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Choosing A Goat Breed

November 14, 2023

Are you considering keeping goats? Goats weren’t always as welcomed as they are now. They were first brought to Hawaii in the 18th century by the explorer James Cook. Upon arriving, Billy immediately took to eating natural vegetation in the Volcanoes National Park. The feral goats descended from those goats are still causing issues today. However, many farmers are finding the goat—or kao—a great addition. Before purchasing a goat, it’s important to do some breed research. An Upcountry Maui vet offers some insight on this below.


The first thing you’ll want to do is decide what you want the goats for. Goats are often kept for milk or meat, but they’re also used by landscaping companies. Of course, some people just like to keep the kao as a pet, or perhaps as a buddy for horses or cows.


You’ll need to figure out how much room you can dedicate to your goats. The larger the goat, the more room you’ll need! For example, Alpines need more space than a Nigerian Dwarf goat or Pygmy. The Tennesee Meat Goat, or Fainting Goat, also requires a good amount of room.


Goat milk makes absolutely delicious cheese. This is in and of itself sufficient motivation for many people to consider keeping them. If milk is your main goal, then you’ll want to look at milk production. Some goats that rank well in this area include the Saanen, Alpine, and Lamancha. The Saanen can produce up to three gallons a day: that’s more than enough for the average family. However, you’ll also want to consider the milk quality, which varies from breed to breed. The Oberhasli, or Swiss Alpine, produces a sweet milk. African Pygmy goats also produce great milk.

Cute Factor

There’s no denying that goats are really fun to have around. They’re also really cute! If you’re looking for a pet or a companion animal for your livestock, you may find that some of the more adorable goat breeds, such as the Nubian, Kiko, and Boer, are a good match for you. 


Regardless of what breed you decide on, it’s important to choose healthy goats. Go through a reputable breeder. You may also want to consider crossbreeds, or mixes. Your vet will be able to offer you specific care tips, including advice on feeding and housing Billy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s why we’re here!

Do you have questions about caring for goats? Contact us, your local Upcountry Maui pet hospital, today!

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