The Lamancha goat, also known as American Lamancha, is a formally recognized dairy goat breed. Like all domestic goats, the Lamancha goat is a member of the Capra genus, specifically Capra aegagrus hircus (Capra hircus). These goats were first bred in California in 1972 by Mrs. Eula Fay Frey. Later on, Mrs. Frey moved the herd to another coast, specifically Glide, Oregon, for further development. The American Milk Goat Record Association (AMGRA), in Springfield, Illinois, awarded Mrs. Frey its Mary L. Farley Award on October 15, 1960, recognizing her years of effort, toil and hardship in developing the American Lamancha goat breed.
Lamancha goats are known all over the world for their impressive milk production that have high butterfat content compared to other milk products. The Lamancha goats are the only breed of goat developed in the USA.
Lamancha goats are considered to be the most distinctive goat breed and easily recognized because of their very short external ears. The Lamancha goat loves to be in groups or a herd and is also known for it’s quiet and friendly temperament, impressively high milk production and high butterfat content in their milk.
The short external ears of the Lamancha goat gained recognition as a distinct breed in the early 1950s. The breed of this dairy goat was registered formally in 1958 as American Lamancha or Lamancha goats. During the registration, approximately 200 animals were accepted; according to traditional goat books and records, the name of the first true registered American Lamancha goat was Fay’s Ernie. The Lamancha dairy goat is the only breed of goat whose origin and development took place in the United States.
The Lamancha goat breed is considered to be an all-around, sturdy animal that can withstand a great amount of hardships (rough topographical factors, extreme weather conditions, etc) and still remain productive. Another great Lamancha goat fact is that these animals can be milked for two years without needing to be freshened.
The face of a Lamancha goat is noted to be straight paired with little elf ears that have little or no cartilage. For registration, the ears of Lamancha goats must be within the standard length.
Lamancha does stand about 28 inches at the withers while Lamancha bucks usually stand about 30 inches or more. Lamancha does weigh around 130 pounds while Lamancha bucks weigh around165 pounds.
Lamancha goats are diurnal in nature and are happy with just grazing around trees, herbs, small shrubs and fresh vegetables.
Unlike its ears which are known to be distinct, this animal may have any color known to occur in goats. LaMancha goat hair has a glossy and short coat with many patterns and colour variations. As mentioned earlier, Lamancha goats are considered to be a docile breed and excellent producers of milk with a high content of fat and protein, perfect for cheese and other dairy products.
According to the American Dairy Goat Association breed standard, below are the modern Lamancha ear definition:
a.) gopher ear: an approximate maximum length of 1 inch but preferably nonexistent and with very little or no cartilage. The end of the ear must be turned up or down. This is the only ear type which will make a buck eligible for registration.
b.) elf ear: An approximate maximum length of 2 inches is allowed, the end of the ear must be turned up or turned down and cartilage shaping the small ear is allowed.
When the Lamancha goat was first registered as a dairy goat breed, there were four distinct types that were catalogued as acceptable for the Lamancha goat breed registry – the gopher type (short and long), two elf types (Cookie ears and Lamancha ears). Lamanchas with Swiss-type or long ears were considered to be non-registrable. In the mid-1980s, the goat breed standard was modified to accept and register only two types of goat ears – the elf and the gopher.
There is an interesting folklore that has been going around about short-eared goats, saying that they have been around for a long time in history. While it is true that there were earless goats from La Mancha, Spain (now known as Spanish Murciana) that were first exhibited at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1904, Lamanchas were originally developed from Spanish Murciana ancestors imported to the U.S. from Mexico as dairy and meat goats.
However, there has not been any recorded breed known as the Spanish Lamancha. To address this report, the term American Lamancha is actually a term that denotes a goat that has a variety of or unknown genetics of other purebred goats. Currently, the breed of this animal now has a large number of registered purebred dairy goats.
The Lamancha goat breed was developed in the early 20th century on the West Coast of the United States. Developed from unusually short-eared goats believed to be descended from goats brought to California by Spanish missionaries, these goats were bred to several other breeds, including Nubians and Alpines. This turn of events resulted in the development of the distinctive American LaMancha breed. The official recognition from the American Dairy Goat Association happened in 1958.
The Lamancha goats were originally developed from Spanish Murciana ancestors imported to the U.S from different regions in Mexico as meat and dairy goats. According to Mason’s World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, there has been a long speculation that this animal may have been part of the Spanish-American Criollo goats, bred primarily for its milk and meat.
It was also noted that Spanish missionaries who colonized California brought with them a short-eared breed of goat which was very similar to the Lamancha goat. Regardless of whether it was male or female, these animals were usually called “monas,” “cuties,” or “monkeys” – nicknames used affectionately by the Spanish for their “freaks” or “youth.” This herd of developed short-eared goats is assumed to be the progenitor of what we now refer to as the LaMancha goats. After breed recognition, the Lamanchas became known as American Lamanchas in the field and community of agriculture goat breeders.
When Lamancha young or kids are born, they already have a complete set of milk teeth with 6 lower incisors and 24 molars.
The upper jaw of Lamancha kids have bony plates to rub against the lower jaw, but it doesn’t actually contain milk teeth. Like any other baby animals, Lamancha kids are very keen in following their mother as soon as they are born. Young Lamancha goats reach sexual maturity by the time they reach six months of age.
Lamancha goats are bred in either fall or winter. A Lamancha doe goes in heat for 1-2 days in a 21 day cycle. Breeders know that this is the right time for reproduction and after successful mating and fertilization, the does then goes on a gestation period that runs for about 155 days.
During the gestation period, Lamancha does require special management and care. Likewise, Lamancha bucks also need special care during mating season so they can be in prime health and perform better during the reproduction period. LaMancha goats are usually born as twins or triplets.