Goats are the perfect addition to every homestead. They have endearing personalities, minimal care requirements, and are a healthy food source. Homestead goats provide highly nutritious, naturally lean, and protein-rich meat.
The most popular meat goats to consider for your homestead include Boer, Kiko, Spanish, Myotonic, Nubian, Savanna, Kalahari Red, Australian Rangeland, Angora, and Verata goats. The Black Bengal, Pygmy, and Kinder goats are the best smaller-sized goats for meat production.
While any goat breed can be used for meat, certain species are better-suited thanks to their genetics that influence their muscling and body composition. With over 300 distinct goat breeds, we’ve singled out the most popular breeds best suited for your homestead and meat production.
Popular Breeds of Meat Goats for Your Homestead
While all goat breeds can be raised for meat production, meat-goat carcasses are leaner and more muscular. Here are the 13 best breeds of meat goats for your homestead.
The Boer goat is a specialist meat goat initially bred in South Africa. They boast large, sturdy frames and muscular bodies, weighing between 200 and 340 lbs. Boer goats are the largest and arguably the best goat breed for meat production.
Boer goats are gentle giants with a remarkable capacity for adaptation. Their robust fertility rates, docile natures, and resistance to common diseases set them apart from other goat breeds in the meat industry.
“Kiko,” meaning “meat” in Māori, signifies the primary qualities of the Kiko goat breed. Kiko goats are native to New Zealand and may be the hardiest goat breed. Although only introduced to the United States in the 1990s, Kiko goats are swiftly rising in popularity due to their robust nature and high-quality meat.
Kiko goats are fast-growers with large frames and muscular bodies. They weigh between 100 and 300 lbs., providing nearly equal amounts of protein-rich meat as Boer goats.
Kikos are also highly economical. They require minimal attention and can achieve maximum meat yield on pasture and forage, negating expensive supplement needs.
Spanish Goat (Brush Goat)
Spanish goats, also known as Brush goats, are praised in the meat industry for their tender, protein-rich meat source. Although secured as a production niche, Spanish goats are commonly crossbred with Boer goats for a hardy hybrid meat breed.
Spanish goats are medium-sized, stocky goats that weigh 50 to 200 lbs. They are long-living and prolific breeders, even breeding out of season. These goats are incredibly hardy and rugged. They quickly adapt to challenging environments and thrive in rough forage and brush-like environments.
Tennessee Fainting Goat (Myotonic Goat)
Myotonic goats, or Tennessee fainting goats, are among the few indigenous breeds in the United States. Although medium-sized goats, weighing between 60 and 175 lbs., Myotonics make perfect meat goats for a homestead.
Myotonic goats are bulky and heavily muscled in their chest and rump area. And, although smaller than Boer and Kiko goats, Myotonic goats boast a better meat-to-bone ratio in their carcass – they deliver a 4:1 instead of the 3:1 yield.
These fainting goats suffer from myotonia congenita, a unique neuromuscular genetic disorder that causes their muscles to undergo prolonged contraction when startled. Basically, their muscles “lock,” causing them to fall over and stay immobile for around 15 seconds.
In England, in the 1870s, Nubian goats were developed by crossbreeding British goats with African and Indian breeds. Although primarily bred for their rich, creamy milk, Nubians are a dual-purpose breed that produces tasty, high-quality meat.
Nubians are sizeable goats weighing 240 to 310 lbs. Their large stature and hefty, lean muscles make them ideal for meat production. Nubians have cute, floppy ears and playful personalities. They are available in dwarf sizes for homesteaders with restricted acreage.
Nubians produce milk with a milk butterfat percentage of 4.8%. This is the highest percentage of all full-sized dairy goats.
With South African roots, the Savanna is a striking, purely-white goat breed developed for its hardiness and excellent meat yield.
Savanna goats weigh between 125 and 250 lbs. They are short, muscular, and mature faster than most average breeds. They also have exceptional fertility rates. However, Savanna goats are strictly seasonal breeders.
The Savanna is exceptionally hardy and resistant to diseases – even more than the Boer goat. Despite their purely white coats, their skins are black, rugged, and rich with melanin, protecting them from the blazing sun.
Kalahari Red Goat
The Kalahari Red is a distinct breed traced back to South Africa. It features a similar body structure to the Boer but has a fully-pigmented dark red coat. Kalahari Reds are excellent meat goats, producing tender, protein-rich meat.
