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Danish Landrace Goat

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Other common names: Dansk Landrace

The basics:
Goats have been kept in Denmark for over 5000 years, with the Danish Landrace being descended from these ancient goats. The Danish Landrace is a heritage and conservation breed traditionally kept for its skin, milk production, and meat. These goats nearly went extinct during WWII, but they managed to survive and thrive again until the late 1980s. At this time, attempts were made to crossbreed some Danish Landrace goats with Boers or Saanens to increase their meat and milk productivity, respectively. The crossbreeding didn’t really work, and the breed fell into sharp decline again as commercial producers moved toward standard industry breeds.

Today, the breed has declined to less than 1000 head worldwide, and is no longer kept in most commercial goatherds. Family farms and small producers are the primary keepers of this breed. The breed is under local protection and represents an important conservation priority to those who wish to maintain the unique genetic heritage of these animals.

Appearance / health:
The Dansk Landrace is available in a range of colors and patterns, with the most common colors being black, white, blue, pied, and bezoar. Coats may be uniform in color, but are more typically a mix of different shades. Goatees are present and may be especially prominent on bucks. The breed typically has medium to long hair, especially in winter when their coat grows in dense and long to protect them from the elements. Some goats may be naturally polled, but the vast majority are horned, with horns being medium-length and curved back over the head.

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:
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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