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Barbari Goat

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The basics:
Barbari goats are a dwarf breed that originated in British Somalia, but they are now an extremely common and popular breed throughout northwest India and Pakistan, particularly in the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab regions. They are extremely well adapted to arid climates and they tolerate heat well. Barbari goats are hardy foragers and are commonly kept for meat and limited milk production. The breed is extremely fertile (twins and triplets are common), and is popular in urban and suburban settings where it can be raised and fed in a stall due to its small size.

Appearance / health:
Barbari goats are typically white with red or brown spotting, but some goats may be nearly entirely red or brown across the back and rear haunch. Both sexes are horned, with does having small, swept-back horns; bucks have slightly larger horns that tend to curve outward and up. Bucks may also have a large, thick beard.

Fertility in this breed is very good and multiple kids are common. Does have strong instincts and make naturally good mothers, and delivery complications are generally few. Healthy Barbari goats will have short, tubular ears that stand erectly or at a slight angle to the head, and a sturdy, compact body with strong legs and nimble feet.

Barbari goats are well adapted to high, arid climates and can tolerate smaller enclosures due to their diminutive size. Due to the prevalence of multiple births, some complications with kidding may arise, but Barbari goats tend to deliver with little assistance and does make good mothers. They tolerate heat quite well, but are sensitive to cold and will need a secure, warm enclosure if it gets extremely cold. *Note: Due to their high rate of fertility, often delivering twins or triplets, Barbari may experience a higher rate of pre-weaning mortality among young kids.*

Goats are sensitive animals that can suffer from various infectious and chronic diseases that are sometimes undetected until too late. Vaccinations, as well as de-worming and de-lousing applications must be conducted as needed. Milking goats should be checked regularly using prescribed mastitis tests for udder health. Milking areas should always be clean and the goat’s teats treated with teat dip after milking to prevent mastitis.

Goats must be inspected frequently to detect any signs of poor health, infections, or other ailments. Signs include cloudy or teary eyes, dull or fluffed up coat, droopy tail, hunched back, or poor appetite. A veterinarian should always be on call to address health concerns.

Behavior / temperament:
Barbari goats are a resilient breed that is popular in its local regions for its hardiness and general ease of care. Does and wethers are very well-tempered goats, although young kids and bucks can be frisky and energetic. They are a small breed that forages extremely well and produces a good quality carcass for consumption. Goats are inherently curious, active, intelligent, and social. They are known to have the ability to overcome enclosures by unraveling the gate, climbing over the mesh, or pushing and ramming the fence down. Goats have good coordination and balance and can manage to climb low trees, ledges, and overhangs. Their curiosity leads them to constantly investigate items with their mouths; most items get chewed and swallowed. With a little patience, goats can be taught to carry or pull loads, respond to calls, and lead a herd. As social animals, they easily get along with other farm animals.

Housing / diet:
As herd animals, goats are best kept in pairs or groups. As grazers, they require an outdoor habitat that is securely fenced to prevent escape or foraging in restricted areas. The area should be large enough to allow the goat to roam. The recommended habitat per goat is 200 sq. ft. of yard or pasture plus a sheltered or indoor area of about 15 sq. ft. The sheltered area should be adequately built to keep the goats safe from rain and strong winds.

Keeping goats inside the house is not recommended because of the pet’s tendency to gnaw and chew on furniture and furnishings. Goats are also not known to adhere to toilet training.

The ideal food for domesticated goats is alfalfa hay and grass hay. This should be available daily in quantities of at least 3% of the goat’s body weight. Small quantities of feed grain and concentrates (often protein-enriched) like goat show or goat grain can also be given to add nutrition. Supplements are often used to address deficiencies inherent to local habitats.

Clean water is essential to a goat’s daily diet. It should always be available and provided where it cannot be soiled. Dirty and moldy water is hazardous to the goat’s health. Milking goats should be kept away from aromatic or strong-tasting foliage like garlic, onions, mint, and cabbage, which could taint the flavor of the milk.

Written by Gaia Rady

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