The Kalahari Red is somewhat smaller than the Boer goat, weighing 165 to 250 lbs. However, it claims to be more robust than the Boer. This hardy goat can withstand hot and dry weather. You can organically raise Kalahari Reds on your homestead thanks to their strong immune systems and limited vaccine requirements.
Australian Rangeland Goat (Australian Feral Goat)
Although a crossbreed, the Australian Rangeland goat deserves a place on our list as one of the best meat breeds for homesteaders. The Feral goat accounts for around 90% of goat meat production in Australia.
The Australian Rangeland is a crossbreed between Angora, Boer, and Cashmeres. The combination resulted in a hardy and fast-growing breed with excellent meat production. Feral goats are tall with wide statures. These low-maintenance goats easily withstand harsh conditions and make amazing mothers.
Angora goats are famous for their luxurious mohair fleece production but still offer superior-quality meat and milk. However, they aren’t as profitable as other breeds.
Angora goats’ skin comprises 10 to 15% of their body and requires skinning. Due to excessive weight loss, many meat markets do not consider Angoras suitable for meat production. However, these goats remain hardy and ideal for homesteaders that want to use the meat for their own use.
Angoras weigh between 70 to 225 lbs. They are reasonably hardy, but they cannot withstand cold conditions as effectively as other breeds when sheared.
Known for its large, twisted horns, the Verata is a dual-purpose goat breed with roots from Vera, Caceres, Spain. The species is smaller than standard goat breeds, but it remains an excellent source of meat and dairy. Verata goats can be ready for meat at as little as 45 days old.
The Verata weighs between 150 and 170 lbs. This breed is hardy, adapts well to different environments, and has relatively easy care requirements. Verata goats can survive on concentrated and low-quality feeds when grazing is scarce.
Black Bengal Goat
Home to Bangladesh, the Black Bengal is an ideal breed for a small homestead. It is a dwarf-sized, dual-purpose goat – perfect for meat and milk production. These tiny black-bearded goats are famously known as the best goat breed regarding meat quality and taste.
The Black Bengal only weighs 35 to 45 lbs. However, its kidding capacity quickly makes up for the shortage of meat. These fertile goats can kid twins or triplets around twice a year.
Pygmy Goat (Cameroon Dwarf Goat)
The Pygmy goat, originally known as the Cameroon Dwarf goat, is a tiny goat of African origin. Despite their small stature, Pygmy goats feature compact, muscular bodies that make them ideal for meat production.
Pygmy goats weigh 55 to 85 lbs. Their small stature and docile nature make them a perfect livestock addition to small-scale homesteads. Pygmy is a dual-purpose goat and can yield equal amounts of milk as a standard dairy goat. They are also highly fertile, often kidding out of season and birthing kid twins.
Kinder goats are a new domestic breed, developed in 1987 by crossbreeding Pygmy and Nubians. The Kinder is compact and well-muscled, making it a dual-purpose breed ideal for meat and milk production.
Despite only weighing 100 to 150 pounds, Kinder goats are hardy and reach around 70% of the adult weight after one year. They also have a phenomenal meat-to-bone ratio.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Breeds of Goats are Best for Meat?
The best goat breeds for meat are Boer, Kiko, Spanish, Myotonic, Nubian, Savanna, Kalahari Red, Australian Rangeland, Angora, Verata, Black Bengal, Pygmy, and Kinder goats.
What is The Most Common Meat Goat Breed?
The most predominant meat goat breed is the Boer goat. They are large, heavily muscled, and offer a lean carcass. These South African goats are fast-growers, extremely hardy and robust, and can breed year-round.
Boer goats are also commonly used for cross-breeding to produce offspring with exceptional meat quality.
What is The Easiest Meat Goat to Raise?
Ultimately, the easiest meat goat to raise will depend on personal circumstances. However, Boer and Kiko goats are an excellent choice for beginners.
Boer goats are hardy and adapt well to most environments, including hot, arid climates. They are mild-tempered and affectionate yet require little to no human intervention in raising.
Kiko goats are praised for their hardy nature, parasite resistance, and superior maternal instincts. They also require minimal special care and thrive on pasture alone.
Which Goat Breed is The Tastiest?
The Black Bengal goat is considered the tastiest goat breed. It is in high demand in local Bangladesh and international markets for its tight body structure and exceptional meat quality and taste.
Successful homesteading starts with selecting the right goat breed. The best goat breeds for meat are Boer, Kiko, Spanish, Myotonic, Nubian, Savanna, Kalahari Red, Australian Rangeland, Angora, Verata, Black Bengal, Pygmy, and Kinder goats.