Saanen Goat Cultivation

Saanen goats are animal of Swiss origin with high milk and offspring yield. One of most important features of this goat is adaptation ability to different climatic and environmental conditions. High yield domestic goat types have been obtained by hybridizing them with domestic goats both in European countries and many other countries due to this feature.

Saanen Goat Hybridization:

Because it wouldn’t be economical to dispose domestic goats we have and to replace them with high-yield culture race animals such as Saanen, developing milk goat cultivation in our country is based on hybridization studies. But, it is required to be meticulous in selection of parents, i.e. to choosie healthy and high-yield animals as breed for success of hybridization studies.

Yield Characteristics

Switzerland Saanen

Domestic Hair Goats

Live weight 

50-55 kg (adult) 

45-50 kg (adult)

Offspring yield 



Lactation time 

270 days   

150 days

Lactation yield 

600 kg 

40 kg

Fat in milk 



Daily Average Milk Yield

2.2 kg   

0.27 kg

Saanen X Domestic Hair (Hybrid) Yield Characteristics

Live Weight  : 50-55 kg

Offspring yield  : 130%

Lactation duration  : 210 days

Lactation yield  : 250-300 kg

Fat in milk  : 3-3.3%

Daily average milk yield: 1.2 kg

Feeding and Important Cultivation Works of Goats

An adult goat in case of pound cultivation (14-15 month-old):  1-1.5 kg quality dry grass and 300-900 g intense fodder should be given according to milk yield. It is more suitable to give 1 kg silage fodder instead of 0.5 kg dry grass. Silage fodder should be given immediately after milking. By this way, taste and odor of silage wouldn’t pass to milk. The following fodder prescriptions can be given for a goat of 50 kg live weight providing 3-4 kg milk per day.




1 kg dry clover

1.5 kg dry grass

3-4 kg green meadow grass

0.5 kg hay

1.5 kg bran

0.5 kg intense fodder mixture

0.5 kg barley meal

3-4 kg green grass

0.5 kg bran

2 kg mangel wurzel

Salt ratios to be added to additional fodders changes according to status of animals. Salt amount changes according to distance that goats can walk for finding water. For example; if distance between manger and water source is 1.5-2 km, salt ratio to be added to intense fodder mixtures should be approximately 1:7. Mixture used should mostly consist of; 1 part salt, 1 part cotton seed pulp flour and 3 parts grain fodder,

Most suitable hay for goats is oat hay. Potato increases milk secretion. Cabbage, pea, oat, barley, corn are most suitable fodders. Green fodders should always be fed by withering.

Feeding Capricorns: Capricorn growth is made for 2 reasons. For cultivating breed or for using and for looking after. Capricorns are breastfed by natural and artificial way.

Natural Breastfeeding: It is performed by sucking mother by Capricorn.

Artificial Breastfeeding: It is performed by sucking mother by Capricorn 2-3 days and by taking colostrum. If there is milk 2-3 days later, sucking should be performed. Quality dry grass or intense fodder should be given 3-4 later. Milk yield period is 10-12 weeks according to development of capricorns. Capricorns should be fed by silage until their rumens develop. Otherwise it causes digestive disorders.

Nutrition of Billygoats: They should be fed more strongly compared to females. Good quality dry grass, oat, barley meal or intense fodder should be given. 0,5-1 kg intense fodder should be given at normal times and 1-1,5 kg intense fodder at insemination times. Egg yolk can be mixed in fodders at insemination periods. Also, vitamin, lime and salt should be added to mixtures. An adult animal consumes 10 L water a day. Water should be given half an hour before and after feeding. Billygoats shouldn’t be weak or fat at insemination time. Hornless mother (female) and hornless father (male) shouldn’t be mated definitely. (Hornlessness is dominant.) Females that are born from them are infertile.

Breed Selection and Usage Age in Breed

In Billygoats: Body structure should be firm and strong. Posture should be smooth and testicles should be big, round and smooth. They can be used in breed when they are 9-10 month-old. Little insemination should be made at the beginning. Age for using in breed is accepted as 5-6 years of age.

In goats: It is wanted that it shows long body, narrow head and female characteristic. Shape of breast is wanted to be round, vessels of breast entering under abdomen to be bulged. In breed selection, not only milk and fat production of females are considered but also milk production of main and close relatives of billygoats should be considered.

