Goat farming is the raising and breeding of domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). It is a branch of animal husbandry. Goats are raised principally for their meat, milk, fibre and skin.Goat farming can be very suited to production with other livestock such as sheep and cattle on low-quality grazing land. Goats efficiently convert sub-quality grazing matter that is less desirable for other livestock into quality lean meat. Furthermore, goats can be farmed with a relatively small area of pasture and limited resources.
As with other herbivores, the number of animals that a goat farmer can raise and sustain is dependent on the quality of the pasture. However, since goats will eat vegetation that most other domesticated livestock decline, they will subsist even on very poor land. Therefore, goat herds remain an important asset in regions with sparse and low quality vegetation.
Goat meat can be prepared in a variety of ways, including stewing, baking, grilling, barbecuing, canning, and frying; it can be minced, curried, or made into sausage. Because of its low fat content, the meat can toughen at high temperatures if cooked without additional moisture. One of the most popular goats farmed for meat is the South African Boer, introduced into the United States in the early 1990s. The New Zealand Kiko is also considered a meat breed, as is the myotonic or “fainting goat”.
Goats produce about 2% of the world’s total annual milk supply. Some goats are bred specifically for milk. Unprocessed goat milk has small, well-emulsified fat globules, which means the cream remains suspended in the milk instead of rising to the top, as in unprocessed cow milk; therefore, it does not need to be homogenized. Indeed, if goat milk is to be used to make cheese, homogenization is not recommended, as this changes the structure of the milk, affecting the culture’s ability to coagulate the milk and the final quality and yield of cheese.