Goat Breeds That Are Good for Colorado
- Pygmy goats are members of the domesticated goat species, Capra aegagrus hircus, that have been bred to be more compact in size. Pygmy goats make fantastic pets. While pygmy goats are not large enough to produce the same quantity of meat, milk, or fiber as full-sized goats, their small stature makes them particularly popular for those with small farms or those raising goats at home for family milk and cheese. They produce a large quantity of milk for their size, making them popular for small business owners making specialty cosmetics, soaps, and cheeses. They require little upkeep, are extremely friendly, and can breed year-round in any weather condition. Pygmies are known as being especially hardy, and can adapt to almost any ecological situation, making them ideal for Colorado residents. Contact the Colorado Pygmy Goat Club at copygmygoatclub.com for more information.
- Pygora goats are members of the domesticated goat species, Capra aegagrus hircus, that are actually a cross-breed between pygmy goats and angora goats. Angora goats, extremely valuable for their fleeces which are used to make mohair, are delicate and difficult to raise goats. However, they have been cross-bred with the versatile pygmy goat, and so the resulting pygora goat provides the best of both worlds. Smaller than angora goats and much more hardy, pygora goats are friendly, outgoing, well-behaved and easy to breed. Different types of pygora goats produce different kinds of mohair, including cashmere, and often can be shorn twice a year. Pygora goats make great fiber producers.
- Nubian goats are the members of the domesticated goat species, Capra aegagrus hircus, that are the best milk-producers for Colorado residents. Of medium size, very friendly and playful, Nubian goats were originally bred from a mix of North African and English stock. They are easily recognized by their floppy ears and short "Roman" faces. Their milk is high in butter-fat content, making it rich, delicious and ideal for processing into cheeses and other milk products. They are extremely hardy and easy-to-train, making them ideal for small farmers in Colorado. More than other goats, Nubians are child-friendly and easy to milk. They are also large and muscular enough to be raised for meat.
Rocky Mountain Goats
- Rocky Mountain goats, as they are colloquially known in the United States, are not actually goats at all! As members of Oreamnos americanus, Rocky Mountain goats are sure-footed climbers well known for ascending to mind-boggling heights on sheer-sided mountains to avoid predators. Males and females are distinctly recognizable by their white coats, bulky muscular build, long black horns and white beards. While Rocky Mountain goats are not an ideal species of dairy or fiber cultivation, they are the only "goat" indigenous to Colorado. In addition, they are known to be extremely friendly and fearless, interacting with humans and even climbing into ski resorts to find food. Many Colorado residents enjoy leaving salt-licks or other foods out for wild Rocky Mountain goats in friendly semi-domesticated relationships.