Description of Saanen goats

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Goats are most often kept in order to have fresh goat milk on their table every day and to sell it for a profit. If you are looking for a dairy goat then the Saanen goats are the goats for you. The fact is that in terms of milk yield, they surpass many other breeds, while they are not picky in care. Let's learn more about these animals by starting the description of the breed from the origin.

Saanen goats

Saanen goats

The emergence of the Saanen goat breed

The Saanen breed of goats originated in faraway Switzerland, where breeding goats grazed peacefully in the fertile Swiss meadows. After the whole of Switzerland knew about goats in the 19th century, the fame of them spread beyond the borders of the country, so goats of the Saanen breed appeared first in Europe, and then in America and even Australia. At the same time, the breed appeared on the territory of Russia, where its potential and characteristics were highly appreciated. Depending on the country in which the breed of these goats appeared, it acquired a new name, which was selected depending on the country of residence:

  • Saanen American
  • Saanen British
  • Short haired white goat
  • Dutch goat
  • German Saanen goat and so on

As for Russia, at the beginning only 30 purebred individuals entered its territory, which later became the ancestors of many breeds or were used to improve the existing ones. At present, it is still possible to find a pure breed, but in order to make sure that there is a thoroughbred goat in front of you, and not a mestizo, you should be well versed in its characteristics, this will be discussed further.

Description of the breed

Let's start the description with the fact that the Saanen goat has a powerful physique for a goat. In some cases, her height can reach one meter. A characteristic feature is the white color of the coat, although the presence of several spots on the chest and udder is still allowed, this can be seen in the video and photo of the Saanen goat.

As for the mass, the weight of the animal is impressive: a goat can grow up to one ton, while females gain about 80-90 kg as much as possible. Due to the impressive weight of the parents, the kids at birth also have an impressive weight of about 4 kg, while the monthly weight gain is about 5 kg.

The main external characteristics of the Saanen goat are shown in the table:

CriterionIndicator in the femaleMale indicator
Height at the withers7785-96
Growth to the sacrum7889
Body length8285
Chest coverage8995
Chest width1920
Pelvis width1919

With such characteristics, we can say that the animal looks powerful, has a well-developed skeletal system, this is the first thing that catches the eye in a video or photo. The goat's muzzle is rather narrow, while the forehead is set wide. As for the ears, in accordance with the breed standard, they must be erect, otherwise it is the reason for the rejection of the goat.

Some time ago it was believed that the Saanen goat must be hornless, that is, it must not have a horn. However, the breed standards are currently being revised, and horns are the norm in the goat, although such individuals are not so common. Let's say about an indispensable attribute of goats, namely a beard. Saanen goats have a beard, while in females it is not an obligatory attribute.

Since the conversation is about a dairy goat, it is important to know how the main milk organ, namely the udder, should look like. The udder should resemble a symmetrical pear in shape, while it is important that the nipples are sufficiently developed, have a normal physiological structure. Often, Saanen goats may have small dark spots on the udder, do not be afraid, this is a variant of the norm.

Saanen goat productivity

As mentioned earlier, the Saanen hornless goat is famous not only for its origin in the Swiss Alps, but also for its record milk yield. How much milk does the goat give? If we take a calendar year for the reference period, then only one female can bring a milk yield of one ton, and these indicators can grow from mating to mating, from lambing to lambing. It is believed that after the fourth or fifth lambing, productivity will decline, that is, milk yield will gradually decrease.

Phenomenally, with sufficient care, some goats produce about 2000 liters of fresh fresh milk per year, which is 20-25 times their own weight.

Goat milk is fundamentally different from cow's milk, both in terms of taste and in external characteristics. Saanen goat milk is thick, as the percentage of fat in it is quite high - about 4-4.5%. At the same time, the taste can be compared with delicate, slightly sweet cream. After the dairy product passes through the separator, you can make extremely tasty and delicate cottage cheese, butter or cheese on its basis.

The female can produce milk from as early as 7-9 months of age, however veterinarians recommend waiting a little and starting to cover goats closer to one year. After lambing, usually two or three cubs are born, which grow quickly and rapidly gain weight. Pregnancy lasts 150 days.

