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October 22, 2018
When we first started our dairy goat herd, we had a lot to learn about which goat breed was the best fit for our needs and the New England climate. Keeping all our needs in mind, we set out to learn about the six large breeds of dairy goats: Alpine, Lamancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, and Toggenburg. After educating ourselves, we now have exclusively have one breed on the farm: Nubian. After learning about Nubians, for us, this wasn’t a hard choice at all! Want to know why we chose this specific breed? Keep reading below!
Nubians, also known as “Buttermilk Goats” or “Anglo-Nubians”, were first bred in England in the 1920-1930s. Nubians have long, floppy ears and are one of largest of dairy goats. Because they weigh more and are meatier, sometimes they are used for meat. We personally use our goat herd for milk only. There are various color combinations which can result in attractive mottled, marbled or tortoiseshell coats.
Milk Production: this is important as Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap depends on quality goat milk year round for our products!
Compared to other breeds, the milk of the Nubian goat is high in both butterfat and protein with tests showing an average of 4.5% of butterfat and 3.8% protein. Nubians have one of the largest fat contents of all goat breeds at 5%. They can also produce 0.5-1.5 gallons of milk per day! Despite not being the highest milk producer breed, Nubians produce milk year-round. Speaking of milk, their teats are the perfect distance from a bucket and small children are able to help milk. (Check out Meysha hard at work HERE!)
Breeding: we rely on our best milkers reproducing to grow our herd.
A typical “in heat” period (meaning the goat is fertile and able to be bred) occurs every 21 days for 1-3 days. Generally, this cycle is most prevalent from August-January, but they can be bred year-round. A pregnancy lasts 150 days or 5 months. We bred our goats to give birth in March; to learn more about baby goats or kids, check out this blog. Nubians can produce kids for their entire lifespan, usually 10-12 years. Nubians are like a fine wine and improve with age, sometimes breeding past the typical 10-12 years! It’s common for a Nubian dam (mother goat) to carry twins, triplets or even quadruplets when well managed.
Temperament: we treat our goats like family pets and love that they eat up the attention!
Nubians are “well-mannered” as long as they are fed, watered, and sheltered. If they are being vocal, that means something is off (like a predator in their pen or an injury). Nubians are extremely intelligent and once they have learned the correct way to do something, they are able to complete the task on their own. Our goats know how to walk to the milking stanchion, jump on and wait to be milked. Nubians are very calm and affectionate as well as trusting and accepting of human companionship – traits hard to find in other breeds. Nubians are known to “call” to their humans by bleating and communicate their needs (such as food or water).
We love our Nubian goats as much as you love Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap products (and that’s A LOT!). We have been in business for several years now and are very happy with the breed of goat we originally chose. What’s the most interesting Nubian fact that you learned from this blog? Let us know below!
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