270 white dairy goats of the breed Saanen and a few cross-breedings make up our organic dairy goatherd that during the summer half-year can be seen on our fields where the goats are eating grass, herbs and wild flowers.
In the morning and evening, the goats are being milked and afterwards they are fed,- depending on the season, in the stable or in the grassfield,- grass, hay or silage made from our own organic crops.
The nights they always spend in the stable, and they hate rain.
In August the male goats are let into the goatherd and after approximately 5 months the goats start having kids, a period which lasts from January to April. A goat typically has twins, but single and triplets can also occur.
The period were the goats are having kids is very busy because our goats are giving birth in the herd. After a successful birth, we move the mother goat and her kids into single pens where they have time and peace to create an attachment and this is also where the goat kids get the vital colostrum milk.
When the mother goat and kid attachment is established, the goats and their kids are allowed into the herd again. There the kids have every opportunity to play and cuddle with the other kids.
When the kids reach the age of 8 weeks, they are separated from their mothers and then put into a loose housing system which is kind of a “kindergarten”. There they get spoiled by everyone.
ABOUT GOATS IN GENERAL
Each recognized breed of goats has specific weight ranges, which vary from over 300 lbs for bucks of larger breeds such as the Boer, to 45 to 60 lbs for smaller goats. Within each breed, different strains or bloodlines may have different recognized sizes. At the bottom of the size range are miniature breeds such as the African Pigmy, which stand 16 to 23 inches at the shoulder as adults.
Most goats naturally have two horns of various shapes and sizes depending on the breed. Goats have horns unless they are "polled" or the horns have been removed typically soon after birth.
Goats are ruminants. They have a four-chambered stomach consisting of the therumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. As with other mammal ruminants, they are even-toed ungulates. The females have an udder consisting of two teats, in contrast to cattle, which have four teats.
Both male and female goats have beards, and many types of goats may have wattles, one dangling from each side of the neck.
Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the goat. Dairy goats generally produce between 660 and 1,800 litres (1,500 and 4,000 lb) of milk per 305-day lactation. On average, a good quality dairy goat will give at least 6 lb (2.7 litres) of milk per day while she is in milk. After the lactation, the goat will "dry off", typically after she has become pregnant.
Saanen goats are a white or cream-colored breed of goats, named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. Saanens are the largest of the goat dairy breeds. Goats typically weigh 150 lb (68 kg) or more, with bucks weighing over 200 lb (91 kg). The Saanen breed also produces the most milk on average, and tends to have lower butterfat content, about 2.5%–3.0%. A Saanen goat produces around an average of 1 gallon (3.8 litres) a day.
The Saanen temperament is, as a rule, calm and mild; breeders have been known to refer to them as living marshmallows. They are, indeed, extremely docile in most cases. Saanen goats are easier for children to handle, and are popular in the showmanship classes due to their calm nature. They typically breed every year, producing one or two kids.
The Sable Saanen is not a crossbreed, but is a recessive expression of colour derived from the white Saanen. Sables can vary in colour from beige through black except white (which would be a white Saanen). Sables are accepted as a breed in their own right in some dairy goat breed clubs, but not in others.
Regardless of colour, the Saanen breed is large and big-boned but graceful, the ears are erect, and the nose is straight or dished. Both goats and bucks usually have beards. They normally also have horns, unless dehorned at birth or polled.