Females can be presented to billygoat when they are 8-9 month-old. On lately developing races, it should be given to billygoat when it is 15-18 month-old. Usage age in breed is 7-8 years old for goats.

Principle of developing milk goat cultivation is based on hybridization studies. But it is needed to behave meticulously in selection of mothers and fathers for success of hybridization studies, e.g. health and high-yield animals are needed to be selected.

Billygoat mating procedures for goats

Free mating: Insemination is calculated as one adult billygoat per 30-35 goats for an adult billygoat and one billygoat per 15 goats according to insemination season.

Manual mating: It is known which female will be mated with which billygoat. Flustered goats are determined by using searching billygoat. So, it may exceed 60-70 goats per season because billygoats won’t get tired too much. Determining and selection of animals with good character and continuous improvement of herd for yield are possible by recording with this method.

Billygoat mating: Though it changes according to season and region, it is August-September in our region. Goats and billygoats need to be fed with special fodders that we call Flusking before insemination season. This additional feeding helps decrease of infertility, easy appearance of flustering manifestations and increase of multiple births.

Period of 2 months after insemination is the period when animals require least nutritional materials. Pregnancy duration of goats is 145-155 days. Very good care and nutrition should be applied to mother during last 1-1,5 months of pregnancy, because development of sibling will be too fast at this period.

Mother that is close to birth should be taken to two main parts. Abundant base should be laid to floor. Sibling should certainly receive colostrums for 3-5 days after birth. In general, Capricorns suck their mother for first two months. If there is excess milk, it should be milked, attention should be paid for breast care and cleaning during milking.

Goat Pounds

The following subjects should be paid attention in construction of goat pound;

1. Pound should be hot during winter months and cool during summer.

2. Sudden change of temperature should be prevented inside the building.

3. Humidity condensation should be prevented at building areas forming the structure such as roof, wall, etc.

4. Relative humidity should be kept within certain limits at in-door environment, excess humidity and ammonia should be removed from inside to outside of pound with help of a ventilation system.

5. Harmful air flows that may occur on animals during ventilation should be prevented.

6. Optimum temperature value should be maintained for production inside the building, and air with abundant oxygen should be able to be provided as well as adequate light and ventilation. Difference between inner and outer environmental temperatures should be less than 5-7 0C on the pound.

The following conditions should be complied with in arranging air chimneys,

1. Cross-sections of ventilation chimneys should be minimum 40x40 cm.

2. One ventilation chimney for each 100 m2 of pound floor area should be thought.

3. Chimney effective height should be minimum 4 m and height of chimney from roof ridge should be minimum 0.50 m.

In pounds requiring more than one chimney, it should be provided that cross-sections and heights of chimneys would be the same.

Field requirement of goats: Area separated for goats in pounds varies according to age and cultivation types of animals. 0,75-1 m2 place is adequate in closed area for an adult goat. Area required for goats having Capricorn is 1,25-1,50 m2 . Billygoats shouldn’t be sheltered at same parts. Field requirement of billygoats is 3-4 m2. 1,5 m2 area should be thought for animals that will give birth. An area of approximately twice of the area calculated for pound should be separated as trip area.

The areas given above don’t contain service road and area covered by mangers. For this reason, areas that will be separated for service road, mangers and other required parts should be considered while total required areas are determined.

Manger and fodder requirements: A manger of 40 cm length should be separated for each adult animal and a manger of 30 cm length for Capricorns in manger place. Base width of manger can be 50-60 cm. Width of manger should be 75 cm on mangers where feeding will be made from two sides. Utilization of meadow is considered while determining volume of fodder stock. It can be supposed that annual requirement is 350 kg in calculating volume of gross fodder stock. It can be thought that intense fodder requirement is 100 kg/year. Annual bedstead requirement of goats can be taken as 50 kg/year. Dry grass stock can be thought inside t he closed area of pound. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this type of planning increases danger of fire.

Laths of grass mangers should have 8-10 cm intervals if it is thought that animals will eat grass without putting heads inside. In case animals put their heads inside the manger chamber where grass is present, lath intervals should be 20-25 cm in order to prevent putting heads inside.

Adequate water should be present in pound. Amount of daily water requirement is 10 liters for adult animals. Watering should be made at trip areas as far as possible, and waterer should be prevented from frost and adequate drainage should be provided around.