Other name(s): Mini Alpine
Scientific name: Capra aegagrus hircus
Country / Place of origin: United States
History: The Miniature Alpine Goat is a cross between an Alpine Goat doe and a Nigerian Dwarf Goat buck. It retains the desirable characteristics of both original breeds, making it a popular breed, not just for its good-tasting milk and quality meat, but also as a pet and farm animal companion. The Miniature Alpine is still an experimental breed but is registered with the International Dairy Goat Registry (IDGR) and the Miniature Dairy Goat Association (MDGA).
Current Uses: Milk, meat, pet, 4-H projects, breeding.
Appearance: According to the Miniature Dairy Goat Association (MDGA), "The Mini-Alpine is an alert, gracefully hardy, animal that adapts and thrives in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The straight or slightly dished face and fine, narrow, erect ears gives it a clean appearance. The various colors are given French name but color patterns are fine to use. Alpines with Toggenburg color AND white markings or all white are discriminated against. Maximum height: Does 28" Bucks 29."
Average weight: 90 - 130 lbs.
Lifespan: 10 - 18 years
Grooming: Like other domesticated pets, goats must be groomed for optimum health and comfort. Their hooves must be trimmed, preferably by an experienced hoof trimmer to minimize stress to the goat and avoid injury to both the goat and the trimmer. Goats are usually bathed and clipped in the summer or before a show. Clipping, which is best done by a professional, gives the goat a clean and tidy appearance. Bathing must be done with lukewarm water and a mild soap, followed by a quick drying with an absorbent towel, hair dryer, or exposure to the sun to prevent chills. A veterinarian should be consulted about de-lousing applications especially in the winter.
Diet: The ideal food for domesticated goats is alfalfa hay and grass hay. This should be available daily in quantities of at least 3% of the goat’s body weight. Small quantities of feed grain and concentrates (often protein-enriched) like goat show or goat grain can also be given to add nutrition. Supplements are often used to address deficiencies inherent to local habitats.Clean water is essential to a goat’s daily diet. It should always be available and provided where it cannot be soiled. Dirty and moldy water is hazardous to the goat’s health. Milking goats should be kept away from aromatic or strong-tasting foliage like garlic, onions, mint, and cabbage, which could taint the flavor of the milk.
Housing: As herd animals, goats are best kept in pairs or groups. As grazers, they require an outdoor habitat that is securely fenced to prevent escape or foraging in restricted areas. The area should be large enough to allow the goat to roam. The recommended habitat per goat is 200 sq. ft. of yard or pasture plus a sheltered or indoor area of about 15 sq. ft. The sheltered area should be adequately built to keep the goats safe from rain and strong winds.Keeping goats inside the house is not recommended because of the pet’s tendency to gnaw and chew on furniture and furnishings. Goats are also not known to adhere to toilet training.
Health issues: Goats are sensitive animals that can suffer from various infectious and chronic diseases that are sometimes undetected until too late. Vaccinations, as well as de-worming and de-lousing applications must be conducted as needed. Milking goats should be checked regularly using prescribed mastitis tests for udder health. Milking areas should always be clean and the goat’s teats treated with teat dip after milking to prevent mastitis.Goats must be inspected frequently to detect any signs of poor health, infections, or other ailments. Signs include cloudy or teary eyes, dull or fluffed up coat, droopy tail, hunched back, or poor appetite. A veterinarian should always be on call to address health concerns.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: Goats are inherently curious, active, intelligent, and social. They are known to have the ability to overcome enclosures by unraveling the gate, climbing over the mesh, or pushing and ramming the fence down. Goats have good coordination and balance and can manage to climb low trees, ledges, and overhangs. Their curiosity leads them to constantly investigate items with their mouths; most items get chewed and swallowed. With a little patience, goats can be taught to carry or pull loads, respond to calls, and lead a herd. As social animals, they easily get along with other farm animals.