In the U.S., a growing number of Indian, Caribbean and ethnic dishes has sparked an increase in goat meat demand. With almost 75 percent of the world’s population consuming goat meat, goat meat is one of the most eaten meats in the world.
In the United States, goat meat, as in other countries, is not widely available. It is often regarded and ignored as an exotic meat.
Goat meat is nutritious and very sustainable for producing goats. These two variables have helped increase the population of meat goats. Many of the brushy, weedy plants which other livestock leave behind are eaten by goats. Typically, once they have found it, they leave the land in better condition.
Many people associate a tough and pungent taste with goat meat. That’s not the case. Goat meat is rather mild-flavored and can be very tender. In older goats that are culled from the herd, an exception to this is seen; these goats are harder, but usually more juicy and tasty.
Goat meat is a red meat that is very nutritious. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is almost as low in calories as chicken meat, too!
What are goats with meat?
Meat goats are goats raised primarily for the processing of meat. It is important to remember when buying goats that there are breeds that excel in meat production, while others excel in milk or mohair production (fiber from Angora goats). Then, there are breeds known to be dual-purpose. Dual-purpose goats are breeds that are excellent at both the processing of meat and milk.
For this article, the focus is on goats that excel in the production of meat. You can learn about the breeds of dairy goats here.
Production Characteristics of Breeds of Meat Goats
Meat goat breeds have certain characteristics that render them more competitive than other breeds. These traits are called traits of development.
There are pieces of data and information on the goat and the breeds that can be calculated. Goats that have good production characteristics are more likely than those that have poor production characteristics to produce more meat for you.
Adaptability, reproductive rate, growth rate and carcass characteristics are the traits that are important for meat goats.
Adaptability is a major concern when it comes to raising goats for meat. Adaptability defines the ability of the breed to live in an environment or circumstances that are not like the climate or circumstances where the breed was produced.
In hot and dry climates, many goat breeds are well-suited. In fact, the climate in most of the U.S. is too wet for most goats. For certain goats, wet climates can lead to health problems, including hoof rot. In a climate distinct from its natural habitat, a breed that is highly adaptable would be more likely to survive.
You might expect a South African Boer goat here in the U.S. to behave differently than they would in South Africa. In either climate, a goat that is adaptable won’t show much difference in production.
Look for adaptable individuals from herds raised in climates similar to yours that have few health issues if you live somewhere that is unlike the environment in which the breed was created.
The best breeds of goat meat also important in terms of raising meat goats is the reproductive rate. The single most significant trait that you can look at in meat goats is the reproductive rate. It involves the rate of conception, the kidding rate and the capacity to breed out of season.
Goats typically do not have reproduction problems and have very high rates of pregnancy and kidding rates. Reproductive traits are strongly inheritable, which means that they will behave very close to the success of their mothers. Her capacity to give birth to triplets is very high if a goat is born as a triplet.
You may assume that raising one child at a time makes more sense for the mother. Studies have shown that it does appear to weigh more than twin or triplet children when one child is born. If the mother can raise them to weaning, however, you can generate more pounds of meat overall than if she had only raised one child.
Look for does that not only birth twins and triplets while looking at breeding animals, but raised them to weaning. Ask how the mother behaved to get an idea of how the doe would behave if you’re looking at a doe that hasn’t bred yet.
Rate of Growth
Another big meat goat characteristic is the growth rate. When looking at growth rates, there are two things to consider:
Will you be selling weaning kids? OR Are you selling older babies?
If you’re planning to sell weaning infants, then you’ll be interested in the growth rate of pre-weaning. This is simply a characteristic that represents the mother’s ability and her potential for nursing. If you’re holding children beyond weaning, then concentrate on growth rates after weaning. This is the rate of growth that suggests something about the genetic growth potential of the child.
Characteristics of Carcass
Compare a side-by-side meat goat and a dairy goat. You will find that there is considerably more muscle in meat goats than in milk goats. Since you are raising them for meat, this is necessary. Dual-purpose breeds, somewhere in between, tend to fall.
