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Goat Breeds – Saanen Goats

Susan Katchur

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Saanen goats originated in the Saanen Valley of Switzerland and are a common in the United States. What is so special about these dairy goats? They offer healthful milk and are wonderful animals to raise on a farm.

Saanen dairy goats produce heavy amounts of milk. They can give two gallons of milk per day! On an average, dairy goats can give three to four quarts of milk during a 305-day lactation. Goats’ milk is a major source of milk worldwide. People who are allergic to cows’ milk may drink it, but it does contain lactose, so it is not for those who are lactose intolerant. Goats’ milk has smaller fat globules than cows’ milk, which makes it naturally homogenized and more easily digestible than cows’ milk.

What are some characteristics of these dairy goats? They are medium to large in size, averaging approximately 145 pounds in weight. The males stand approximately 40 inches in height and the females approximately 30 inches in height. They are the largest of all the dairy goat breeds. They have strong legs with tough bones. Breeders have referred to them as “living marshmallows” because of their beautiful white or light cream color. Because of their light colored skin, they are susceptible to sunburns or skin cancer. Some Saanens have spots on their skin or hair. Their hair is short with some having a fringe of hair down their spine or over their thighs. Their face is straight, or “dished”, and their ears stand erect pointing forward.

Their body is tough but their temperament is mostly calm and mild mannered. They display pep in their personality and are eager to please. If you are looking for great farm fun animals, the Saanen goats will not disappoint you. These goats are easy for children to handle and are popular in showmanship classes. They are sweet, lovable, dairy goats. They enjoy the companionship of other goats and people too! A Saanen would be a wonderful pet goat.

They like to browse a pasture eating leaves, clover or other plant growth. They eat hay, millet or other grain too. They drink one or two gallons of water per day.

Saanen goats are sensitive to excessive heat and sunlight. They are adaptable in most climates except for hot locations like desserts or tundras. They perform much better in shady or cooler conditions. Goats do not like to get wet so they will, generally, seek shelter during rainy times.

A barn or a shed should be available for them to use. Goats should never be contained in a small area. They need plenty of room to move around, at least a five square feet of space. Their pen should be bedded-well, draft-free, clean, dry and enclosed during winter months. Air should be allowed to circulate throughout their area through windows or doors.

The common lifespan of Saanen milk goats is approximately fifteen years, but some have lived longer with the proper goat care. Raising goats can be a challenge but they can be fun and amusing animals to watch. Saanen goats are lovable animals, provide lots of wonderful, healthful, milk plus make great companions for other goats and people too!

Find information about Saanen goats and goat care at:


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