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Filling Your Freezer with Goat Meat

Goat meat is a very mild, tender red meat. It is a healthier alternative to beef due to its much lower fat and cholesterol content. In fact, the nutritional value of goat meat is very comparable to chicken while giving you beef-like consistency and flavor.

Just about any goat can be used for meat. Goat owners who raise goats for milk production often have kids born each year that they can’t keep, in order to control the size of their herds, and they can either sell them or use them as a meat source. Dairy goats are popular because the meat is typically even softer and milder than the common meat goat breeds. In fact, many meat goat herds incorporate dairy goats into a crossbreeding program to promote more tender meat, while maintaining the size and growth speed of the meat breeds. Nubians are a popular choice with those who prefer crossbreds, and in many cases the Nubian/meat breed cross also does well on the dairy side of the equation for homesteaders who want both milk and meat production.

The following chart from the USDA Nutrient Database showcases just how valuable goat meat is from a nutritional standpoint.

For purebred meat production, or as a base for the dairy/meat cross, there are three standout breeds that are easy to find in the American market.


Boers are the king of the goat meat breeds. They are large, very muscular, and fast growing. They are mild tempered and easy to raise, plus their unique color markings make them an extremely attractive animal. Boers are true “double-muscled” animals, which gives them their great bulk. The extra layer of muscling is what gives Boers the advantage of such high meat to bone ratio. Boers are a horned breed, but the backward sweep of the horn makes it a little less dangerous than a forward protruding horn. All goats with horns, especially the males, should be handled with caution as even accidents can be painful, but the Boer’s mellow, easy-going temperament helps make them especially manageable.


Kiko, another popular meat goat, is close to the Boer in meat to bone production ratio but is not a double-muscled breed. And while it has the same fast maturity of the Boer, it will yield slightly less than its more-famous cousin at the time of slaughter. Kikos have a slight disadvantage in personality as well. The bucks are known to be fairly aggressive and, because they are such large animals with long twisting horns, they can be quite dangerous when not handled with extreme caution. Modern breeding practices have mellowed the Kiko to some degree, but they require skilled handling.

Tennessee Meat Goat

The Tennessee Meat Goat is especially popular with the homestead crowd for two reasons: it is a little smaller than the other meat breeds, and while that means less meat per animal, it also means they require less space and are easier to manage. The Tennessee Meat Goat has a very pleasant personality and is colorful, but the most unique quality that this breed possesses is a tendency to “faint.” The Tennessee Meat Goat is a breed that was developed from the smaller but heavily muscled Fainting Goat. The Fainting Goat is a myotonic breed, which means that its muscles get stiff when it is scared. Often, they will fall over if spooked.  The “fainting” is a characteristic that remained to some degree in the development of the TMG (Tennessee Meat Goat), and breed aficionados find the habit endearing. It is a comical sight to see a herd of goats fall over in a field when something startles them.

Herd Size

For homesteaders only concerned with putting meat in their own freezers, a few goats per year is probably all that is needed. Since the average doe (female) produces two kids at a time (although one is not unheard of, and three to four can happen), two females of breeding age can produce enough goat meat for an average family of four for a year when used with other meats. Each animal will result in about 40 to 50 pounds of meat if raised to full market age. Some cultures prefer younger animals for religious celebrations, and size and amount will vary between breeds as well. Two does producing four to five kids (offspring) per year will result in roughly 160 to 250 pounds of meat for the freezer.

It is easier for many homesteaders with just a few does to have them artificially inseminated by their local veterinarian or, if they practice and become skilled enough, by themselves, than it is to keep a buck (male). However, if you live in a remote area or find it difficult to obtain semen and the services of a skilled technician, you will need to house a male to breed your females every year.
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  1. Hi! Just want to thank you on all your articles. I write a column for a free monthly newspaper and would like to reprint your goat column. Of course you would be given credit and we will tell people how to go to your website. The Lake Country Shopper is the paper and is distributed in several South Texas cities/counties. You can see the online version at . Also FYI we sell a 5000watt Solar system and it is portable and you can take it with you should (when) the [email protected]#$^%$ has hit the fan and you will be able to run a water well and freezer and depending on how many solar panels/batteries you can run up to 1500sq ft home. No it is nothing like the smaller portable units. anyway you have a great website. Thank you Jenell
    Jenell Redding
    The Lake Country Shopper
    P O Box 128
    Sandia, Texas 78383

