My wife and I have experience dealing with goats, although I tend to handle the butchering department.
Goats in the US usually yield between 20 and 50 pounds of meat. Comercial-breed goats usually weigh around 35 pounds when butchered young and 90 to 100 pounds when butchered older. Heavy-set goats yield 40 to 50 percent of live weight in meat. Dairy breeds yield closer to 25 percent of live weight.
The amount of meat on a goat is largely variable and dependent upon genetics, breed, feed, and age.
How Much Meat is on a Boer Goat?
Boer goats seem to be the breed of choice for meat production. They have the best feed-to-meat ratio because of their high meat-to-bone ratio. Boers yield a higher percentage of meat than other breeds.
Other popular meat breeds are the Spanish, the Kiko, and the Myotonic. Of them, the Boer is the most popular. Partly because it’s the latest option and had had quite the fad sort of celebrity status as a breed. It’s been in the US for about 30 years now and it’s still the latest, hottest thing.
The other breeds are all decent, but the Boer is the breed of choice for most commercial operations. The particular carcass weight, and size of cuts are becoming a market standard.
At 3 months, a Boer can weigh 25 to 30 pounds and yield 40 percent meat. At 5 months you can expect 45 to 50 pounds and 45 percent meat yields. at 8 months, 90 pounds and 50 percent yields are to be expected.
Now, that will depend on your animal’s genetics, activity level, and the quality of feed they get. \
How Much Meat is on a Dairy Goat?
Dairy breed goats tend to yield between 10 and 30 pounds of meat. They tend to yield 25 to 35 percent of their live weight in meat. Goats that are being milked are thinner and will have less yield unless they have a weight recovery time with good feed. While not bred for meat, they are often butchered.
In raising dairy goats, you have to breed a doe after about 10 or 12 months of milking. after she has the babies and they are weaned, she can go back to milking. But, what are you going to do with the 1 to 3 kids now? Most either sell them or butcher them.
If you can sell them, that’s great because they can demand a high price. But, sometimes it’s tough to sell goats and you are left with the choice to butcher them. While they don’t yield a lot, it’s still delicious meat that resembles tender venison.
You can actually think of goats a lot like deer. They have similar habits, diets, and body sizes. The meat is quite similar, dark, lean, and a little gamey. But, because goat is harvested young (usually 8 months max), they taste a lot better than most deer.
Dairy goats are very boney looking compared to meat breeds. They were bred for two very different purposes. A dairy goat gives twice the milk of a meat-breed goat. It’s a fair trade-off.
What Goat Breed is best for Meat?
The most popular meat goat is the Boer, but the Spanish and Kiko are hardier and have a significantly higher resistance to parasites. While the Boer is more production-based and slightly less hardy based on breeding in the US, they do tend to gain better on most forages, as long as parasites are managed.
There isn’t really one best breed for meat. Traditionally, dairy breeds were more commonly sold for meat because of the fact that breeding is required to keep a doe in milk, and that young males are not useful. Dairy bucklings are often sold young for a holiday meal in many European and Asian homes.
The meat breeds are absolutely better for a meat-only production model. Which one is better for you? Honestly, I would first answer that by looking to see what is available in your area. Find out what breeds are available and at what cost. Also, consider the condition and quality of the animals in a herd.
One of the most important factors to consider is the way certain herds are raised and managed. Every breed is different, and every breeder selects a slightly different set of characteristics in their animals. If you have an idea of how you want to raise your animals, look for someone already raising them that way.
Their animals will be more apt to be successful at that type of operation and getting breeding stock from someone that closely resembles what you want to do will help you have success early on.
Parasites, weather, and pasture all vary greatly based on region and a good herd is selected based on animals that do the best in that herd. If you want to raise goats indoors and on concentrated feeds to get the highest yields, look for an operation that does it more that way and ask about breeding stock.
If you want to raise them in a pen with grain and hay, maybe find an operation like that. If you want to put them in a larger pasture with little to no additional feed (now you’re talking), then go find a goat farmer who raises then on pure pasture and ask about buying breeding stock.
Here’s the thing about raising goats for meat, you can’t really do just one. I mean, you can be sure, but goats are very expensive to buy. The only way to raise them for meat and not break the bank is to maintain a herd and keep them in a well-managed pasture.
A lot of people are familiar with the idea of a family pig. That is, buying a piglet in the spring and butchering it in the fall. That can work for pigs because they are fairly cheap. A momma pig has 16-30 piglets a year. A goat only usually has 2-4. That’s why goats are expensive.
If you want to raise goats for a winter’s worth of meat, you need a buck and maybe two does. That’s a lot of feed overall, but they eat mostly weeds and grass so if you have space, it can be done very cheaply.