If Oberhasli goats are something you have an interest in, I thought I’d fill you in on some of the breed’s qualities, statistics, and background that you might find interesting—deciding what kind of goats to start a herd with might be difficult for many homesteaders and goat lovers.
When I started planning my off-the-grid homestead years ago, I read and researched for hours, and the knowledge was abundant, if not always consistent.
Your specific requirements should play a significant role in the selection process. For example, that milk was mine—large quantities of it. Milk was my top priority because my family was expanding, and I had many children.
Unfortunately, I could not provide a cow with a home since I didn’t have the appropriate infrastructure, and I was a little afraid of a 1200-pound animal attacking me.
I found myself in the fortunate position of being able to buy three Oberhasli goats, and I took this as a sign that I intended to start my herd.
It didn’t take long for me to develop feelings for these gorgeous goats. There’s no mistaking the rich, nutritious quality of milk from an Oberhasli doe’s teats. It excited me, and I dove deeper into research on these incredible animals.
Origin of the Oberhasli Goat
Here are some fast facts about Oberhasli goats that will fill you in on their rich history. The correct way to say “Oberhasli goat” is a question that people ask frequently.
Many individuals give the name a distinctively unique pronunciation. For example, some people pronounce it oh-bur-has-lee.
Dairy goat growers in the United States have relied on this robust strain, whose forebears originated in the Swiss Alps since the early 1900s.
The Oberhasli breed originates from the Chamois Colored Goat breed of the Oberhasli district in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.
In the 1930s, H.O.Pence took five Swiss Chamois and used them to establish the first purebred herd of Oberhasli goats, also known as Swiss Alpine goats.
A breeders’ group for the Oberhasli was established in 1977, and the animals have since been hybridized with other Alpine breeds.
The American Dairy Goat Association officially recognized the Oberhasli as its breed the following year, setting it apart from other Alpine goats.
The gentle, friendly nature and abundant milk production of Oberhasli goats contributed to the breed’s rapid rise.
Quick Overview of Oberhasli Goat
Oberhasli goats are noteworthy for various reasons, including their stunning markings, high milk production, and rugged pack animal qualities.
Because of their distinctive coloring, Oberhasli goats stand out from the crowd. They are a stunning breed thanks to their unique, alert appearance and markings.
In the same vein as other Alpine goat breeds, they are also well-known for their dairy production. However, their ability to produce milk is extraordinary.
One study found that a healthy doe can produce up to 1.5 gallons of milk daily, with a fat content of up to 4%. In addition, the taste of Oberhasli milk is exceptional, as a bonus.
People who enjoy drinking cow’s milk but are looking for a cow’s milk replacement may find that Oberhasli milk, recognized for its outstanding quality and sweetness, is an appropriate choice. The transition to drinking only goat’s milk was seamless for my family and me.
The kids’ initial skepticism quickly gave way to genuine delight. The Oberhasli goat may be most known for its contribution to the dairy industry, but that is far from its only use.
Their calm demeanor and tolerance to startling make them perfect for transporting things down a route or across a bridge. But, of course, some goats wouldn’t be manageable there.
Oberhasli goats have unique coats. Even if you’ve never seen one, its medium size, black dorsal stripe, nose, and legs distinguish it (along its back). Some male bucks have all-black skulls. Know goat marking rules to compete.
According to the FAO Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), the population is at risk, while The Livestock Conservancy reports that the population is recovering.
For example, there were just 821 registered in the United States in 1990, but that number climbed to 1729 by 2010.
In 2012/2013, Switzerland registered 9320 heads, Italy 6237 heads, and around 3000 heads in Austria. You can find all these countries in Europe.
Because they descended from just five does, purebred herds in the United States started with a low number of animals.
However, the pool of available genes has been improved by breeding with chamoisée Alpines. The Swiss Alpine landrace goats are the ancestors of all Alpine goats, including the French Alpine goats and the Oberhasli goats.
