milking dairy goats

If you want to know the best goat breeds for milk production, then you are at the right place.

One unique feature about milk goats is that they are usually leaner with a calmer composure than meat breeds. They require more nutritional supplement food during the lactation period to maintain milk production.

The interesting thing is that goat’s milk is a richer food and contains more calcium and protein than that cow’s. Also, goat milk contains less lactose and casein, making it a perfect choice for individuals with lactose intolerance and cow milk allergies.

Regarding sweetness, goat’s milk contains enough richness and flavor, which many describe as earthy. The sweetness is unique and stands out, and you may enjoy it.

Best Goat Breeds For Milk Production

Below are the 26 best goat breeds for milk production in the world.

It is found that exotic dairy breeds perform better in their regions of origin. So as a farmer, it is advised that you go for the dairy goat that adapts to your region’s climates and can produce very well without the climatic conditions affecting it.

1. Saanen

Saanen is the queen of dairy goats. It is the world’s highest milk-producing goat. It originated in Switzerland and was exported to various parts of the world in the 1990s because of its high milk production rate.

Presently you can find Saanen in large quantities in the United States, with the does weighing between 110 and 200 pounds and the bucks between 175 and 265 pounds.

  • Lactation length: 292 per year
  • Milk production: 2015 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Average lifespan: 10-15 years

2. The Nigerian Dwarf Goat

The Nigerian dwarf goats are miniature dairy goats that weigh around 50 pounds. The Nigerian Dwarf offers milk containing a very high butterfat content, which is said to be the sweetest goat’s milk in the world.

  • Lactation length: 305 per year
  • Milk production: 795 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Average lifespan: 15-20 years

3. Toggenburg

Toggenburg is the oldest breed of dairy goats resident in the United States. as his name depicts, the Toggenburg goat originates from the Toggenburg valley in Switzerland.

They are polled with erect, short ears. The bucks weigh around 145 pounds, and the does around 100 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 292 per year
  • Milk production: 1620-1920 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Lifespan: 8 to 12 years

4. Chamoisee

Swiss Chamoisee, the American Alpine, is the second most popular dairy breed, following Saanen. They possess unique colors and patterns, making them unique from other dairy goats.

They come in different colors, including grey, black, and white, and patterns, which include spotted, cou Clair, sundgau, and cou blanc. The bucks weigh about 180 pounds and the females around 132 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 278 per year
  • Milk production: 1565 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High

5. Nubian

Nubians are large dairy goats known for their excellent milk productivity and floppy ears that stand it out among other breeds of goats. The Nubian bucks weigh around 310 pounds, and the female around 240 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 288 per year
  • Milk production: 1565 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Life expectancy: 10-15 years

6. Alpine

Alpine is a Swiss dairy breed considered the best milking goat after Saanen. It comes in several colors and distinct patterns. The Alpine bucks weigh between 175 and 220 pounds, and the Alpine weigh between 135 and 200 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 288 per year
  • Milk production: 1915 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Lifespan: 8 to 13 years

7. LaMancha

LaMancha is the only dairy breed that originated and developed in the US. They are notable for their unique short ear pinnae. The does weigh around 130 pounds and bucks around 155 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 288 per year
  • Milk production: 1670 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Life expectancy: 7 to 10 years

8. Oberhasli

The Oberhasli is a medium-sized diary American goat breed that comes colored in chamois, solid brown, with black dorsal markings on some parts of the body, including the face, belly, feet, and legs.

The Oberhasli bucks weigh around 150 pounds and does around 120 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 288 per year
  • Milk production: 1600 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years

9. Barbari

Barbari is a small-medium-sized dairy goat breed in India and Pakistan. Mainly, they serve as a source of milk for their in Asian countries, but their body buildup makes them an excellent source of meat.

Usually, they feature white-colored hair with tan spots over their body. The Barbari weighs about 50 to 80 pounds while the bucks about 80 to 100 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 160-190 per day
  • Milk production: 250-342 pounds
  • Fat content: Low
  • Life span: 14-17 years

10. Beetal

Beetal is considered an excellent dairy goat which doubles for its remarkable meat production. The Beetal goat is located in India and is remarkable for its heights in which both the bucks and does feature tall medium-sized horns.

The Beetal weighs around 100 to 132 pounds, and the adult bucks weigh up to 188 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 198 per year
  • Milk production: 440 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Low
  • Life span: 12-15 years

11. Canaria

These Spanish goats serve as an excellent source of milk and meat and are located in the Canary Island in Spain. They are very hardy with good mothering ability. They have great resistance to diseases, making them a good choice among farmers.

  • Lactation days: 255 per year
  • Milk production: 1435 pounds
  • Butterfat content: High

12. Appenzell

Appenzell is a medium-sized dairy goat found in Switzerland. It is one of the rare breeds of dairy goats- the FAO listed it under endangered status. The Appenzell buck goats weigh around 140 pounds, and the Appenzell doe around 100 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 278 per year
  • Milk production: 1480 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium-High

13. Jamunapuri

Jamunapuri is a long-legged dairy breed from India and was found close to the Jamna River. They are regarded as one of the ancestors of the Anglo-Nubian breed.

The goats are renowned for their roman noses with their undershot upper jaws. Also, they are excellent for browsing and overgrazing. Their size makes them an excellent source of meat too. The Jamunapuri bucks weigh around 145 and 200 pounds. The same goes for the female Jamunapuri goat.

