At the heart of dairy goat farming are the goats. These animals are the smallest ruminants humans have ever domesticated. Goats have been producing milk and meat for human consumption longer than sheep and cattle. These animals are also tough, surviving in arid, tropical and mountainous regions. Today, goats are continuously domesticated all over the world as a form of livelihood.
In the global perspective, there are more people consuming goat’s milk than cow’s milk. The better texture of goat milk is primarily because the fat globules are smaller than cow’s milk. This aids in the digestion of milk, especially for people with sensitive stomach. Further, dairy goat farming is saved from too much feed because goats eat a variety of foliage. They are able to select nutritious parts of the plants. Thus, goats as tough survivors and can be seen living places where other livestock cannot.
Most efforts to improve dairy goat farming are focused on producing more and better milk. To do this, breed and animal health are given special attention. Particular breeds are more valuable as milk producers. The most common high milk producing goats are the Saanen, Toggenburg, Anglo Nubian, Alpine and Oberhasli. Each of these has different physical characteristics and lives at different optimum conditions.
In animal health, internal parasitic control is currently at the center of research because parasitic diseases often lead to sickly animals and low milk yield. Proper nutrition is also very important that’s why what is fed to the goats is given considerable thought. Climate and weather are two other dictating factors on the quality and amount of milk. Goats can survive drought better than cows and sheep, but their milk production will also be less during dry periods.
In dairy goat farming, milking is done once to twice a day at least 12 hours apart. A single doe can give an average of 2 liters of milk per day. Noncommercial farms can manually milk goats. More advanced commercial companies have mechanical machines to do this job.
Dairy goats usually end up as meat after they are no longer economically viable for milk production. Exceptions are when the goats die or when they are killed for other reasons.
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by Ted Allen