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15 Best Goat Breeds for Meat

Sherry grew up watching her uncle raise turtles, fish, goats, and chickens in his backyard. She brought home a goat last year.

Top 15 Meat Goat Breeds

Top 15 Meat Goat Breeds

Goats are among the first farm animals to be domesticated by man. Meat of goat is a healthy alternative to all other types of red meat. It is a good source of protein and contains low amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Goats, especially those raised for meat are very easy to care for. Their adaptability to drastic environmental conditions, huge productivity and excellent fertility make them ideal for anyone looking to raise farm animals for meat. Moreover, some of these might even be fit to produce milk also.

1. Boer

Boer is the best goat breed for meat. Boer goats were first developed in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The indigenous goats of Africa were crossed with imported Nubian and Indian goats to produce Boer.

These goats are hardy with a great capacity for adaptation. Moreover, they have an excellent ability to withstand and resist diseases that are common in other goat breeds.

The meat of Boer goats is of the best quality. This is the reason for their growing popularity among goat meat producers around the world. They can be expensive, but for everything they are capable of providing, they are worth it.

Boer goat is recognized by its large, muscular white body, redhead and blaze. It is a long-legged goat with short, soft hair and long ears. The head is sturdy and has strong horns that have a gradual backward curve. Boer goats have fleshy briskets and well-sprung ribs. The back is broad and the legs are muscular. Boer goats can kid every seven to eight months.

Typical South African Boer goat with a white body and red head and neck.

Typical South African Boer goat with a white body and red head and neck.

2. The Kalahari Red

The origin of Kalahari Red goats is traced back to two lines, namely a line of red-headed Boer goat and another of the local unimproved goats of South Africa. The breeder of Kalahari goat claim this breed to be tougher and more robust than Boer goats.

The Kalahari goats have a type of red colour that is characteristic of this breed. They are pigmented all over the body. The dark red coloured coat and long ears provide good heat resistance. These goats can give birth every eight months.

Kalahari red goat with red coat.

Kalahari red goat with red coat.

3. The Spanish Goats

The Spanish meat goat is also known as the "brush" goat as they were widely used for brush control. Originating from Spain, these goats are now found in all parts of the world.

Spanish goats include six breeds; Murciana-Granadina, Palmera, Malagliena, Majorejera, Tinerfena, and Guadarrama. This breed was the most sought after meat goat breed before the Boers, although they are still in demand among breeders worldwide to improve meat production and fertility.

The Spanish goats come in all colours and may have short or long hair. They have non-pendulous ears and spiralling horns. The goats are hardy and adaptable.

Some of the goats may be polled. Breeders recommend only horned goats because the naturally polled goats carry a gene for hermaphrodism.

4. Kiko

The Kiko is a New Zealand breed. They have a large body and make excellent mothers. The kids are fast-growing and equally adaptive. While the goats may have lower body weight compared to Boer or the Kalahari, they produce a great amount of meat.

Because of the less supplementary feeding required for these goats, breeders around the world are more and more interested in Kikos and Kiko-Boer (composite breed) for meat production.

The face of a Kiko is straight with large twisted-horns and non-pendulous ears. The body is muscular and tight-packed.

5. Angora

The Angora goats are primarily raised for fibre, but they undoubtedly produce good quality meat and milk. Most meat markets do not consider Angora goats to be suitable for meat production because of the skinning that is necessary to get meat from these goats. The skin comprises 10-15 per cent of the carcass weight and prices paid for goat meat is the weight per kilogram, which means a substantial loss for the producer.

In areas where these goats are relatively inexpensive, they are a good choice for meat.

The goats were originally from the region of Ankara (then known as Angora). They were selected for their long white fleece which covers the body densely from head to tail and down the legs to the knees or even below.

The head is strong and of straight profile with medium-sized pendulous ears. The neck looks medium-sized and fits neatly into the shoulders.

Angora goats have a great capacity to strive under range conditions. But they may not adapt to cold climates as good as most other meat breeds.

6. Savanna

The white Savanna goat, also known as the white Boer, was developed from local South African goats. The white colour of these goats is the reason for their high price.

Savanna, along with the Boer and Kalahari, are the most popular meat breed in Africa and most of the world.

The Savanna has short white hair with black skin, horns, nose and udder. During winter, the goats develop an extra fluffy coat for protection. Their heads are long and slightly curved with big ears. The body is well-muscled and has medium width. The bucks have rolls of loose skin on the shoulders.