  • Lactation days: 220 per year
  • Milk production: 475 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Low

14. Murciana Granadina

This is a crossbreed of the mahogany-colored Murciana and the black Granadina. They are known as excellent milk producers, and their ability to breed all year round.

Due to this ability, they are greatly exported to South and Central America. The doe weighs around 110 pounds, and the buck goats around 135 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 257-270 per year
  • Milk production: 1355-2000 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium-High

15. Kilis

Kilis breed is the Turkish goat that is a mixed breed of the Damascus and Anatolian Black goats. They are notable for their horns and black hair. They mostly come in black colors, but some are gray.  

  • Lactation days: 270 per year
  • Milk production: 560 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Low

16. Malaguena

This medium-sized Spanish breed is remarkable for its high milk yield. They usually come in light red and are clothed in a medium-sized coat.

  • Lactation days: 255-260 per year
  • Milk production: 1320 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium-High

17. Ionica

Ionica is an Italian dairy goat breed with moderate milk-producing capacity and is known for its medium-sized body. Like the Nubian goats, the Ionica goats have long lop ears. Also, they possess no horns. Ionica is best kept in small herds.

  • Lactation days: 200 per year
  • Milk production: 730 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Low

18. Guadarrama

Guadarrama mountain goats are rare species of goats that are at risk of going into extinction. They are found in Madrid. Due to their size, they double as a great meat source and excellent milk producers.

  • Lactation days: 210 per year
  • Milk production: 1210 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

19. Malabari

The Malabari goat is a dairy goat that is found in Southeast India. The Malabari is a mixed breed goat from dairy goats in Southeast India with dairy breeds from Northern India.

They are small-sized goats and come in various colors, and both sexes have horns. The Malabari bucks weigh about 90 pounds, and the Malabari doe about 70 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 181-210 per year
  • Milk production: 110-440 pounds

20. Poitevine

Poitevine, also called Poitou, is a medium-sized French breed that does well in temperate regions. The goats are regarded as the largest milk producers in France after French Alpine and Sannen.

Their bodies are covered in brown and black short hair except for some areas, such as white bellies, legs, and regions below the tail.

  • Lactation days: 230 per year
  • Milk production: 1150 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

21. Damascus

Damascus is the best dairy breed in the Eastern Mediterranean region and is quite prolific. The Damascus goats are tall with Roman noses and long shaggy reddish-brown hair.

The Damascus buck has long, twisted horns, while the females’ horns are sickle-shaped. The Damascus males weigh around 190 pounds, and females around 145 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 255 per year
  • Milk production: 1125 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

22. Serrana

Serrana is a Portugal medium-sized breed of dairy goats that are mostly kept in small herds. The Serrana goats have horns, beards, and wattles and are covered in red-brownish hairs.

  • Lactation days: 240 per year
  • Milk production: 770 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

23. Maltese

Maltese is an Italian dairy goat breed that originates from the island of Malta. They normally come in white colors covered with long hair, but in a few cases, you can see some in various colors with short or long hair.

The Maltese buck weighs an average of 101 pounds, while the female Maltese 155 pounds.

  • Lactation days: 200 per year
  • Milk production: 980 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

24. Girgentana

This is an Italian medium-sized dairy goat with a high milk production level. They have unique corkscrew-like long horns pointing vertically upwards, which stands them out among other Italian breeds.

  • Lactation days: 200 per year
  • Milk yield: 770 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium-Low

25. Nordic

The Nordic dairy goats are found in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. They have erect ears, short legs, and saber-shaped horns (some are pollen).

They come in a variety of colors. However, brown seems to be the most common. Also, they are covered in long hair.

  • Lactation days: 275 per year
  • Milk production: 1430 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Medium

26. Garganica

This is a small, hardy breed that serves a dual function – both milk and meat. Their body is covered with long black hair. They have straight faces with beards and longhorns that are twisted backward.

  • Lactation days: 200 per year
  • Milk production: 475 pounds
  • Butterfat content: Low

Which Goat has the Sweetest Milk?

The Nigerian Dwarf goat has the sweetest milk with a butterfat content ranging from 6-10%, while most goats have a butterfat content of 2-6%.

Butterfat gives milk goat milk its sweet flavor; as such, it is regarded as the richest and sweetest of all dairy goats.

How often should I milk my Goat?

You can milk a goat twice daily; it should be 12 hours apart. However, it would be best to wait until the kids are fully weaned to start milking.

You can start milk after 4-6 weeks when the goats have put to birth. Here, you can only milk once, which is in the morning. Remove the kids at night or early hours of the morning, milk the demand return the kids afterward.

Conclusion

Dairy goats are excellent breeds of goats. In choosing a dairy goat, go for the one allowed legally in your region, and it should adapt perfectly to your climate.

One major thing to consider is the cost of breeding. Some of them are less resistant to disease, making them very prone to fall ill, which means you will be spending extra on medical care.

Some require large accommodations, more food, and daily care. Carefully examine all these factors before choosing any. Goats are long-term investments, so you wouldn’t want to make a mistake.

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  1. Hi Mark Lockett, I am from Ethiopia a country where every human being originated. I appreciate all your excellent works; I wants to follow your passion please share great works and help me to be a good goat farmer