Pros and cons of the Saanen breed

Produces large volumes of milk

Produces large volumes of milk

Speaking of the Zaanen breed, it is difficult to say if it has any disadvantages. Therefore, let's start by listing all the positive qualities that made the breed famous and in demand:

  • High productivity rates. Even the most seedy Zaanen goat will yield considerable milk yield, the minimum that can be counted on is 600-700 liters per year.
  • Prolonged lactation. The milk period can last from 9 to 11 months
  • Fecundity of females is high. Based on the feedback from farmers, there are on average about 190 young animals of this breed per 100 heads of females.
  • The fat content of the milk of a Saanen goat is higher than that of a cow. The maximum fat content of cow's milk is 3.2%, at the Zaanen shelf the indicator is higher, reaching 4%.
  • A plus for a Russian farmer is that a goat from Switzerland is not whimsical in care and maintenance, it adapts well to harsh climatic conditions
  • Breeding and keeping Saanen goats on the farm can significantly improve the performance of livestock by crossing local breeds with purebred Swiss
  • Saanen goats cannot graze in any area, including hilly areas and even mountainous areas.
  • The most important factor for the consumer - the meat and milk of the Swiss goat does not have a specific smell, it also does not come from a live animal.

As for the shortcomings and disadvantages, they most likely simply do not exist. The only thing worth saying is that at present it is difficult to find a purebred representative of the breed, the cost of such an acquisition is also high, the price for one animal can reach from 10,000 to 20,000 rubles.

How to care for a Zaanen goat

This is not to say that the Zaanen goats are picky and demanding in care, maintenance and breeding, but nevertheless it is necessary to create suitable conditions for the animals in order to receive good milk yield in the future. The requirements include the following criteria:

  • Cleanroom for goats and goats
  • Constant airing
  • Regular walking, and you should not let goats out into the street if it is too cold in winter or hot in summer.

The goat's house should be equipped in such a way that the animals live comfortably and are protected as much as possible from cold, heat, wind and precipitation. It is advisable to plan a concrete floor covering during the construction of a room, and place wooden loungers on top of it. As for the milk goats, it is recommended to keep them in a separate stall. Usually they are placed in two, the area of ​​such a room should be at least 2 sq. M. However, the Saanen goat needs a more spacious dwelling, keep this in mind when drawing up a goat's rue plan.

Zaanen goat feeding

Examine food for these goats

Examine food for these goats

It should be said that the diet of thoroughbred goats is different from the diet that ordinary goats consume. The usual hay, most likely, they will not like it, they will be much more willing to eat legumes and cereals. For the winter period, to feed livestock, you need to stock up on dried leaves of oak, birch, willow and linden, the Saanen goats will eat them with great pleasure.

In order for the animal to bring as much milk as possible, one must not forget to feed the goats with vitamins, it is desirable that they are contained not only in preparations, but also in food, for example, it can be:

  • Apples
  • White cabbage
  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Buriak

What you need to know about breeding Saanen goats

If you are determined to become the owner of a Saanen goat, then it is better to purchase an animal in a nursery or a reproductive farm, where you will be given a passport proving that the purchased animal is purebred. When raising offspring, you can adhere to several schemes:

  1. Little kids are in no hurry to take away from their mother, there is a pause of about 4 months. The fact is that it is at this age that the kid's gastrointestinal tract is formed and prepared for the transition to a normal adult diet. At the same time, you get a bonus, because in 4 months the goats will independently feed the goat and you will not have to do it yourself. Of course, it is not necessary to say that under such conditions the milk yield of the Saanen goat will be record-breaking.
  2. In the second case, the kid, on the contrary, is taken away from the mother early, feeding him independently. To do this, you will need milk powder, into which, as the cub grows up, you will need to add greens and high-calorie concentrates. In this case, it is possible to get the maximum milk from the animal.

Diseases of Saanen Goats

If you manage to take care of the animal with all responsibility, then most likely you will encounter diseases extremely rarely. If this happens, it could be poisoning, injury, or, for example, nipple injury. Let's learn about each ailment in more detail.

Poisoning most often occurs in those individuals that were kept in stalls and breeding for a long time, and then were sent to graze. The fact is that from habit and inexperience, they can eat poisonous plants, which will cause gastrointestinal disorders. You can suspect the development of poisoning by the following signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Weakness
  • A cloudy look (may be a sign of a more serious medical condition)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Frequent breathing
  • Frequent urge to urinate

One hundred percent of cracks on the nipples, then in 99% of cases they arise through the fault of a person, more precisely, due to the fact that the goat milking technique is not followed. If this happens, then it is worthwhile to study again how to milk a goat correctly, for this you need to study the photo or video manuals of more experienced breeders, where everything is told step by step.

As a conclusion

Finishing the story about the Saanen goats, let's present the facts regarding these animals:

  • Pedigree goats love to graze, so be sure to graze at any time of the year.
  • For best results, it is recommended to milk the goat twice a day, maximum three times a day.
  • When buying a Saanen goat, it is better to give preference to a hornless animal, since, having horns, it can injure someone from the stall
  • Females have an excellently developed maternal instinct, she can feed not only her kids, but also strangers
  • Remember that a purebred animal cannot cost little, you can buy Saanen goats only in a nursery from breeders, at a breeding farm or reproductive farm.
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