There are many small animals that you can rear on your small holding. Goats are one of the most rewarding, because the does are prolific milkers and their meat is a low-fat source of protein.
If it is the milk you are interested in, then this video is perfect for you. Goat milk offers so many benefits, it can usually be consumed by those allergic to cow’s milk and the high fat content makes it suitable for cheese and soap making.
Here is our list of 5 dairy goat breeds that you can rear on your small holding.
This Swiss breed is one of the most common goats reared for milk. They have short, white coats and are generally very docile and easier to manage compared to some of the other more rambunctious breeds, provided they have ample space to roam on. On average, Saanen does can produce 3 litres of milk per day with a fat content between 2 and 3%. These goats tolerate cooler conditions better than warmer ones so consider this breed if you live in colder climates.
In the United States, Nubian goats are the most common dairy breed. These goats have long, pendulous ears and are available in a variety of colours. Whilst comparing milk production between different breeds can be at times unreliable, Nubian does generally produce less milk compared to other breeds. However, the high fat content of the milk makes it one of very high quality perfect for cheese, butter and soap making.
With their black and white coats, Alpine goats are easy to identify. This breed is also capable of adapting to a range of climates. Generally, they can produce large volumes of quality milk with a high fat content, making them favourites among cheesemakers. Be careful when selecting a variety of Alpine, as some of them can be more difficult to manage, like the British Alpine for example, which should be considered only by experienced goat rearers.
Unlike the other goat breeds on this list, the Nigerian Dwarfs reach shoulder heights of around only 57cm. This makes them perfect for those who want to rear goats on a smaller piece of land. Despite their small size, the does can produce between 1 and 3 litres of milk a day. Their milk is of excellent quality, having a high fat and protein content. These goats adapt easily to a range of environments. Be sure to erect sturdy fencing with a fine mesh to prevent the young kids from escaping their enclosures.
This a rare breed of goat that hails from the Channel Islands in the United Kingdom. While these does produce less milk compared to other breeds, they require far less food and are therefore suited to rearing on smaller areas. The milk has an excellent fat and protein content and is therefore perfect for cheese and yoghurt makers. These goats have a docile nature and can be reared in enclosures or free-range.