Introduction: The Damascus goat is also known as Shami, Aleppo, Halep, Baladi, and Damascene. It is a native breed of Syria and other Near East countries. For over 40 years it has been better through genetic selection for milk and meat. Other names of Damascus are Shami, Baladi, Aleppo, Halep. Damascene or Chami.
When the Damascus goat is born, they have long ears that have an outward twist like they have flicked them out. They have fluffy coats are generally two-toned with various shades of reddish-brown and blond. There is a strange twist to these Damascus goats though when they are fully grown, they go from being the cutest goat to what has been called “The Monster” goat.
A guide to Damascus goat Profile, History and Advantages
Damascus goats in India are used to crossbreed with Boer goats and Sirohi goats. The Damascus goat has been a popular selection for livestock for centuries due to its multi-purpose (meat, milk, and leather) advantage. The main advantage of Damascus breed is it can deliver 3 to 4 kids in a single birth. Damascus breeds (Mix-breed) are found in different parts of Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Damascus breed raised in the region of Syria and Lebanon, primarily for milk production. They are of the Nubian type and are generally red or brown but can also be seen in pied or grey. These animals can be either horned or polled and are long-haired.
Damascus breed history
The Damascus is a multi-purpose goat historically providing its owner with milk, meat, hair, and fine leather. If she receives proper care and quality feed the doe can generate large quantities of milk, and many are particularly noted for their ability to kid triplets or even quadruplets.
Damascus milk has proven to be markedly rich in protein and fat. Damascus milk quality and composition changes according to the food and feed the doe receives. The ability to generate milk under the radically, rapidly changing weather conditions and the relatively high amounts of milk solids found in her milk has made Damascus the preferred goat breed of the Middle East.
The Damascus breed is a native breed of the Middle East, and it has been raised in big herds throughout the region. These goats were exported by the British at some time in the 19th Century. Damascus was mentioned in many classics of Arabic literature. The breed appears in the religions and folklore of the region as well. Because of being noble and having striking characteristics, Damascus was used for creating many other goat breeds. And there has been interesting in the breeding and genetics of this Damascus goat.
The Damascus goat milk is typically cultured to produce labneh, Leben, yogurt, and other fresh cheeses for home use, and often these products are marketed locally to supplement the family income.
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Characteristics of Damascus goats
The Damascus goat has a reddish-brown color coat consisting mostly of long hair. White spots on the body, legs, and face, although not common, may appear on the animal. The black coat color is extremely rare and can appear as a result of the presence of a recessive gene in the population. The Damascus goat ears are long and pendulous measuring between 27 cm and 32 cm in length. Damascus goat is a rather large breed measuring 78 cm at withers, with a body circumference of 97 cm to 99 cm and an adult live weight of about 65±5 kg for the female and 75±5 kg for the male.
To generate a modern doe which both represents the original ancient beauty and the utilitarian advantages of the Damascus, we must pay great attention to the development of a well-attached, wide udder, velvety smooth on the outside and soft from within. We choose for teats that point downward and not to the sides since both hand and machine milking is done in a downward direction. Proper teat placement means that no milk is left in the lower part of the udder. When the teats are pointing sideways, one should push with the hands every milking to get the last ½ liter of milk.
In our country, until recently, the choice of does base on proper teat placement and structure has been largely ignored and the area given most attention has remained the head. Even today a doe with a nice head will sell for more money than an excellent dairy goat with a less typical head – even if she gives less milk.
Recording daily milk yields and keeping individual production records is a very new phenomenon in our local goat industry. In contrast to our well-established dairy cattle industry where we can most precisely rank dairy bull performance, our dairy goat industry is in its infancy. Most bucks used to date have not sired enough daughters to allow us to accurately measure their breeding value.
The main important distinguishing factor and mark of the excellence of both buck and doe is their ability to pass on his or her good traits to their offspring. When making breeding choices, one should always be certain that the buck and doe do not share identical faults to not strengthen these faults in future generations.
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The profile of Damascus goats
This goat breed hails from Syria and other Near Middle Eastern countries
Breed Size – Large
Main Purpose – Milk and also used for Breeding, Meat, Milk, and Pets
Color – They are generally a reddish-brown, but there are quite a few color variations including a silver-white, white, fawn and grey.
The female (doe) must appear finer than the male (buck), with the long and fine neck indicative of good dairy character. Both fore and hind legs must appear strong, but correspondingly finer and more delicate than the males.
The doe should have a well-developed digestive system with a large rumen allowing for large food capacity. A heavy, meaty doe will utilize her food for meat creation rather than milk production.
The buck’s power, strength, and size must be immediately apparent. The head must be very typical, with a strikingly convex foreface and an especially expressive eye (white color preferred). The ears should be very long and made of soft flexible skin, carried close to the head, and fall downward.
Overall, the buck’s body structure must show more massive muscling than that of the doe. One should look for large, well-developed testicles with a squarer build and largest development at the bottom. All four limbs must appear broad and powerful with strong hooves, preferably dark in color.
Physical characteristics of Damascus goat
Weight of Doe – 132 lbs. and Buck – 198 lbs.
Height of Doe – 198 lbs. and Buck – About 80 cm at withers
Hair of Doe – Medium to long hair and Buck – Medium to long hair
Ears of Doe are very long and droop down from the head and the ears of Buck are the same length and style as the females. Although they are usually cropped on the show goats
Damascus goats with long, protruding lower jaws find it more difficult to nurse and graze; animals displaying this characteristic are less acceptable. Very long ears are placed at the upper side of the skull and fall downward at the sides of the head. The Damascus head size must be in correct proportion to the body and attached to a long, highly carried neck. Too large of a head lessens the nobility of the Damascus.
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