Male Goat Kids
Commercial goat farms average approximately 700 milking goats and provide a consistent supply of top quality milk to processors across the country. The average yield from a milking goat is about 10% of the yield expected from a cow, so in comparison, more goats are needed to produce an equivalent volume of milk.
It is important to remember that it is not the size of the herd that affects the animal’s welfare; it is the standard of animal husbandry and quality of farm management that is important. Good animal husbandry is key, regardless of the size of the herd.
The UK dairy goat industry is made up of 40-45 thousand goats producing just less than 34 million litres of milk commercially. This compares to a UK dairy herd of 1.9 million cows producing just less than 15 billion litres of cows’ milk (2014/5).
Though significant, goat dairy remains a specialist market with goat milk representing less than 0.2% of the volume of cows’ milk produced in the UK. Goat cheese (UK and imported) is now in the top 10 cheeses consumed in the UK.
Goats’ milk produced in the UK is primarily sold as Milk, butter, cheese and yogurt.
Any dairy industry relies on the females of the species to provide milk. When the dairy goat industry was in its infancy it was difficult to find a market for the males and some of them had to be euthanized. The goat dairy industry is actively working towards achieving a better balance between goat meat and goat dairy consumption and keeping consumers properly informed.
It is recognised that for any dairy industry (cow or goat) it is important there is a vibrant meat industry in conjunction with it. In much of southern Europe goat meat is extremely popular. But in the UK it is still under-developed apart from a strong demand from Caribbean and Muslim communities.
The commercial production of goats’ milk in the UK began only 25 years ago and initiatives both to reduce the numbers of kids born and to encourage the consumption of goat meat are becoming more successful. Industry initiatives have resulted in kid meat increasingly being offered in quality restaurants and speciality retail outlets.
Farms supplying all of the Goat Dairy Trade members of the Provision Trade Federation adhere to Farm Assurance and Welfare Standards which enable them to carry Red Tractor Accreditation. These standards clearly state the following:
Any unwanted, surplus kids are to be euthanized humanely. This should be carried out by a veterinary surgeon or other suitably trained person.
To summarize due to the efforts of our members the market for UK produced goat meat is growing rapidly and it is only a question of time before all male goats are reared for meat.