Alpine Goat

The Alpine goat is a breed of domestic goat known for its excellent ability to produce milk. The Alpine goat is a medium to large sized goat breed that has no set markings or colors (although there are certain markings that are discriminated against). These animals have erect ears, a straight profile and horns.

Known for their excellent dairy production, Alpine goats are known to be agricultural favorites because their milk can be made into ice cream, butter, soap, cheese and any other dairy product usually made from cow’s milk. Alpine goat breeds are also commonly used for commercial dairy production and as homestead milk goats.

Where Did The Alpine Goat Originate?

The Alpine goat breed originated in the French Alps. Mature female Alpine goats are about 76cm tall at the shoulder and weigh around 61 kg. The colour of Alpine goats can range from black and brown to gray or white.

Types of Alpine Goats

Today, there are several known subtypes of Alpine goats that have emerged, namely:American Alpines: This is considered as an animal with other genetic influences after being introduced to the United States. American Alpines have the temperament and physical attributes as French Alpines, but may have less standard conformation characteristic or markings (dorsal stripe) due to crossbreeding.

American Alpines: This is considered as an animal with other genetic influences after being introduced to the United States. American Alpines have the temperament and physical attributes as French Alpines, but may have less standard conformation characteristic or markings (dorsal stripe) due to crossbreeding.

Swiss Alpines: This breed originated from the Brienzer region of Switzerland. Also known as the Oberhasli goat, the general color of this animal is warm red to brown, with the back, face, belly and muzzle black in color.

British Alpines: This is a result of a crossbreeding between Grison goats and French Alpines. They are generally white and black and are popular for goat shows and its impressive milk production.

Purebred (French) Alpines: known to be the original type that originated from the French Alps

Rock Alpines: According to research, these goats are the result of crossbreeding and was brought into existence by Mary E. Rock from California.

Alpine goats are known to be medium or large-sized goat breeds excellent in milk production. Females measure about 76cm at the withers while males measure around 81cm at the withers. The hair of Alpine goats come in all colors and combinations (black, brown, gray or white with dorsal stripe) and grow from short to medium length.

The profile and temperament of Alpine goats describe them as alertly graceful with the ability to adapt to any kind of climate, weather or environment thanks to their hardy nature. This quality makes Alpine goat breeds sustainable and easy to care for farm animals to raise, thanks to its hardy and sturdy health. Alpine goats are the only breed of goat with erect ears that comes in a combination of colors.

Aside from being sustainable farm animals with good health and amazing milk output, Alpine goats are also known to be a friendly animal and curious, making them ideal for children or petting zoos. However, when around children, adults should also still supervise these animals with care because they can also be strong-willed and independent at times.

Alpine Goat Colors

Alpine colors are described using the following terms:

Cou Clair: clear neck-front quarters with tan, off-white, saffron or gray
Cou Blanc: white neck – black or white hindquarters with gray or black markings on the head
Sundgau: black with white markings as facial stripes or in the underbody
Chamoisee: bay or brown with characteristic markings as dorsal stripe, black face, or stripes in the legs and feet
Cou Noir: black neck – white hindquarters or black front quarters

Sexual Maturation of Alpine Goats

Alpine goats are considered sexually matured at four to five months after birth for males and five to six months after birth for females. However, doe kids should not undergo any sexual process until they weigh at least 75-80 lbs.

The gestation of an Alpine female goat lasts for 145-155 days, or an average of 150 days. Alpine goats usually produce twins but they can also have singles up to quintuplets.

Alpine Goat Milk

Alpine goat breeds are mainly appreciated for the beauty of its rich, dairy supply and production with long periods of lactation. Alpine goat milk is popular among health buffs, mainly because the milk has relatively low fat content, with an average fat percent of 3.4%. In terms of sugar content, Alpine goat milk has higher content but in the end the content is still in balance due to the amount of protein.

Alpine goat milk has 2.3 g of protein vs cow’s milk that has 3.4 g of protein.It is worth noting that a higher protein count does not always mean that it’s better, since it packs more calories paired with an increased fat content. When compared to the production of Saanen goat milk, Alpine goat milk is higher in all nutritional aspects except for the fat content, which makes it a healthier milk choice.

Alongside Toggenburg and Saanen goats, the Alpine goat is known to be the world’s top milk producers. What makes Alpine goat milk different from the Toggenburg and Saanen goat milk is the low value of its fat content. This may be a direct correlation between the habitual environment and the weight or body built of the animal.

However, this concept may not be entirely true because for example, the weight of a Nubian goat is similar to the Alpine goats by the time it reaches maturity, but the former produces less milk that contains a higher fat content compared to the latter.

Alpine Goat Milk Peak Production

The peak periods for Alpine goat milk production occurs around four to six weeks after kidding or parturition. Usually, goats produce optimal milk production with a weight of at least 130 lbs.However, for Alpine goats to produce a respectable amount of milk for human consumption and dairy products, they must weigh not less than 135 lbs.

Since they are primarily bred and raised as commercial milk producers, Alpine goats must be given the best care and nutrition. Other factors that contribute to the Alpine goat milk production include disease control, good nutrition, reproductive management and proper milking procedures.

What Are The Requirements for Efficient & Optimal Dairy Production?
Alpine dairy goats must be placed in an environment where their milk production is not affected by changes (external factors, extreme weather conditions, disturbing predators or animals, etc.).

External factors can actually cause a decrease in the milk production of Alpine goats as they struggle to adapt to major changes. Four factors to consider for optimal milk production include minimal labor and disturbance, adequate ventilation, uncontaminated feeder and dry beds.

Alpine Goat Milk For Human Consumption

Just like all other goat milk, alpine goat milk must be filtered and chilled immediately upon separation from the lactating female goat when the produce is intended to be for human consumption or commercial purposes.

The best temperature for Alpine goat milk is at 39.9 °F or 4.4 °C. To ensure that there will be no excess bacteria growth, the milk must be cooled immediately. In warm temperatures, bacteria grows at a faster rate making the milk easier to spoil. Refrigerated Alpine goat milk has a shelf life of about three to four weeks. When the milk is frozen, it can last for about four to five weeks.

Alpine Goat Meat

While it has been established that alpine goats are excellent milk producers, they do not fare so well when it comes to meat production. Although the meat of an alpine goat is expected to be high quality and low fat, the meat of known “meat goats” is much better and has more yield compared to Alpine goats, which is basically a dairy goat. The Alpine goat is primarily raised to be a dairy animal and, if used for meat production, might not give off satisfying results.