    • Hi Melissa and MaxxI guess goat-lovers run in the family. At three dfeefrint times in my life I had goats as pets and milkers. Now my daughter, Debra, (your third cousin) and her partner Tricia have two goats as pets. They had three, but sadly, one recently died. I am forwarding this on to Debra. I know she will be delighted. Your sweet little girls are adorable!Best of luck to you and Maxx. I hope to meet him some time.Love Georgia

  2. we h ave been raising and selling goats for four years

    boers and nubian and dairy cross

  3. We raise and breed Bo-Ki crosses in Maine. Check out our FB page Downeast Heritage Farms. We are planning a Fall breeding for full Kiko and then Spring breeding with more Bo-Kis.

  4. Here at J/M Goats, we raise purebred and ADGA registered Nubians and also boers and boer/Nubian cross…wonderful goats either way. Yes, goatmeat is GREAT ! !PLUS the milk makes the most wonderful cheese…especially FETA cheese…easy to make too. Goaties are some of the most wonderful animals in so many ways: meat, milk, fertilizer and most of all LAUGHTER !

    • The Prophet-Messenger

      Hi Kitty, I’m Thinking Of Purchasing A Few Goats FOr Breeding And Milk. I Was Wondering What Your Prices Are And Do You Offer Any Kind Of Deals? Please Let Me Know? [email protected]

  5. Here at J/M Goats in Smithville, TX we raise Nubian and Boer, Boer cross. Goats are great for SO many things: meat, milk, cheese, fertilizer, and much more. For the most part they are easy keepers and can use less space than a cow. They also provide us with unlimited LAUGHTER ! !

    • Do you sell goat meat? How much is it per pound? Also Feta cheese? Where is Smithville? We live in Waco, Tx.

      • Smithville, TX is about 40 mi. from Austin, TX. We sell goats “on the hoof” as we are not licensed to sell processed goat meat, though we do process our own. We also can’t sell milk or cheese…because…of Texas health/safety, etc. regulations. How stupid, huh. Like i said, though, we DO sell goaties !

        • Hi Kitty,
          We live in Montana, I read you can’t sell the meat, etc. Can you give me some info on the raising, feeding, care, requirements? We just built a 40 x 40 garden, and started Beekeeping (which is exciting and fun).
          We WERE kind of thinking of chickens, but would like some info on Goats. [email protected]
          Thanks ahead of time for any info you can send our way.

  6. We here at J/M Goats, Smithville, TX think goats are the greatest. We raise Nubians and Boer, Boer cross. Goats are great in so many ways: meat, cheese, milk, fertilizer etc. Plus they give us unlimited LAUGHTER !

  7. How can I find goat meat in the Indianapolis area?


      Maria, try Craig’s list for your area. People often list goats for sale there, and they will also most likely know the location of a local processor. You will most likely have to purchase the goat and arrange for the goat to be processed as well.

  8. Goats are eaten as meat all over the world and in fact more people eat goat meat then beef or chicken. Specially in 3rd world countries since goats are easy to raise and breed and can live off the plants and bushes found there. In climates that are prone to winter cold it is required to put up feed for them and that will be quite a large amount.

  9. My husband and I love goat meat but have found it difficult to find a source in East Central Indiana. Any help finding a source would be greatly appreciated! For those liver lovers out there…kid liver is absolutely the best and cleanest liver I have ever eaten. Very mild and tender. Try it, you might just like it.

  10. Just to add a few facts for those thinking of getting into goats: a wise person told me when I first was considering it; “If your fence will keep in a goat, it will keep in anything”…. meaning; goats are highly intelligent and can figure out how to jump over, crawl under or run through anything but a VERY secure fence. The fence must keep in these cousins of Houdini and it must KEEP OUT predators which can be anything from coyotes to the neighbor’s dogs all of which will consider your goats as good eating as much as you do.
    We use a combination of woven wire topped by and off-set with electric fencing. A single strand of barbed wire along the ground will help stop varmints from digging under.
    And lastly, it is one of those unfortunate facts of nature that a buck goat is usually needed come fall. Artificially inseminating goats is far harder than cows and definitely not a sure thing, often needing multiple repeat “tries”. Visit any goat farm and you will immediately know the most unique quality of the mature male goat… He stinks! Musk glands and the endearing habit of peeing on himself makes the buck goat… to put it kindly; highly odoriferous, and both you and your farm will take on the odor.
    We’ve found a way around this drawback of goat farming. Goats reach maturity very early and a spring born buck will be plenty ready to do his “job” by that fall. We purchase a weanling buck each spring when they are quite cheap, keeping him long enough till the does are settled and send him on down the road by Christmas time.

