Alpine Goat Farming – How To Start, Breed Profile

Introduction on How to Start Alpine Goat Farming, and Breed Characteristics: Alpine goats are originated in the French Alps and these are medium- to large-sized goats that are known for their good milking ability. You can buy different types of Alpine breeds, but you must know what to look for. Also, you want to know how to properly take care of them. The Alpine goat breed is among the most popular dairy goat breeds. It is one of the best breeds for commercial dairy breeds and raised for commercial milk production. It is also one of the best-proven successful goat breeds. The Alpine breed is a French breed commonly found in Switzerland. The average life span of the Alpine breed is 8-13 years. The Alpine goat milk is rich in niacin, calcium, and vitamin A, the fat content is about 3 to 4 %. Its hair is medium to short. In this article we also covered the below topics about Alpine goats;

  • Why are Alpine goats important
  • What are the Alpine goats used for
  • How much space do Alpine goats need
  • How big do Alpine goats get
  • How long do Alpine goats live
  • How do you care for an Alpine goat breed
  • What are the characteristics of the Alpine goat
  • Amount of milk does an Alpine goat produce per day

Alpine goat milk is used for making cheese, soaps, butter, and ice cream. Its milk and meat have a huge domestic demand. If you want an excellent milking breed, try the Alpine dairy goat breeds. They are the highest producing milkers, with top goats producing up to 2 gallons per day. These Alpine goats have high nutritional needs because of the huge amount of milk they produce. In European and American countries, commercial Alpine goat farming is a popular business. It is a dairy goat breed and popular for its milk production. Alpine goat breed is suitable for both small-scale and commercial production.

A Guide on How to Start Alpine Goat Farming, Alpine Goat Breed Characteristics, Alpine Goat Profile, and Alpine Goat Facts

Alpine Goat Facts
Alpine Goat (Image credit: pixabay)

The breed range from below average to average in size and can live for up to 14 years. Its milk is vitamin-efficient and rich in protein. Usually, female Alpine goats are shorter and smaller than their male counterparts.

Alpine Goat Characteristics

  • Country of Origin – Alpine goat originated in the Alps.
  • Type – Dairy breed.
  • Hair – Short to medium length hair with different colors like gray, brown, black, red, or various shadings.
  • Face and Ear Type – It has a straight or slightly dished face. Alpine goat ears are medium-sized and fine-textured.
  • Important Traits – Hardy and adaptable animals that thrive in any climate conditions.
  • Weight – Does: 130 lbs+; Bucks: 170 lbs+
  • Height at withers: Does: 30 inches; Bucks: 35 inches
  • The average amount of milk per day – 1 to 2 gallons
  • Butterfat content – 3.5%
  • Average Daily Milk Yield in the Tropics (kg.) – 0.9 to 1.3 with 3.6% fat.
  • Alpine Goats Color and Horn Character – Color varies from black to white to black. They can be horned or polled when present is of the curved type.

Other Characteristics – The Alpine Goat is valued first for its milk production. It has erect ears and a straight nose. Alpine goat breed is mostly adapted to mountainous areas and in tropical environments. The average live weight is about 60 to 65 kg and the breed is not suited in areas of high humidity.

The Alpine goat breed is a large breed of dairy goat. We used to raise Alpines and found them to have gentle dispositions and high production rates throughout the year. 

Alpines are a medium to large size breed. Their hair ranges from short to medium and they come in a different variety of colors.

They have a hardy nature and can adapt to any climate conditions easily. Alpine goats have erect ears that come in all colors and combinations of colors. Alpines are ready to breed at about 4 to 5 months of age for bucks and 5 to 6 months for does.

Colors of Alpine Goats

Alpine goats are available in several colors like white, black, grey, and brown. There are available in several different color patterns found in breed registries that include Cou noir, Cou Blanc, Sundgau, and Pied. French Alpines, British Alpines, and Rock Alpines can be available in almost any color.

There are several typical color patterns;

  • Cou Blanc – White neck and shoulders with glossy black color hindquarters
  • Chamoisée – Tan, red, bay, or brown with black color on the head, back, and hind legs
  • Sundgau – Black and white color markings on face and underside
  • Pied – Spotted or mottled
  • Cou Clair – White front with black color hindquarters
  • Cou Noir – Black front with white color hindquarters

Advantages and Disadvantages of Alpine Goat Farming

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Advantages of Alpine Goats
Advantages of Alpine Goats (pic source: pixabay)
  • Alpine goat breeds are primarily dairy goats. Alpine goats are known for their rich dairy production, long lactation, and high-quality milk output. Relatively their milk has low-fat content and an average fat percent.
  • Alpine goat breed is referred to as one of the top goat dairy producers. For the best dairy production, the optimal weight is about 135 pounds. It will continue to produce high-quality milk if they receive proper nutrition and disease control. Also, farmers must keep in mind that proper milking procedures are essential.
  • Alpine goat farming business is a great profitable business. The capital required for this business is comparatively less compared to other business opportunities. Even you can start a goat farming business with a little number of goats. With proper care and management of Alpine goats, you can grow your farming business to the next level within one year or two years.
  • Goats generally produce kids more than once a year. So, if you start with a few goats then you will be able to grow the farming business successfully.
  • Goats require housing or sheltering facilities less than other livestock animals.
  • It is easy to maintain goats. Therefore, the maintenance costs are also less.
  • Goats require less labor cost.