Meat goats have a higher muscle/bone ratio than milk goats.
The best breeds of goat meat
What kind of breed of goat is good for meat?
There are several popular goat breeds that produce quality goat meat. The best breed is going to be the one that suits you the best. There is a lot of demand for the meat goat market and not enough goats to meet the demand.
There are goats raised all over the world for meat. A lot of races and types of meat goats are available. I’m going to cover the most famous ones in the U.S. and a few notable hybrids and other breeds after that.
How many goat breeds are there for meat?
There are several breeds and hybrids of goat meat. Goats are used for meat and milk in many parts of the world where goat meat is eaten daily. There are many famous and notable meat goat breeds in the United States, including the Spanish, Kiko, Boer, Texmaster and Myotonic.
The Spanish goat was introduced to the Caribbean from Spain as early as the 1500s. These goats were then brought to the United States and Mexico.
In the Americas, Spanish goats prospered and were used as sources of meat, milk and hide. Everywhere the Spanish went, their usefulness took them. The goats that were used for meat allowed any cattle that had to be used as useful draught animals by settlers.
In the United States, the number of purebred Spanish goats is relatively low and many people do not know that Spanish goats are actually a breed. It is possible to use the word ‘Spanish goat’ to identify mixed goat herds found in the Southwest U.S. or brush goats found in the Southeast U.S.
In the United States, early Spanish goats were often crossed with dairy goats imported from Europe. This led to a substantial degree of variation in Spanish goats.
Some goats in Spain weigh as little as 50 pounds, while others weigh up to 200 pounds. Examples of species that were raised exclusively for meat are the larger Spanish goats.
Spanish goats are uniquely adaptable and hardy. In rough conditions and scarce, brushy forage, they will prosper. They are long-lived and continue to be active.
Usually, Spanish goats are horned. The horns on the dollar are always broad and distorted. The ears are wide and the head is held horizontally. In any colour variation, Spanish goats will come.
Check out the Spanish Goat Association for more information.
The best breeds of goat meat the meat goat breed that is imagined is mostly Boer goats. They are known for their white bodies and brown heads, which are distinctive.
In South Africa, Boer goats emerged. It is also known as the Africander, or the Afrikaner. This breed was developed as a meat goat in South America that was highly adapted to the environment.
The breed of Boer goat is highly active and likes to browse, making it a perfect breed of meat goat to raise next to cattle. Weighing about 200-225 pounds, mature bucks sometimes weigh 240-300 pounds.
Breeding is very productive and can be more regular for children than for other breeds. A doe may have three sets of children in a two-year cycle. With this breed, puberty is accomplished early, with many Boer goats hitting puberty at 6 months.
With Boer goats, the capacity to easily put pounds on is profound. For this breed, standard performance records show that average Boer goats are able to put on 0.3-0.4 pounds of meat per day, with excellent goats packing on almost half a pound per day.
Check out the American Boer Goat Association for more information.
The best breeds of goat meat in Maori, the word ‘kiko’ literally means flesh or meat.
Kiko goats were developed by Garrick and Anne Batten in New Zealand in the 1980s. By crossing local feral goats with the Toggenburgs, Anglo-Nubian and Saanen goat breeds, they developed the breed.
The Battens decided to create a goat with little input from farmers that would grow and evolve quickly. Goats were not given supplementary feed, hoof trimming, parasite treatment or kidding aid when growing the breed. It was permitted to breed only the best of the best and soon a hardy breed was created.
For their high productivity, excellent maternal capacity and overall health, Kiko goats are noteworthy. Kikos need little treatment from owners and are still effective.
In the Southeastern U.S., the climate is more like the climate of New Zealand, making Kikos ideal for living in the Southeastern U.S.
Kiko weighs between 150-200 pounds, while mature dollars weigh between 250-300 pounds. Typically, Kikos are white, while coloured Kikos do happen. That breed is horned. Over the winter, they also grow long, shaggy coats.
They are not seasonal and can breed at all times of the year, making it possible for them to have more children than seasonal breeders.
Visit the American Kiko Goat Association for more information.
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