When choosing the perfect new addition to your family or farm, it’s important to know roughly how big your chosen goat will be to help you work out how much space it needs, how to feed it, and the like. However, this isn’t always an easy question to ask in many cases, which can leave people wondering: how much do dairy goats weigh? This isn’t the easiest question since there are countless dairy goat breeds.
However, we’ve outlined some of the key things you need to know to answer “how much do dairy goats weigh” with confidence. And don’t forget: a dairy goat’s weight will fluctuate throughout its life, so just because it weighs a certain amount at one weighing doesn’t mean it will be the same the next time you run it through the weighing scales!
How Much do Dairy Goats Weigh on Average?
First off, we should consider how much dairy goats weigh on average. On average, most dairy goat nannies will usually weigh around 120-150lbs, while dairy goat billies will often mark the scales at around 170-200lbs.
However, it’s vitally important to remember here that this is only a very crude estimate of dairy goat’s mature weights since there are countless different factors that influence how much your dairy goat will weigh. Even something as lactation can influence your goat’s measured weight since a full udder carrying 5lbs of milk will undeniably increase your goat’s weight.
Factors that Affect a Goat’s Weight
Some of the most common factors affecting a goat’s weight include size, age, body condition score, stage of production, coat type, stomach fill, and the like. As such, you should always keep these points in mind when considering your goat’s weight to estimate how much they are carrying. It’s also worth remembering here that weight alone isn’t a clear indicator of whether your goat is healthy, underweight, or overweight; for this, you should body condition score your goats regularly.
- Size: Invariably, a goat that’s taller than another may weigh slightly more. However, it’s worth considering that height alone may not be a big influence, depending on the actual body mass. A longer-legged breeding goat may only be slightly heavier than a comparable nanny with shorter legs.
- Age: Age isn’t an immediate indicator of weight; even a mature goat may fail to meet its full potential if it didn’t grow well as a kid. However, generally speaking, a young goat will weigh much less than a more mature goat. However, goats tend to do the majority of their growth within the first year of life, and the following years are much steadier.
- Body condition score: Did you know that, for ruminants, a single body condition score represents a weight change of around 5-10%? As such, a goat that’s in body condition score 2 (underweight) will likely weigh around 10% less than a healthy weight goat.
- Production: A goat in production will often have highly variable weights. Of course, during pregnancy, the goat will likely weigh more due to the combined weight of her and her kids (plus placenta). Meanwhile, during lactation, her udder weight may be significant.
- Coat type: Most dairy goats tend to have very short, smooth coats. However, if your dairy goat has a long, heavy coat, such as a Golden Guernsey, this may influence its weight compared to other goats of a similar size.
- Stomach fill: Most dairy goats will eat several kilograms of food per day. As such, if you weigh a goat after eating compared to a goat that has been off its food, you’ll likely notice a weight difference accordingly.
Of course, even with the above factors in mind, individual goats (as with people) will also vary. A more muscled dairy goat will hence weigh more than a dairy goat with minimal muscling. It’s worth noting that this difference is especially significant between dairy and meat goats.
Mature Dair Goat Weights by Breed
The exact weight of your goat as a mature animal will vary. However, we’ve listed some common mature weights by breed and sex for popular dairy goats as follows.
|Breed||Male (Billy/Buck)||Female (Nanny/Doe)|
Evidently, the different goat breeds can have substantial differences between them in terms of weight. If you’re looking for a small and easy to handle goat, a nigerian dwarf might be your best bet. But, if you want a high-producing, large framed dairy goat, a Saanen, Toggenburg, or Anglo Nubian could be good options.
How Can I Weigh my Goat?
If you need to weigh your goat, the most obvious option is to put it on a weigh scales. However, you’ll need specialist, contained weigh scales to do this well (or a lot of patience until the goat stands still on it).
Alternatively, if you have a small goat such as a Nigerian Dwarf, you may be able to weigh it on human weigh scales by weighing yourself, weighing you holding the goat, and working out the difference. This is a method we often use for our Boer kids.
Finally, you could weigh your goats with a weigh tape band. This is much less accurate. However, a measuring tape around the girth can be a simple way to estimate your goat’s weight crudely.
If you’re looking to buy a new dairy goat, starting out by checking their weight is often highly important. Of course, this is something that many people aren’t aware of, which can often leave us surprised by how much (or how little) our goats weigh. Of course, it’s highly worth considering that a dairy goat is bred to have a fine build, so they will often weigh much less than a meat goat or fiber goat of comparable height and size.
However, you should always be careful when judging your goat’s weight, especially when it comes to feeding rations and medications; while some people can judge weight by eye (something I like to think I’m pretty good at), this is a skill that takes a long while to learn and can often be deceptive!