Saanen Goat

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Other common names: Saanen Dairy Goat

The basics:
Saanen Goats are considered the largest of the dairy breeds, and were developed in the Saanen Valley in Switzerland. The Saanen breed also produces the most milk on average, and tends to have a lower butterfat content, about 2.5% - 3.5% on average. A Saanen doe produces around an average of 1 gallon a day. As with Alpines, Saanen Goats are commonly used for commercial milking.

A Saanen which is not white is considered to be a Sable Goat.

Appearance / health:
Saanens are large-sized goats with a white or cream coat and pink skin. The nose is straight and the ears are alert, erect, and forward-pointing. Born with horns, the goats are raised horned or dehorned. The hair is short and fine. Does typically weigh 150 lb (68 kg) or more, with bucks weighing over 200 lb (91 kg).

Tolerance to skin cancer depends on skin tone -Saanens with tan skin are resistant to skin problems, whereas those with pink skin are susceptible.

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:
The Saanen temperament is, as a rule, calm and mild mannered; breeders have been know to refer to them as living marshmallows. Saanen goats are easier for children to handle, and are popular in the showmanship classes due to their calm nature.

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.

Saanens are exceptionally calm and mild mannered, making them popular with children and at goat shows. They prefer cool conditions and are sensitive to overexposure to sunlight.

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.


fat globules, great milk producers, cool areas, wonderful dairy goat, dual purpose animals


skinlike cancer, coccidia prevention, hot weather, skin-like cancer, Fence Jumper


beautiful white coat, 4H project, Intelligent Animals, amazing cheese

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