This includes the French Alpine goats. During the early stages of the Alpine breed’s existence in the United States, Swiss Alpines were regularly bred with Alpines of other ancestral lines.
Due to this activity, the American Alpine goats’ gene pool received a boost of hybrid vigor.
As a result, the original populations in Switzerland have a more excellent range of accessible genes than the other populations.
Size in the middle, deep chests, straight or dish-shaped faces, and upright ears. The American ideal has a face that is shorter and wider than other Alpines, with small ears, a wider torso, and shorter legs.
The face is also more comprehensive than other Alpines. The first Bernese Oberhasli goats were used for polling, and such lines remain popular today.
The populations of Graubünden or the French Alps are where horned goats first appeared. The wattles of goats are common.
Only bucks are capable of growing beards. The Chamoisée is characterized by a light to deep red bay coat with a black belly, boots, forehead, dorsal, face stripes, and a black or gray udder. Females may be completely black.
Bucks are easily identifiable by their all-black appearance, including their faces, beards, shoulders, lower chests, and backs.
Bucks can range in height from 28 to 32 inches (70–80 cm), whereas bucks can reach a height of 30–34 inches (75–85 cm) (70–80 cm).
In addition, they can have a weight of 150 pounds, which is equivalent to 65–75 kg in Europe; Bucks 120 pounds sound about right? (45–55 kg in Europe).
Friendly, calm, vigilant, and fearless, but frequently aggressive toward other herd members.
Purpose of Use
The production of milk requires the breeding of females. Fresh milk, cheese, yogurt, and ricotta are some of their most popular products in Italy.
The strength and composure of wethers make them ideal for use as pack animals. They can adapt effectively to exploring novel regions and traversing water when given the proper instruction.
The average milk yield in the United States is 1650 pounds (750 kg), while in Italy, it is 880 pounds (400 kg). The OBA has achieved more successful yields.
The average percentages of butterfat and protein are respectively 3.4 and 2.9. The flavor of the milk is delicate and somewhat sweet.
Because the Oberhasli goat’s progenitors were the Swiss Alps’ landrace, they can adapt to an extensive range of temperatures and thrive in arid alpine regions.
However, goats with Alpine ancestry are less suited to wet regions, where they are more likely to have respiratory diseases and intestinal parasites.
This makes them less desirable as livestock. As a result, breeders in the United States have been able to choose more challenging and powerful animals as the population has grown, contributing to an increase in robustness.
The ability of the Oberhasli goat to adjust the amount of milk it produces in response to changes in climate has made it famous in Switzerland.
As a result, the Oberhasli goat can continue lactating while maintaining its overall health and vitality, even under challenging conditions in the Swiss highlands.
In contrast, other popular Swiss breeds, such as the Saanen goat and the Toggenburg goat, are both types of goats.
These high-yield goats may be considered the best goats for milk, but if they’re kept in settings that need to be better, they’ll put their production goals ahead of their health maintenance needs.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already got everything you need to care for your new goat, but just in case, here’s a quick rundown of the essentials:
- Housing and grazing areas that are suitably STRONG
- Setup for milking, with a milking stand, stainless steel milk bucket, and udder and hand cleaner
- A trusted Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who specializes in caring for dairy goats
Cost of an Oberhasli Goat
Oberhasli goat costs vary from animal to animal; therefore, it’s essential to research the background of the goat you want to buy before you spend your money.
Depending on the pedigree and confirmation of the goat-to-breed standards, as well as other considerations, the price might range from $300 to $1,000.
When it comes time to breed, there does; some goat farmers may borrow a buck from another farm rather than invest in their own.
If, on the other hand, you want to grow your buck to serve as the herdsire for your farm, you’ll need to find a good Oberhasli buck for sale from respected breeders.
As a point of departure, you might think about employing an Oberhasli buckling, which you can pull up with one hand.
These stunning creatures may be the first goats I’ve ever encountered, but that doesn’t change the fact that I think they’re the best. But, honestly, I can’t quite put my finger on why American goat farms don’t have more of them.