Other common names: Brush Goat; Scrub Goat; Wood Goat; Hill Goat, Briar Goat
Spanish Goats are said to have been brought to North and Central America by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s. The goats they had kept with them for meat mingled with the local breeds giving rise to inconsistent colors and standards. The population of Spanish goats is biggest in the state of Texas. They fell out of favor when Boer goats were introduced to the US in the 1990s. The Spanish Goat Association was established in 2007 to conserve the breed, which is under conservation priority by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Appearance / health:
A strict description of the Spanish goat is lacking due to intensive crossbreeding through the years. They are typically small- to medium-sized goats of various colors and coloration patterns. Considered the hardiest and most efficient goat in the US, the Spanish goat has a strong, muscular build, with somewhat pendulous ears. Does have small udders and teats, a preferred characteristic for foraging in wild brush.
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.
scrub goats, low maintenance, high quality meat, good temperament, healthy. eager breeders
hoof rot, slower muscle gains, wire fences
A Wonderful Breed...But They Require a Tremendous Amount of Patience
If you're going to invest into some Spanish goats, the first thing you have to do is make sure your fences are up to snuff and can hold them. Please note that electrical fences are pretty useless against them, and barbed wire fences have to be strong with at least fix or six lines (especially at the bottom).
I loved our Spanish goats. But after buying them and keeping them in a pin for a month in order to get them accustomed to their new environment, the first time we let them out they ran...and ran....and ran.
When it was all said and done, they broke through three fences and we found them nearly three miles away on another farmer's land. So you need to know what you're getting into! They are masters of finding weaknesses in fences and exploiting them, so much so that we called our billy goat "The Grey Ghost" for his penchant of breaking out and disappearing.
They broke out so many times that my father would jokingly yell out, "Goat alert! Goat alert!" and my brothers and I would instinctively swing into action trying to corral them.
Additionally, please note that Spanish goats are also called "brush goats" and "scrub goats" for a very good reason. They love eating nuts, fruits, and tree leaves, so if you have any valuable fruit or nut trees on your property, unless they're very well protected, rest assured that their bottoms are about to get stripped bare.
I won't lie, though. Goats have "quirky" personalities that makes it hard not to like them. Additionally, they're well known for their meat and milk, and if you'd like a good story, once we had a Charolais cow that abandoned her calf, so we roped a mother goat that had also lost her kid in child birth and let the calf nurse on her.
While initially resistant, eventually the goat came to accept the calf as her kid, and I can't tell you how hilarious it was watching this calf (who quickly outgrew its mother) running with the goat herd!
As stated, it takes patience to fall in love with them, and if you know how to cook it, goat meat is incredibly delicious, so putting one or two in the freezer is recommended. If you really get into raising goats, then you should come to recognize the best product that goats can give a farm - cheese. Goat cheese is absolutely delicious (in my humble opinion it blows cow cheese out of the water), and you might like to invest into the LaMancha or Saanen breeds to get the most bang for your buck..
From mshawnkirby Jul 24 2015 1:19PM
Before we acquired one goat and gave it a place to live at our farm I had no idea how incredibly cute these animals are. We got one when it was two months old so we had to feed it with a bottle. I could never imagine that the animal we got primarily for milk would be so playful. They are very emotional and they genuinely appreciate when you do something for them. They are happy when you are with them and sad when you leave. They do not like rain and wind and can get very upset if they are outside when it starts raining. Make sure you take them to a secure shelter before that happens. Feeding them with hay and grains that are not genetically modified is the best in order for your goat to provide the most quality milk. We were selling goat milk and goat cheese we would make from that milk. It was of a very good quality, but speaking about quantity there was not really a lot of it. Considering how healthy goat milk and cheese are and how little effort does it require to take care of it - it is definitely a must have on your farm. Goats can live really long, even up to 16 years. Of course, as they get older, the quantity of milk will reduce. Nevertheless it is one of the most valuable farm animals..
From Julie77 Mar 7 2016 8:40AM
Good Temperament- Bad Sire
We purchased this goat from a professional breeder to use as a sire in the hopes of getting some new genetics in our herd. The goat turned out to be relatively healthy, his only major issue was hoof rot. He was not difficult to keep in his enclosure and had an exceedingly good temperament, never acting aggressive, but also not overly friendly for a breeding animal. The first year we had him, the rate of conception among our does was lower than we were used to. Assuming it was just a bad year, we decided to keep the goat on as a sire. The following kidding season, not only did we have an abnormally high number of open does, but we also had several kids born with pretty severe defects. The kids that we did get out of those two breeding seasons showed slower muscle gains than what we had experienced with either Boer or Kiko sires. While I hate to categorize an entire breed based off a bad experience with one animal, I would recommend just to steer clear of Spanish goats, and go with something far more dependable, such as a Kiko..
From cgallimore Apr 16 2015 1:13PM