The British Alpine goat is a breed of domestic goat primarily used for milk production. It was developed in the early 1900s from other breeds including Toggenburg goat.
The Toggenburg goat has the same Swiss markings. The British Alpine goat was developed from the Toggenburg, native British goats and Nubian genetics.
The breed is noted for it’s high quality milk production and also for extended lactations. The breed was introduced into Australia in 1958, and is distributed throughout the country.
British Alpine Goat Characteristics
British Alpine goat is a very beautiful animal and is quite a large goat in appearance. They are usually black in color with white Swiss markings. But sometimes a fully black goat may occur, and the breed is often known as ‘all black‘ or ‘black Saanen goat‘.
Although their sleek black coat may lighten due to lack of copper in the diet (copper is one of the most essential minerals to all goats and the color of the coat may indicate their copper intake).
The breed has a typical ‘wedge’ shape that is predominant in some other dairy goat breeds. Like many other dairy goats, the British Alpine goats are often disbudded. They have well set eyes, erect ears and a straight muzzle line.
The does have good-sized teats. Ideal height for the bucks is 95 cm and 83 cm for the does.
The British Alpine goat is a dairy goat breed. It is mainly kept for milk production.
British Alpine goats are tall, rangy and graceful animal. They are very hardy and active animals. But they perform poorly in regions with high humidity and are best suited to temperate climates.
The does are excellent producers of quality goat’s milk. And they are well known and capable of extended lactations (sometimes even lasting close to two years). They also have the abilities to keep milking through the colder months.
The British Alpine goats are not well suited to indoor operations, and they actually perform their best in free-range goat farming system. Review full breed profile of this breed in the following table.
|Breed Name||British Alpine|
|Buck||About 95 cm|
|Doe||About 83 cm|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates|
|Coat Color||Usually black with white Swiss markings|
|Good for Stall Fed||Not Sure|
|Country/Place of Origin||England|
British Alpine Goat Facts
British Alpine goats are a popular breed of dairy goat that is known for their high milk production, friendly disposition, and striking appearance. However, here are some fascinating facts about British Alpine goats that will help you learn more about this beautiful goat breed.
British Alpine goats are a breed that originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1900s. They were created by crossing Swiss Alpine goats with British goats to produce a breed that was better adapted to the UK’s climate and farming conditions.
British Alpine goats are a medium to large-sized breed with a sturdy and athletic build. They have short hair that is typically black, white, or a combination of both.
3. Milk Production
British Alpine goats are known for their high milk production, with an average of 3-4 liters per day. They have a high butterfat content in their milk, which makes it ideal for making cheese and other dairy products.
British Alpine goats are known for their friendly and outgoing personality. They are easy to handle and enjoy being around people.
British Alpine goats are adaptable to a variety of climates and can thrive in both hot and cold weather conditions.
British Alpine goats require a diet that is high in fiber and protein. They should be fed a mix of hay, grains, and fresh vegetables to maintain their health and milk production.
British Alpine goats have an average lifespan of 8-12 years, although some can live longer if they receive proper care and nutrition.
British Alpine goats are seasonal breeders, meaning that they typically breed in the fall and give birth in the spring. They are capable of producing multiple offspring in each pregnancy.
9. Milk Flavor
The milk produced by British Alpine goats has a distinct flavor that is often described as sweet and creamy. It is prized by artisan cheese makers and dairy enthusiasts for its rich flavor and high butterfat content.
10. Health Issues
British Alpine goats are generally healthy and hardy animals, but they can be susceptible to certain health issues such as mastitis and foot rot. Regular veterinary checkups and good hygiene practices can help prevent these problems.
11. Hoof Care
British Alpine goats require regular hoof care to prevent problems such as foot rot and hoof scald. They should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, and their hooves should be kept clean and dry.
12. Milk Production Variability
The milk production of British Alpine goats can vary depending on factors such as diet, genetics, and environment. Breeders should carefully monitor their goats’ milk production to ensure that they are producing the highest quality milk possible.
13. Breeding Strategies
British Alpine goats can be bred using either natural breeding or artificial insemination. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and breeders should choose the method that is best suited to their specific needs and goals.
14. Milk Testing
The quality of the milk produced by British Alpine goats can be measured using a variety of tests, including milk fat testing and somatic cell count testing. These tests can help breeders determine the quality and value of their milk.
15. Show Competitions
British Alpine goats are a popular breed for show competitions, where they are judged on their appearance, milk production, and other traits. Winning at a show competition can increase the value of a breeder’s goats and enhance their reputation within the industry.
16. Milk Production Records
Keeping accurate milk production records is important for British Alpine goat breeders who want to track the performance of their goats over time. These records can also be used to help identify the best breeding strategies and to demonstrate the quality of their milk to potential buyers.
17. Milk Processing
The milk produced by British Alpine goats can be used to make a variety of dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream.
Many breeders choose to process their own milk to add value to their products and to provide their customers with high-quality, artisanal dairy products.
British Alpine goat breeders can market their goats and dairy products in a variety of ways, including online sales, farmers’ markets, and local food co-ops.
Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook can also be effective tools for promoting their products and connecting with potential customers.
British Alpine goats can be registered with the British Goat Society, which maintains a pedigree registry of purebred goats. This registry can help breeders track the lineage and genetic traits of their goats and can provide valuable information for future breeding strategies.
20. Genetic Diversity
Like many livestock breeds, British Alpine goats face the threat of genetic bottlenecking and loss of genetic diversity. Breeders should be mindful of the importance of preserving genetic diversity within their herds and should carefully select breeding partners to avoid inbreeding.
21. Milk Supply Chain
British Alpine goat breeders are an important part of the local food supply chain, providing high-quality milk and dairy products to their communities. By supporting local breeders and purchasing their products, consumers can help support sustainable agriculture and reduce their carbon footprint.
22. Conservation Status
British Alpine goats are not currently listed as a threatened or endangered species, but conservation efforts are important to ensure the continued success and genetic diversity of this unique breed.
British Alpine goat breeders are part of a passionate and dedicated community of livestock farmers and dairy enthusiasts. By joining local goat clubs and participating in events such as shows and fairs, breeders can connect with others who share their love of goats and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the industry.
Tips for Raising British Alpine Goats
Raising British Alpine goats is relatively easy and simple. Even the beginners can raise them easily. Like any livestock, they require careful attention and care to ensure their health and well-being. Here we are going to share some best tips for raising these beautiful goats.
British Alpine goats require a dry and well-ventilated shelter to protect them from inclement weather and extreme temperatures. The shelter should be large enough to accommodate all of the goats in the herd and should provide adequate space for them to move around and rest comfortably.
Strong and secure fencing is essential to keep British Alpine goats safely contained in their pasture or grazing area. Fencing should be at least 4 feet high and should be constructed of durable materials such as wood or woven wire.
British Alpine goats are excellent grazers and require access to fresh pasture to meet their nutritional needs. Pastures should be well-maintained, free of toxic plants, and provide ample space for the goats to roam and graze.
In addition to pasture, British Alpine goats require supplemental feed to ensure that they receive all of the necessary nutrients for optimal health and milk production. A balanced diet may include hay, grains, and mineral supplements.
Access to clean and fresh water is essential for the health and well-being of British Alpine goats. Water should be available at all times and should be changed regularly to prevent contamination.
Regular grooming can help keep British Alpine goats healthy and free of parasites such as lice and mites. Grooming can also help keep the goats clean and comfortable, especially during hot weather.
Regular hoof trimming is important to prevent foot problems and discomfort for British Alpine goats. Hooves should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, or as needed.
British Alpine goats should receive regular vaccinations to protect them from common diseases such as tetanus and pneumonia. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your herd.
Parasite infestations can be detrimental to the health of British Alpine goats. Regular deworming can help prevent parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms from taking hold in the herd.
British Alpine goats can be bred starting at around 8 months of age. It is important to carefully select breeding partners to ensure healthy offspring and maintain genetic diversity within the herd.
Proper nutrition and care are essential during pregnancy to ensure the health of both the doe and the developing fetus. Consult with a veterinarian to develop a pregnancy care plan for your British Alpine goats.
Kidding is the term used to describe the birth of baby goats. Proper care during kidding can help ensure the health of the newborns and reduce the risk of complications. Provide a clean and dry area for the doe to give birth and monitor her closely during the birthing process.
Colostrum is the first milk produced by a doe after giving birth. It is rich in antibodies and essential nutrients that help protect the newborn from disease and infection. It is important to ensure that all newborns receive adequate colostrum within the first 24 hours of birth.
British Alpine goats are known for their high milk production, which can be as much as 3-4 liters per day. Consistent milking is important to maintain milk production and prevent discomfort for the doe.
Milk should be handled and stored properly to maintain its quality and prevent contamination. Use clean equipment and store milk in a clean, cool area.
Proper milking equipment is essential for efficient and effective milking of British Alpine goats. Use equipment that is designed specifically for goats and ensure that it is cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Keeping accurate records of breeding, kidding, vaccinations, and milk production can help you manage your herd more effectively and make informed decisions about breeding and culling.
British Alpine goats are social animals and thrive in a herd environment. Provide ample space for the goats to interact and play, and consider adding new goats to the herd gradually to prevent conflicts.
Training your British Alpine goats can help make them more manageable and easier to handle. Teach them basic commands such as “come” and “stand” using positive reinforcement techniques.
Regular monitoring of the health of your British Alpine goats can help detect and prevent illness and disease. Check their temperature, pulse, and respiration regularly and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness.
Culling refers to the process of removing goats from the herd that are not performing well or have health issues. It is important to cull regularly to maintain the health and productivity of the herd.
Proper breeding management can help ensure healthy offspring and maintain genetic diversity within the herd. Keep detailed records of breeding partners and monitor the health of the doe and buck before and after breeding.
Patience and Dedication
Raising British Alpine goats requires patience and dedication. It takes time to build a healthy and productive herd, and there may be setbacks along the way. However, with careful attention and care, you can enjoy the many benefits of raising these beautiful and intelligent animals.