The Savanna goats have been recognized as official breeds in South Africa since 1993.

7. Tennessee Woodenleg

These are famously known as Tennessee Fainting goats or Stiff-Leg goats. The goats are myotonic—their muscles become stiff when they are frightened, and as a result, they fall.

The Tennessee Woodenleg is one of the very few goat breeds that originated in the United States. The goats are primarily used for meat, although they are also kept for milk and make one of the most popular pet breeds.

They are medium-sized goats with broad, muscled body and short-medium coat. The face profile is straight with non-pendulous ears.

They are good mothers and easy kidders. They are capable of giving birth three times in two years.

8. Australian Rangeland Goats

The Australian rangeland goats are otherwise known as Australian feral goats or wild goats. The breed is extremely popular in Australia and is exported around the world as meat and live animals.

These feral goats originated from Angora and Cashmere stocks. These are very hardy goats developed through natural selection over many years and are well adapted to the harsh environments. The adaptation is so extensive and successful that they are now a major source of goat meat throughout the world.

In Australia, the Boer bucks are crossbred with Australian rangeland to produce rapid growing offspring for sale as meat.

Rangeland goats

Rangeland goats

9. Black Bengal

The Bengal goat is small-dwarf sized milk and meat goat with a hard body. The breed is popular for meat in Bangladesh and Northeast India.

The goats primarily have a black coat of short hair, although brown, white, and grey colour coats are also found in the breed. It is bearded and has short ears.
The average weight of an adult buck is 40-44 pounds and an adult doe is 35-40 pounds. Both sexes have long horns that are around 5-6 inches.

Although the average weight of these goats is less than most other meat breeds, the meat quality and kidding capacity do make up for it. The goat kids thrice in two years.

Black Bengal goat

Black Bengal goat

10. Anglo-Nubian

The Nubian breed was first developed in England by crossing British goats with African and Indian bucks to form a composite breed in the 1870s. It is a dual-purpose breed used for meat and milk, although they are much more famous for milk than for meat.

It has been an important breed to improve both milk production and growth rates.

11. Sudanese Male Desert Goats

The Sudanese male desert is an important goat breed for meat production in Sudan. The goats are found in the semi-desert areas of northern Sudan. They are used for both meat and milk production.

The meat of these goats is reportedly more tender and juicier than many domestic breeds found in the region.

Desert goat breed (Alsarawi)

Desert goat breed (Alsarawi)

12. Jabel Akhdar

Jabal Akhdar is a goat breed from Oman. It represents about 20 percent of the total population of goats in Oman. The goat is superior to other breeds in the country in terms of growth rate, body weight and carcass weight. The Jabal Khaddar meat is marketed in most middle-east countries.

The goat is golden-brown and has soft, medium-length hair. Most goats have medium-long back twisted-horns, although some may be without horns. The average height of Jabal Akhdar goats is 115 cm. The average body size of these goats is largest of all goat breeds in the country.

Jabal Akhdar is an important meat breed  among other Omani goats namely Batinah, Dhofari, Jabbali, Sahrawi

Jabal Akhdar is an important meat breed among other Omani goats namely Batinah, Dhofari, Jabbali, Sahrawi

13. Saanen Goats

Saanen is certainly the best goat breed for milk, but milk is not the only thing the Saanens provides. Meat of this breed is also very popular, especially in the regions where their population is high.

The goat is native to the Saanen valley of Switzerland. The appearance of goat is milk coloured with short hair.

14. Beetal

Beetal goats are an important tropical breed found throughout India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. True bred goats are found in Punjab. The goats have a short, lustrous coat and a convex face. The ears are long, curled and drooping.

Beetal is a great source of meat and milk to the large population in these countries.

15. Damascus

The Damascus goat or "the Aleppo" is a native breed of Syria. It is a relative breed to the Nubian raised for milk and meat.

Damascus is considered as one of the best dual-purpose breeds of the Middle East. The goats have a reddish-brown coloured coat of long hair and twisted horn that is present in both sexes. Although it is predominantly a dairy breed, it has been used widely for meat production.

Damascus (Shami) goat

Damascus (Shami) goat

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Sherry Haynes


Liz Westwood from UK on June 24, 2020:

This is an interesting article. I tend to associate goats with milk and cheese rather than meat.