How Long Do Goats Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 to 15 years

Goats are hollow horned ruminants that belong to the genus Capra. They are loving animals who are domesticated for milk. There are also other species of goats such as Ibex and Markhor that live in the wilderness. Most breeds are commonly domesticated as they are a great source of milk and meat.

In regions of China, North America, Europe, and Great Britain, goat’s milk is primarily used to make cheese. Their meat is also consumed by other mammals as their flesh is edible and tender. Other breeds of goat such as Cashmere and Angora are raised to obtain wool. Baby goats are also used sometimes for leather.

Goats are not convenient for large-scale milk production, as compared to cattle, however, they are very economical for small families as they are easy to take care of. A single goat can provide enough milk for a family of three to five for an entire year.

How Long Do Goats Live
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How Long Do Goats Live?

There are different breeds of goats that have varying lifespans. In general, a goat’s lifespan falls under the time frame of 12 to 15 years. Several factors such as the region, weather, food, resistance to diseases, gender, etc determine the lifespan of a goat. A female goat is called a doe, whereas a male goat is called a buck or a billy. Does tend to live longer than billies.

Boer Goats

Boer goats are commonly domesticated for their milk and cheese. They are highly resistant to diseases and they die at an old age. The bucks have a lifespan of anything between 8 to 12 years, whereas the does can live for 12 to 20 years.

Pygmy Goats

Pygmy goats are highly susceptible to diseases, and hence require vaccination and proper care. Both bucks and does of this breed can live up to 12 years on average.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Nigerian Dwarf goats are small in size, because of which they have a cute appearance. They have proven to be loyal companions to their owners, as they can easily form friendships with humans. This breed lives up to 15 years.

Nubian Goats

Nubian goats produce the highest amount of milk when compared to other breeds. They are also very vocal and can make a lot of noise when kept together in large numbers. These goats breed only in specific seasons and have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years.

Anglo-Nubian Goats

Anglo-Nubian goats are easily distinguished from other breeds as they have large roman noses and floppy ears. They are domesticated for their meat and hides as they do not produce much milk. Their lifespan can be anything between 8 to 12 years.

Alpine Goats

Alpine goats have originated from the French Alps. This breed can survive in extreme weather and can easily climb rocks. They also produce milk and live up to 8 to 12 years of age.

Saanen Goats

Saanen goats have white coats and upright ears. They are domesticated for their milk-producing capacity. They have a lifespan of 15 years.

In summary:

BreedLifespan
Boer Goats8 – 20 years
Pygmy Goats12 years
Nigerian Dwarf Goats15 years
Nubian Goats15 – 18 years
Anglo-Nubian Goats8 – 12 years
Alpine Goats8 – 12 years
Saanen Goats15 years

Why Do Goats Live So Long?

The lifespan of a goat especially depends on what they eat and how they are taken care of in their early days. A farm goat has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. If farmers take great care of these mammals, goats can live up to 20 years or even more.

Several variables lead to the premature death of goats. Because of these variables some goats do not live for a long time and can die even before they turn 15 years old. The average life expectancy of does is 17 years, whereas for bucks it is only 8 years.

Bucks live shorter because of the stress of reproduction, which may lead to weight loss. However, they may also have a shorter lifespan because of pregnancy and delivery-related health issues. Diseases play an important role in the survival of both male and female goats. Therefore, some breeds have to be vaccinated and exposed to certain medications.

Some goats may also live longer because of retirement age. At this age, the goats are not further bred and are allowed to live without any reproductive role. Factors such as stress, pregnancy, and baby delivery-related issues get eliminated, thereby, increasing life experiences.

Conclusion

Goats are one of the oldest domesticated animals, that have been raised by people from about 7,000 BC. Because of their unique characteristics, goats are favorite mammals of farmers who breed them every season to obtain milk, meat, and other hides. The average life expectancy of a goat is anything between 12 to 15 years.

A female goat can live up to 17 years on average, in contrast, male goats can live up to only 8 years. Goats demand proper flooding and shelter. They also require sufficient medication and vaccination to have a longer life expectancy.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921448803002694
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19970100633

Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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