For a farmer or an owner that would like to invest in a farm, goats are one of the popular cattle chosen because of their adorable outlook as well as what they can bring about. Known as a land cleaner, goats are also the entertainer to a lot of farmers. If given proper care, farmers can easily measure “how long do goats live?” for their business plan.
How to determine a goat’s age?
1. Looking at the teeth
There are different ways to estimate the age of goats, but the most popular is to observe their teeth. It is interesting to note that goats are born with their milk teeth only at the front bottom and the gums at the upper front.
As goats get older, permanent teeth begin to show up, replacing the milk teeth. The details of teeth development in different stages can be referred to in the below table.
|Baby||8 baby teeth|
|13 – 15 months||2 first permanent (central) teeth, so there are 2 permanent teeth & 6 milk teeth|
|18 – 21 months||2 more permanent (lateral) teeth, which means 4 permanent teeth & 4 milk teeth|
|22 – 24 months||2 more permanent teeth on the 2 sides of the 4 permanent teeth & 2 milk teeth|
|27 – 32 months||Full mouth – 8 permanent teeth|
At the age of 10 years, goats start to lose their tooth or teeth become worn down, causing difficulties in eating and consequently resulting in diseases or sicknesses. Moreover, the type of vegetables fed and the living condition also play an important role in tooth loss or teeth weakening in later years.
2. Goat body condition scoring
The body condition score, like the BMI figure of humans, i.e. weight, height, or muscle, is also a reliable source to judge the age of goats. Normally, younger goats have more muscle, and their hips and neck area are rounders.
By the way, by observing a herd of generally healthy goats, we can easily identify if one of the goats is in good condition or not. For example, an older one with a lower score may not digest grain and forage as well as the younger; or if a young goat has a low score, it may be not in good care and not provided with enough nutrients.
Sometimes, the way a goat moves – slowly or fast, or the posture when a goat walks is watched as well.
How long do goats live?
A goat’s lifespan varies depending on not only the breed but also the gender. That’s why different goats in a herd may have different lifespans.
1. Goat gender
The average lifespan of does (female goats) is up to 17 years. In case does experience some difficulties in giving birth to babies, their life may be shorter. Some does are likely to die during their pregnancy or after the birth of babies.
That’s the reason why does that stop their breeding earlier have longer longevity, and also why farmers prefer to wait until the moment does reach a specific weight to let them breed.
On the other hand, bucks (male goats) don’t live as long as does. The main reason for this is usually the stress of the rut. Consequently, bucks encounter severe weight loss after the reproduction season. They may live a lifespan of 8 – 14 years on average.
Moreover, wethers (castrated male), interestingly, have a longer lifespan than bucks – around 11 – 16 years. It is because they don’t have the same stress of rut as bucks do.
2. Goat breeds
In terms of breed, the following table shows the average lifespan of different types of goats.
|Alpine goats||Originating from the French Alps, they acquire great ability to climb rocks and train themselves to adapt easily to different sorts of climate.||Milk||8 – 12 years|
|American Lamancha||There are two different types of Lamancha goats – one with elf ears and one with gopher ears.||Milk||7 – 10 years|
|Anglo-Nubian goats||This sort of goat is easily recognized through their large Roman nose and long floppy ears.||Milk, meat, and skin||8 – 12 years|
|Boer goats||They naturally have a higher resistance to diseases than any other types of goats, so old age is commonly the reason for their death. They prefer weeds to grass – what other goats usually like – for their meal.||Milk and cheese||Bucks: 8 – 12 years
Does: 12 – 20 years
|Kiko goats||Those goats also have natural good shields against parasites and diseases.||Meat||8 – 12 years|
|Myotonic goats||They seem more fragile than other sorts, however, they are actually a long-lived breed.||Meat||15 years|
|Nigerian Dwarf goats||The size of those goats is smaller than other types. Owners love them because they are commonly chosen to be friendly and faithful companions.||Quality milk||15 years|
|Nubian goats||They are said to be a vocal breed as they are louder than other breeds, resulting in the fact that their shelter is usually far away from houses.||Milk (higher production than other sorts)||15 – 18 years|
|Oberhasli goats||They are in smaller sizes compared to other breeds, and they love grass as well as hay. That’s why they are a choice for pasture cleanup. For most farmers, they are truly little and cute.||Milk||8 – 12 years|
|Pygmy goats||This is a popular choice for small farms. They are likely to have a lot of diseases, so they need to be in good care and to have proper vaccination.||Commonly kept as pets; or used for meat, milk||12 years|
|Pygora goats||They are the hybrid of white angora goats and pure pygmy goats.||Fiber (Wool)||12 – 15 years|
|Saanen goats||They have beautiful white hair and upright ears. Due to their high production of milk, they require extra protein in their diet to produce the milk effectively.||Milk||15 years or older|
|Toggenburg goats||Toggenburg goats are very friendly, so they are usually pets besides the role of milk producer.||Milk||8 – 12 years|
Apart from those breeds mentioned in the table, two other breeds attracting a lot of attention in the world are the Spanish goats and the Guernsey goats.
The former type is known to be adaptable and long-lived. However, because of the fact that they are quite rare in the United States, there’s currently no correct records of their lifespan. The latter type is a dairy goat breed with long golden hair. They are more popular in other regions of the world rather than in the United States.
What affects a goat’s lifespan?
The answer to the question “How long do goats live?” may differ because there are different factors that determine the age of a goat. How to take care of the goats’ lifespan is also one of the most important aspects that owners need to pay attention to.
1. Housing and nursing
The first matter that needs to be noted is that goats don’t like wet weather because the bad weather condition may lead to more worms and goat’s bad health conditions. It’s essential to prepare a proper shelter for goats.
Moreover, it is recommended to have a shelter with separate rooms for new mothers to get on with their babies without any interruption from the others.
By the way, all goats love to stay in a herd, so owners should have at least two or three goats in the beginning.
2. Goat maintenance
Daily care to goats is very crucial to their longevity. It is great that owners can spend their time watching the herd and finding out if they have any health problems. One of the specific ways suggested is to use the herbs to create a clean and anti-parasite environment.
Besides, good goat hoof trimming is needed for goats to move without any pain or infection in their hoof. Owners can do this by themselves if they are specialists, or they can have somebody do it.
3. Good breeding plan
As mentioned above, the breeding period may affect a goat’s life expectancy. Therefore, farmers are advised to apply a proper breeding plan.
Of course, the best start of the business is inclusive of both healthy male and female goats. The good quality of parents may ensure the quality of baby goats.
Sometimes, farmers can separate a newcomer for 30 days before letting them get together with the herd, just to see if they have any diseases or parasite problems. This method is highly recommended as those problems are easily spread to the whole herd if they are not treated properly.
All in all, goats are a quality supplier of different products to humans. To answer the question “how long do goats live?”, owners, particularly farmers, need to take care of different factors, from the sorts of goats to the caring methods of a herd. The longer goats can live, the higher level of benefits owners can gain. Therefore, treat them well.