-Goats require far less space and food than cows. Typically, you can comfortably raise six goats on the same acreage as two cows reducing the cost in feed and amount of land needed.