Other common names: Saanen Dairy Goat
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
Spot was born right on time, according to the encyclopedia we kids were reading when he was in utero. Under G for goat, it described the gestation period for Saanans, and Bertha, our doe, dropped Spot and his twin brother Goat on that day. We were ecstatic! We watched breathlessly as Spot emerged, two little front feet and a nose. Helpfully we grabbed and pulled. Goat was born as Bertha licked Spot clean. By the time she had cleaned Goat, Spot was struggling to stand.
He was a noisy kid from the beginning, his tiny bleats grew to loud baying noises that resembled a sick dog. He developed vocalizations that explained his moods. (He was only sick once, after consuming some old moldy grain) Everything that we could find on Saanan goats convinced us that Spot would not climb out of his enclosure. After retrieving him from the neighbor for the umpteenth time, we were determined to write an addendum to all the existing literature. He graduated from climbing on his pile of tires, to scaling the house and standing on the roof. Spot always looked very self satisfied and smug as we tried to dislodge him from his perch.
Spot was a Saanan, and Saanans get fairly large. He did not disappoint. He used his height to great advantage when reaching delicious things that we were sure we had placed out of his reach. In his rare bad moods (rut) he would send us running across his enclosure with fierce charges, big head first, nostrils flared.
These tempers were fleeting, however, and we could walk him on a leash like a dog on most occasions. He loved walks, and we never had trouble with pulling…forward anyway. When he was done with his walk, and that could be a mile from home, he would simply refuse to take another step. Only a most delicious morsel of a favorite treat would convince him to move a muscle. We could tell by his twitching nose and guilty eyes that he had planned it exactly that way.
To our disappointment as kids he was not at all interested in tin cans as cuisine. Instead, he adored poison ivy, and we set him on all of the patches of poison ivy we could find. He hated hay, made faces at the person offering it to him, and only consented to its use as bedding. He loved baths and all the attendant grooming, and would stand blissfully still, eyes half closed, skin twitching as we brushed his white coat
We gave Spot and Goat to a neighbor when we moved away a few years later, and he lived for over a decade in his new home. Even now in reminiscing, we still find it hard to think of him as a goat, he lived around dogs the duration of his adolescence and perhaps they imprinted on him. His name was Spot after all..
From claracrossman Mar 25 2015 11:18PM
Common Australian Goat - Saanen Breed
As a little girl, my favourite story was "Heidi". So it stood to reason that when I had the opportunity to take on an unwanted goat to love and care for that her name would be Heidi. I acquired Heidi when she was just over a year old, and she quickly became a part of our family. These goats make quite excellent pets, and in my experience are very similar to dogs in that they can learn tricks, and understand limited commands. But do be warned - these goats are a miniature Houdini. They are able to escape so a very secure/safe enclosure is a must. As these are very sociable goats, if having as a pet it is advisable to interact as much as possible to ensure they remain calm and friendly. Quite a sturdy and healthy goat with short hair. These goats also have amazing personalities, can be quite stubborn and love to be around people - don't forget to shut your back door or you may just find your pet has walked inside for a visit....
From cawfee May 10 2015 12:24AM
One mean mama
Norma was one of the first dairy goats I bought. I'm glad I didn't give up on them because of her. She did have her good points. She was healthy and strong, and she gave birth easily. But she wasn;t a very good milker, and her temperament was unfortunate. She wasn't too bad with people, but with other goats she was miserable. She was a fairly unattached mother--when the kids were quite little she'd kick them aside accidentally as she ran for whatever food she wanted best, and she weaned them very early by kicking them hard and running away. (In her defense, she had three kids and two teats, a difficult situation...) She was also persistently aggressive toward Nancy, our other milk goat at the time--another Saanen, mild-mannered and a reasonably good milker but not very healthy (she had serious trouble with parasites). Now, there's always a dominance order, and the boss goat gets out to be milked first, gets to pick which feeder she wants to eat from, etc. But Norma wasn't content with getting her preferred feeder; she would run back and forth from feeder to feeder butting Nancy hard in the side until Nancy gave up. We sold Norma cheaply to someone who wanted a brush-clearing goat; she was a good eater and I hope that worked out well for them. .
From JoannaH Oct 16 2016 3:33PM