  11. We used to raise dairy goats before moving to the city. We found that the very best and most secure fencing is a series of stock panels. The very young ones do require woven wire or chicken wire at the bottom to keep them from going through the panel holes. In south Texas with so many dog packs and coyotes, we found this to be the only sure option.
    FYI: An old goat farmer told us that if we added a few slices of bread to the lactating does’ daily feed that it would increase the cream content of the milk, which is naturally very low. We tried it and I’ll be blasted if it didn’t work! Another old farmer said that putting a raw egg (beaten) into the daily formula for bottle babies increased their size and weight as adults. Blasted again if that didn’t work also! My friend and I who routinely did this had the largest dairy goats in the area!!
    I’m looking to move out of the city soon and will be going back to my friend in south Texas to get my starter stock. i know these are healthy and clean and CAE-free.

  12. P.S. by the way, regarding the horns, not all dairy goats are horned. Some are naturally polled. My friend routinely disbudded our goats born with horns at 2-3 days of age (ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY AN ICE PACK!) so our herds were all hornless. Not only was this safer for handling, but it also kept them from getting their horns stuck in the fence panels. As long as we used stock panels that are very good at keeping predators out, it was also safer for our goat friends.

  13. How heavy does the goat have to be to yield 50 or 60 lbs. of meat? How old would the dairy/boer kid be at butcher weight? We now have 2 kids at 2 ms. old, La Manch/Boer cross.

  14. I’d like to see some sound nutritional comments here while you’re giving such great information about eating goat meat. You’re parroting “conventional wisdom” by saying that low cholesterol and fat is a good thing. Beef, raised properly (as with any animal) is a healthy food. (I am not a farmer nor do I have anything to do with this way of life.) The Weston Price website has stellar and REAL nutritional information and they are behind the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (

    Saturated fats are vital for our health. Period. That applies to cholesterol as well. Human (as well as animal) anatomy and physiology absolutely bear this out. When the low/no fat and low/no cholesterol garbage is continually repeated the drug companies and medical cartel reap the benefits………we, the people DO NOT. We get sicker and more stupid due to the lack of real nutrition for our bodies and brains.

  15. You’ve left out the Pygmy goat! They are are not only a meat goat, they are also “dual purpose;” meaning that you get both meat and milk. When it comes to a bone to meat ratio… the Pygmy is hard to beat. Also, when it comes to pasturing goats, the amount of goats per acre is based upon the quality of your pasture.. Bear in mind that goats are not “mini cows;” goats eat more forbes and legumes than grass.

    • I azquired 7 pignies , 2 years agoe for free. We now have a thriving little goat nmeat business, because only 1 was male and he is a busy little guy. I have given a few to friends with small yards and they are very happy. We keep the male about 500 yards from the ladies and we provide him with plenty of good eatings. he is happy and the stink stays away from the other goats

  16. When I was a teenager my family raised goats for meat and for milk. They are very good. Yes, the goats also tend to be goofy animals. They are funny at times.

  17. I would like to know the amount of Omega 3 fat in goat meat. That is relevant to anyone with cardiovascular disease like me.

  18. It’s amazing how many people will eat an animal, and not realize how they would feel if they were on the other side of the fence. Did any of you ever think, even for one second, how the animal feels, being KILLED for its meat? Ever wonder if it hurts them? Ever wonder how scared they are? Do you really believe it’s humane to kill? Your bodies are not made to be carnivorous, yet you’ve been so conditioned that you eat anything that can walk, and some things that can’t. Ever wonder why your intestines are long, or why you can’t see in the dark, or why you don’t have true canine teeth? It’s because you were not created to eat meat. Animals have the ability to eat and digest meat, easily. Your body has to cook it, in order to get rid of the bacteria in it. Think, for one second, how your bodies must adjust itself, constantly to accommodate your meat eating habits. I realize I won’t reach most of you, but maybe just one of you will look into what animals go through when you slaughter them. Please check into a video called, “Meet your Meat”. angel

    • Angel, human intestines are not quite as long as a ruminant, and not quite as short as a carnivore. If you want to classify humans, we’d be omnivores. We are not the result of complex evolutionary processes taking billions and billions of years.

