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
Our Crazy Goat
Pearl, our Saanen Goat, is the first goat and the only goat I've owned. We bought her to be a companion for my miniature horse, Apollo. She has been such a fun experience! We absolutely love her unique personality and sweet temperament. We never bred her or used her for milk because we simply didn't have the time that milking requires. She gets along with our horses just fine. Apollo, our gelding, let's her get away with stealing his grain and playing, but our mare, Lady, doesn't let Peal get away with anything and will often herd her where she wants her to go to our great amusement. The only problem that arises with Pearl is that she gets easily excited and she was never de-horned. So whenever a new face comes into her pen she ends up scaring them away with her frolicking and swinging head. While it is very funny to us, she seriously scares newcomers who are unfamiliar to goats. On a normal day though she is so so sweet. She's getting older now so she spends most of the day napping, and she loves when I come to sit with her and pet her. She absolutely loves attention and being petted. I have loved owning this goat and if I ever choose to own one again I will definitely look into this breed again. .
From RQmcconnell Feb 3 2019 9:10PM
With the split hooves that goats have, it can be a great habit to check their feet. You won't necessarily "pick" them as you would a horse hoof, but you can check for any kind of injury, infection, or object stuck between the hooves. .
From DrHill 184 days ago
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