Disadvantages of Alpine Goat Farming

  • Alpine goats can be energetic and can easily get past fences. Therefore, the best way to keep them contained is to tie them down.

Different Types of Alpine Goats

There are several types of Alpine goats. Firstly, you have to select a type of Alpine goat for starting this business. There are many different types of Alpine goats available. The most important Alpine goat types are American Alpine, British Alpine, French Alpine, and Swiss Alpine goats.

American Alpine Goats – This breed is an American original. This is the crossbreeding of French or American Alpines. This has brought in genetics from several breeds.

British Alpine – The goat must be rangy with a short fine coat. Though, the overall effect is a most impressive animal when the black color coat acquires its summer gloss. It is a tall and graceful dairy-type animal with a straight facial line. The average height is about 83 cm for does and 95 cm for bucks measured at the withers. It is often used as a dairy animal as they are a medium to heavy producer with a fat yield of 3 to 4%. These goats prefer more temperate climate conditions and don’t do well in places where there is high humidity.

French Alpine –French Alpine Goat breeds are hardy animals. They can tolerate a wide variety of climate conditions and can subsist on even poor graze. French Alpine Goat breed will lose points if it has a Roman nose or any coloring or markings resembling the Toggenburg Goat breed.

Swiss Alpine goats – Swiss Alpine goat breed came from the Brienzer region of Switzerland. They are also called Oberhasli.

Alpine Goat Milk Production

Alpine goats are rated as one of the top milk-producing breeds. An average-sized Alpine goat can produce approximately 2,134 lbs of milk per lactation. Alpine goat milk has a low protein content that means every 250 ml of milk containing about 2.3 g of protein. Its milk is considered a healthier choice because it has an average fat content of about 3.4%.

Alpine Milk per Day – Alpine goats supply a lot of milk per day that is averaging at 1 gallon or 3.8 liters per day.

Facts about Alpine Goats

  • The mature Alpine goat weighs up to 55 to 60 kg. The breed gets mature for kidding in 4 to 7 months. They give birth to 1to 3 kids at a time and twinning is common.
  • Alpine goat is one of the expensive breeds for commercial purposes type.  
  • Alpine goats have a balanced diet because they have high nutritional needs. Goats are very high jumpers, therefore, to raise these breed farmers should build tall fences around their shelter. The milk prices are expensive for this breed than any other breed, because of high nutrient content. Also, the meat prices differ by a large margin.
  • Goat milk is very beneficial in several diseases. It fights inflammation, strengthens bones, and also acts as a good metabolic agent. So, for countries like India which is often affected by many diseases, regular availability of goat milk becomes a necessity.
  • Alpine goat breed is an excellent breed. Government must consider promoting Alpine goat farming in the country by giving subsidies to the farmers.

Housing and Shelter for Alpine Goats

  • On average about 12 square feet of housing space per goat will be enough for Alpine breeds. If you are willing to raise your goats in a stall-fed goat farming system, then you will need about 20 to 30 square feet of playing space for each goat.
  • Raised house (which is above the ground) is considered a good choice for raising Alpine goats. Also, you can raise them in a deep litter system. Just ensure a dry and clean housing environment for your goats. Ensure a good ventilation system and also ensure the flow of a sufficient amount of fresh air and light.
  • It is remembering that try to make the house comfortable for the goats. Also, keep all the required equipment inside the house. Clean the house regularly and then always try to keep the house dry.

How Much Space Do You Require For A sleeping Area For Alpine Goats?

Goats like to sleep together in small groups, and the actual sleeping location they need can be quite a bit smaller than their living area. All goats are hardy creatures, but they do require a good shelter to protect them from problems. Goats do better in colder climate conditions but they need somewhere warm to spend the night. The rule of thumb it needs approximately 10 to 15 square feet per adult standard-sized goat. A simple structure must be able to do the trick, and you should make sure that the door or opening is facing away from the prevailing winds.

Generally, goats need to be kept dry, so there are no leaks in the house structure. Always make sure that goats have somewhere dry to sleep. The house structure needs to be ventilated without being drafty since a well-ventilated space prevents many different diseases. Goats are hygienic creatures. If you plan on selling Alpine goat milk, then the shelter will want to meet specific requirements.

Usually, goats are easy to milk, but they do not like loud noises or distractions when you are milking them. It is remembering to keep the goats away from other animals when you milk them. Also, loud noises are detrimental to the milking process. That is why it would be better to build a shelter away from roads or factories. When you build the shelter for goats, be sure to give your goats some form of bedding and change it regularly. Bedding is very important if your doe is about to give birth because she needs to be as comfortable as possible when she gives birth.

Management Tips for Alpine Goat Farming

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Alpine Goat Kid
Alpine Goat Kid (pic source: pixabay)

Goats will need a dry living area, as wet pasture and goats are not often seen together. At the very least, a large run-in shed must be provided and maintained with dry bedding. With good management tips and observation, you will learn what normal behavior for individual animals is. Goats that become ill so it is good to have a baseline of normal healthy animal behave.