      You should not eat anything that moves. There are certain meats that are good for you, certain ones that are very bad. Most ruminants are great. Carnivores and omnivores and some others are bad. Most fowl is good, predatory birds are bad. General rule of thumb, if it’s got a split hoof and chews its cud – good. If it’s a song bird and has three toes in front and one in back – good. Fish with scales AND fins – good.

      The proper way to kill an animal is slitting it’s jugular in a compassionate way. The animal painlessly loses consciousness, if done right.

      People should not eat meat every day. In the old days, you’d slaughter an animal and it’d be a big feast for extended family, friends, neighbors, etc.

      • Actually Joe, some people, like me, do better physically by eating meat every day. Protein types need animal protein and fats in a fairly high ratio to carbs. Just because the Bible refers to meat for special occasions does not mean that meat was not eaten regularly.

    • You need a lesson in human biology. I shoot my animals in the head which is very quick and humane. I treat all my animals with great respect and give them confortable surroundings. If you want cruelty just watch a nature show and see some big cats or hyenas killing a gnu or other Harmless creature. Get off your high horse

      • I would much rather see my animal humanely euthanized than to find out that it died a long lengthy death because some idiot bought it and didn’t know how to or just plain didn’t take prober care of it. My animals serve a purpose to be born and raised to provide meat or reproduce on our farm. Some are just pets too. I take pride and caring for all our animals and thanking them for their purpose. I have seen way more “Pets” die a terrible death than the animals intended for food. My animals are not scared when we butcher them, if they were then the adenilin would taint the meat.

    • I have read that as soon as a goats jug. vain in cut that the goat death is instant. Not true with all animals but because God designed it that way.
      I am a raw foodist and do not eat meat only because of some health issues. But when my body returns to normal, would love to try Goat meat. God is ok with that.


  19. Very interesting to this city boy. Thank you all for your input. What is CAE-free? Is this a disease? Do you buy food for them in pens or do you graze them in large pastures?

  20. The small / miniature cattle breeds are the way to go if you are going to eat meat, they can graze rangeland without killing the trees and shrubs and are highly efficient.
    I would not recommend raising goats for meat. First, they decimate the environment. People pen them under trees for the shade, and they girdle the trees, if you want to “kill an island” introduce goats, they are known as an environmental disaster. This link about giving goats to developing countries is very interesting.,_give_at_Christmas
    They are as smart and personable as dogs so please consider an essay on eating dogs next.
    Long ago, I had my goats butchered and they are more aware then cows, I deeply regret having done that.
    Beheading is not painless, the butcher was supposed to bring a gun and didn’t, even though he was fast the results were obvious. Has anyone heard of Chai seed? I feel better after including that in my diet, it’s very high in omega3.

    • 1 of my friends; with whom I trade goat meat and other garden stuff, has dexters and youn are right as a grass fed breed they provide milk and very excellant beef.

    • I agree about the mini cows. But I also think that hair sheep are economical and much easier on land and fences than goats and make fantastic meat.

  21. Angel,
    Why do you and your idiot friends troll these forums in order to promote your misguided, sophomoric opinions? If you spent your time actually helping people, instead of trying to cram your agenda down their throats, you might be more appreciated.

  22. I really enjoyed this article. The joy of dairy goats was shared with me by some yuppie friends of mine, but I was amazed how great & healthful goat’s milk can be! Now, you’ve taken us to the next level; thanks! What a pleasant avocation and step toward healthy, economical, enjoyable independence! Thanks, again!
    PS- I was truly charmed by the idea of the fainting goats!

