Alpine Goat Breed

Alpine Goat breed is also referred to as French Alpine as they are originated from French Alps. Alpine goats long ago were the Persian goat “Pashang” which came along with human settlements to the Alps. Slowly the European herders started selective breeding for milk production and favorite colors. This resulted in the best breed for milk yields of about 3 to 4 liters a day. Commercial dairy’s favorite goat breed is Alpine goats. Alpine goats have friendly temperament and are docile.

Physical characteristics of the Alpine goat

  1. Alpine goats are a medium to large-sized breed.
  2. Alpine Bucks are over 81 cm (32 in) tall at the withers and Alpine Does are over 76 cm (30 in) tall at the withers.
  3. Alpine goats come in all different colors.
  4. Goat’s hair is short to medium in length.
  5. The only breed with erect ears is Alpine goat breed.
  6. The ears are medium size and fine-textured.
  7. The beard of adult bucks is also quite pronounced.
  8. The Alpine goat weight of an adult Bucks and Does are 77 kg and 61 kg respectively.
  9. The breeding of Doe is only after it attains a weight of 75-80 lbs.
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Production characteristics of the Alpine goat

The growth rate, milk yield, milk composition and reproductive(kidding) efficiency of Alpine goats are high.

1. Growth rate

  • The Alpine goat weight of an adult Bucks and Does are 77 kg and 61 kg respectively.

2. Milk yield

  • The milk yield ranges from 3 to 4 liters a day with an average of 900 liters in a lactation period of 284 days.
  • Alpine goats milk fat percentage is 3.4%
  • Alpine goats’ milk has 2.3 g of protein per 250 ml
  • The Alpine goat’s milk is richer, creamier and filled with proteins.
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3. Reproductive efficiency(kidding)

  • The sexual maturation rate among Alpine goats bucks is at four to five months after birth and five to six months after birth for doe kids.
  • Alpine goats give birth to around 2 to 4 per kidding.
  • The gestation period in Alpine goat on an average is 150 days.
  • The breeding of Doe is only after it attains a weight of 75-80 lbs.

Advantages of Alpine Goat

  1. Higher milk yields around 3 to 4 liters a day.
  2. Alpine milk has a high cheese yield because of good butterfat and protein content.
  3. Alpine goats are hardy animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production.

Alpine goat colors

Alpine goats come in many different color patterns with fancy French names.

  • Cou Blanc – literally “white neck” – white front quarters and black hindquarters with black or gray markings on the head.
  • Cou Clair –  Literally “clear neck” – front quarters are tan, saffron, off-white, or shading to gray with black hindquarters.
  • Cou Noir – literally “black neck” – Black front quarters and white hindquarters.
  • Sundgau – black with white markings such as the underbody, facial stripes, etc.
  • Pied – spotted or mottled.
  • Chamoisee – brown or bay – characteristic markings are the blackface, dorsal stripe, feet and legs and sometimes a martingale running over the withers and down to the chest.
  • Two-tone Chamoisee – light front quarters with brown or gray hindquarters. This is not a cou blanc or cou clair as these terms are reserved for animals with black hindquarters.
  • Broken Chamoisee – a solid chamoisee broken with another color by being banded or splashed, etc.
  • Any variation in the above patterns broken with white should be described as a broken pattern such as a broken cou blanc.
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How do you care for an Alpine goat?

  1. Alpine goats breed is famous for milk production. Alpine goats are one of the top milk producers, alongside Saanen and Toggenburg goats.
  2. After 4 to 6 weeks of kidding, the milk production will be in peak.
  3. The milk yield ranges from 2.5 to 4 liters a day with an average of 900 liters in a lactation period of 284 days.
  4. Alpine goats milk fat percentage is 3.4%
  5. Alpine goats’ milk has 2.3 g of protein per 250 ml
  6. The factors for optimal milk production in Alpine goats are
  7. Feed the Alpine goats twice a day, morning and evening with nutrient-rich food.
  8. Alfalfa hay is always a good option for keeping Alpines healthy.
  9. After milking it should be refrigerated at about 4-degree Celsius. Proper refrigeration can keep milk fresh for 3 weeks.

Alpine goat breeds

There are multiple Alpine breeds,

1. French Alpines

The goats from the French Alpine. All the pure bread alpines which are imported by the United States are the French Alpine. French Alpine is also called as ‘Alpine polychrome‘ meaning of many colors.

2. Swiss Alpines

Swiss alpine goats are now called as Oberhasli. The color of the coat is red-brown. The Oberhasli comes from the Brienzer region of Switzerland near Bern.

3. Rock Alpines

Mary E. Rock of California acquired few Alpine goats from 1904 to 1922 which resulted in breeding to form Rock Alpines. These were the best in shows and milking competitions.

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4. American Alpines

America Alpines are the cross of common American goats and imported Swiss Alpines. American Alpines produce a high volume of milk. They form a large population of American goats. Their popularity increased due to the high production of milk.

Brief characteristics of Alpine goat

Breed NameAlpine goat
Other NameFrench Alpine, American alpine, British alpine
Country/Place of OriginFrance
Breed PurposeDairy breed
Breed Sizemedium to large-size
Weight
Buck(Male)    
77 kg 
Doe(Female)61 kg
Kiddingtwins and quadruple  are common
Milk Yield3 to 4 liters a day
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing  and Stall-fed
Climate ToleranceAll Climates

Reference:

Briggs, Hilton M and D.M. Briggs. 1980. Modern Breeds of Livestock. Fourth Edition, MacMillan Company

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