Temperature – The comfort zone for dairy goats is between 12 and 21°C. Milk production, feed consumption, and comfort are not affected by temperatures between -17 and 12°C, but temperature levels over 26°C seriously reduce feed intake and milk output.

Ventilation – The air movement by mechanical or natural means, to remove heat and moisture is an important part of a goat housing plan. Most pneumonia problems with dairy goat breeds can be traced to inadequate ventilation. Wet walls and ceilings are the results of improper ventilation, poor insulation, or a combination of the two things.

The air movement rate is influenced by the amount of animal heat produced and the temperature you wish to maintain in the house. Additional heat and insulation can be required to keep the stable air fresh and to prevent water pipes from freezing in the winter. An air inlet system should be provided for good air distribution. Proper ventilation during the summer season may require moving 150 to 200 cubic feet of air per minute per animal. Winter weather conditions can reduce the amount of air to be exhausted to 20 cubic feet per goat. With proper ventilation, you are protecting the goats, the building, and the quality of milk produced.

Light – Windows is necessary for a closed barn. They permit sunlight for warmth and drying and provide vitamin D for the dairy goat breeds. Usually, well-lighted barns are kept cleaner. In the summer season, open windows are important for air movement.

Tips for Alpine Goats Care

Special care and management tips for Alpine goats are described below;

  • Healthy Alpine goat requires nutritious milk and foods.
  • Mostly, Alpine goats eat organic foods such as alfalfa hay, grass, greens, and corn.
  • Female Alpine goats must be milked and fed twice a day. Bucks should be fed twice a day. It needs a warm, dry place to sleep.
  • A happy, healthy Alpine goat will produce an abundance of sweet, nutritious milk
  • It is important to take care of the young goats because it is the most important time of their life. Make sure sufficient food and milk in this period.
  • Feed the Alpine goats twice a day in the morning and evening.
  • Milk the goat timely which means twice a day, morning and in the evening. Try to milk the goats before starting eating food.
  • Keep a grazing place for them. Make a suitable and comfortable goat house for them which will keep them safe and free from several types of predators.
  • If they are caught by some diseases then contact a doctor as soon as possible.

The Importance of a Good Breeding Plan for Alpine Goats

Naturally, the Alpine goats are good breeders. Keeping 1 buck for 30 to 35 does will be good for successful breeding. Breeding stock determines the possible lifespan of a goat. Quarantine is another practice that can affect the longevity of your Alpine goats. When a new goat arrives on-farm, keep the animal housed separately for about 30 days. Then, this will give any contagious diseases and parasite issues time to develop in the newcomer. Then you can treat any issues without having exposed the entire herd to a health problem. Even perfectly healthy-looking goats can carry disease to a new herd,

Average Life Span of Alpine Goats

Usually, Alpine goats have a life span of about 8 to 12 years.

Feeding Management of Alpine Goats

By providing dairy goats with proper feeding maximize milk production and also maintain good health. When feeding dairy goats, keep these tips in mind;

  • Feed a young and mature goat enough energy to maintain constant body weight;
  • Provide enough protein, vitamins, and minerals in a balanced feeding program to maintain a healthy animal; and
  • Offer does enough extra food during gestation and lactation for milk production.

Optimum growth, good health, and high milk production are the results of good feeding practices. Dairy goats will respond to good nutritional practices and are not unique in their body requirements. Alpine goats feeding with good quality foods are very important successful business. Therefore, always try to feed your goats with high-quality feeds. Generally, goats love both greens and grains. So you have to give them both. It needs more green feeds for staying productive and green feeds are a must for milk production.

Keeping the Alpine Goats Healthy and Strong

Along with providing good shelter, the Alpine goats need additional caring tips for better growth. For keeping goats safe vaccinate Alpine goats timely. Also, remember to keep the pregnant and nursing does separate from the flock.

Routine maintenance is important for the goat’s health and longevity. Hoof care and proper goat hoof trimming allow the goat to walk without pain, or inflammation in the hoof. If you can’t perform the hoof trims yourself, and you will need someone to do it for you.

Health maintenance must be carried out on a routine basis too. This can include vaccinations or health checkups. If you will be breeding, selling kids, and showing goats some vaccines are mandatory for goats. You can choose herbal preventatives for certain internal parasites.

Alpine Goat Predators and Threats

The main predators that threaten domestic Alpine goats are wild dogs, wolves, coyotes, and other carnivores that live near the farm. If you are raising kids or mini goats, birds of prey and foxes can also occasionally be a problem. The best method to keep your Alpine goats safe is to house them in a pasture with adequate fencing and a large barn that can be locked at night.

While wild Alpine goats are incredibly rare, they do face a few threats to their current livelihood. Climate conditions change has reduced the number of cool Alpine regions where a mountain goat can comfortably live. Wild Alpine goats find themselves struggling to maintain their population numbers. Generally, these goats have a conservation status of least concern. Farmers across the world rely on these goats for sustainable dairy production, so there is no risk of losing any of these goat genetic lines.



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