  23. We’ve been raising dairy goats for 30 years. At one time we had five breeds at once. Very active showing,etc. in a five state area. Now we just have a few Alpines and Alpine/Togg crosses for our own house milk – and meat. The place where we take our wethers to be butchered tells us we bring the biggest goats of anyone they have – and we only bring yearlings, usually. Our’s grow up running the woods, nothing else. No grain (alfalfa in the winter). We just put four wethers in the freezer. We had one of the haunches smoked and it was wonderful! Smoked goat is really good. We’re going to learn to smoke our own now. We’ve smoked other meats but not goat. I love the stew meat – very tender and mild. We also put the ground goat meat in with bull meat (we don’t raise steers) and make sausage with the two. Very lean but very good for you. And if you think veal is good – try a 2 month old kid who is still nursing his mom real good and getting a lot of milk – the meat is so tender you can cut it with a fork. Our two month old kids usually weigh around 60 pounds. We have seen no benefit to going to the meat breeds for our goat meat. Our dairy goats average 2 gallons a day at maturity with very little grain (oats). All the browse they can get. We’ve spent years breeding for goats that will give us the milk without putting a bunch of money into them (like we used to do) – culling very hard even for matstitis. Now we’ve not even had a case of mastitis in over 15 years. We milk once a day and leave the kids on the dams (used to bottle raise everything). We tested our herd for everything under the sun for several years because we were exporting and not one single posititve test for anything. Everything negative (TB, CAE, brucellosis, Johnnes, etc.). We’ve never tolerated abcesses, either, and now we’ve not had any of those in a good 15 years, maybe longer. We used to show reg. Suffolk sheep so abcesses were not something we could live with like a lot of goat owners do. The few goats we have left have been in a closed herd for several years now. I like it this way – health problems have been zero and we get all the milk and meat we need. We curdle milk every day and feed it to our chickens instead of laying pellets. They love it and clean every bit up every day. We also feed oats, milo, kitchen scraps, fresh cut grass, etc. We’re working on getting away from any animal feed that might have GMO grains in it. We have no worries about our meat, milk and eggs making us sick as long as we keep things clean and healthy.

    • Lynne, Fantastic! Love to hear about people who are getting away from purchased grain as much as possible. We need to raise animals more sustainably.

  24. I love this article,we are looking into meat/milk goats. Just for our own use.If the meat is as good as people say that’s great. I had to drink the milk as a child and did not like it, but never tasted the meat. On Cyprus we ate feta cheese and that’s good. I would hate to be friendly with an animal we have to kill but maybe just for the milk would be fine. Nice that online you can get so much info.

    • We had a couple of mixed breed milk goats ~15 years ago due to my daughter’s lactose intolerance for cow’s milk. I found that storing it in plastic made it taste bad. I am assuming that was due to its absorbing something from the plastic. When stored in glass, it tasted good. It seems to be naturally homogenized and there will be very little cream rising to the top. I am not sure if a separator would work on goat’s milk as it does for cow’s milk.

  25. excellent article..we too, have raised dairy goats for a number of years. We nearly culled our herd down to nothing during the dreaded y2k…lottsa folks got some great goats from us during that time..we wanted everyone to have dairy goats, still do…as far as the diseases and such, we also sent goats to mexico and had to be tested for cae and such…I thought that was funny, we had to test to send out stuff there but I know of no test for the incoming? We milk today and have a couple that are destined for the freezer this fall. One thing I can tell you about keeping a buck is they are necessary for increasing the heard, but dont let them around your nannies while they are wet…makes the milk taste like a buck..segregate them…..or do as the folks in upper column suggests…raise the buck or get a neighbors boer to do the business…thanks for a great ezine…

  26. While I celebrate the right to raise goats for meat, your statement that it is healthier because of a lower fat content turns the facts on their head.

    Animal fats are among the very healthiest fats, and chicken meat is not a healthy choice specifically because it has inadequate fat. We need those animal fats to fend off type II diabetes, and heart disease.

    Get up to speed on the real world; don’t parrot the politically correct nonsense, please!

  27. Wow, so many good comments after such a wonderful article. I have been contemplating getting some dairy goats for a while and my daughter love to spin and weave fiber. Any suggestions on a breed or breeds for that?

  28. how does rabbit meat compare

  29. I am very new to this so can someone explain some of these leters (TB, CAE, brucellosis, Johnnes) and any other deseases.
    Thanks Maureen

  30. I live in China. It is nice to read testimonies from people who are blessed to seperate there bucks and female goats 500 yards apart and other people who can let their goats freely graze through the woods. Is goat raising applicable for people who have a yard less than an half an acre long in which they also have to use the yard to grow a harvest to take care of their family and take care of chickens to provide for their family?
    Does anyone know if it is possible to raise goats on such little land? If not, is there any other animals which can be raised on such little land space for their milk?
    Thanks for any feedback.

    • I can understand you wanting an animal to provide milk but with so little land and needing to have land for a garden too, it might not be possible. A possibility might be Pygmy goats and depending on your garden size, you still might not have enough space. Maybe you could co-op with neighbors so you all would have milk and meat? Or perhaps if you did a co-op, you could do a small breed cow?

  31. Which stores sell goat meat or where does one find a farmer who will sell you goat meat????? What good is your information unless it contains a resource of where it can be resolved (where to buy the meat)?????


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