The Valais Black neck Goat is a domestic goat breed famous for its stunning appearance. It is a breed of goat that people use for various purposes, although people mainly keep them for their meat, milk, and ability to control vegetation.
Although their ancestors presumably have lived in the Swiss canton of Valais for thousands of years, it is possible that they came to the area around 930 CE with African or Arab migrants.
In the same vein, it’s possible that the Valais Black neck goat descended from an extinct Italian landrace that used to inhabit the regions that are now nearby.
In point of fact, the expansive Rhone valley and the towering alpine mountains that predominate the area also form part of Italy’s northern boundary.
Switzerland is a country where you can find a lot of mountains. The mountains are likely home to one-third of all cropland.
Because goats can prosper and produce despite the harsh conditions of their natural habitat, they have been domestication for thousands of years.
Communities that were cut off from the outside world by mountain ranges met their demands for meat, milk, and pelts by breeding their local stock.
Herders in Switzerland were some of the earliest adopters of selective breeding for milk production. In addition, over an extended length of time, they picked specific coat colors and patterns they favored.
The number of goats in Switzerland decreased throughout the twentieth century due to the increasing cow demand for milk and the prevalence of CAE (caprine arthritis and encephalitis).
Some Swiss breeds were already well-known worldwide for their ability to produce milk. On the other hand, the native breeds that were less common became endangered
For example, the number of Valais Black neck goats had fallen to less than 200 by the late 1960s when they were finally saved for conservation.
An overview of the Valais Black Neck Goat
According to the agency for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the breed is considered endangered globally and in Switzerland, where there is still a population even though they are going extinct.
During the first several decades of this century, a conservation effort maintained their population at approximately 3,300 individuals.
This program worked on generating lineage records, decreasing the amount of inbreeding that occurred, and enhancing genetic diversity overall. In addition, one of the marketing aims was to secure a supply of pelts for use in the production of bags.
In conclusion, the initiative offers financial assistance to buck keepers in order to foster a sufficient supply of sires who are not connected to preserve genetic diversity.
Despite this, the registered population has fallen below 3000 in recent years, and there are just 157 breeding males (as of 2019).
There are also a few kept for production on a smaller scale in nearby regions of Italy (387 heads in 2018), and you can find smaller heads in Germany and Austria by enthusiasts or for the purpose of weed control and landscape maintenance, respectively.
However, because of their geographical isolation, the Valais black neck goat has a significant degree of inbreeding, despite its distinctive qualities that set it apart from other Swiss breeds.
They are of medium stature, stocky build, and muscular, and possess powerful legs for climbing and trekking long distances.
Valais’ black neck goat head and neck are both relatively brief, and the front of the head and the muzzle are broad.
The ears are standing up, and the horns are long and curved in a sophisticated way. Beards, long, wavy hair, and tufts of hair on the forehead are characteristics famous among members of both sexes.
In the past hundred years, coats have become longer, even though shorter coats were better suited for their traditional duty of grazing natural grass and providing milk.
To avoid matting, their lengthier coats demand significant attention from their owners.
The head, neck, forelegs, and forequarters are all black, while the rump, hindquarters, and hindlegs are white.
A clear delineation between the two colors can run along the shoulders back. People believed that hybridization was responsible for the more unique color patterns.
However, incomplete records show that such colors have been present in Valais herds for quite some time. Capra Sempione goats, regardless of whether they have fawn/copper or gray necks or are all white, demonstrate the same features as other goats.
These other hues are intentionally unaware as breeders are now focusing on the Valais black neck goat pattern over the past hundred years.
The coats of the different color varieties are shorter, which is an advantage when foraging because it makes them less likely to become entangled in bushes.
Bucks measure an average of 32 inches (80 cm), whereas females measure 30 inches (75 cm).
Bucks average 145 lb. (65 kg) and does 100 lb (45 kg).
Purpose of Use
In the beginning, Valai’s black neck goat served a dual role for small-scale farmers as a pastoral animal, supplying meat, milk, and pelts.
Even though their milk production is good, does are bred primarily to suckle young so that people can use them to produce meat.
Kids develop rapidly and reach maturity at an early age; the average age at which they have their first kid is 13 months.
Does have the potential to have an average of 1.8 children per year and a seven-year life expectancy. Over 264 days, lactation produces an average of 980 pounds (445 kilograms) of milk with a butterfat content of 3.1% and a protein content of 2.9%.
Valais black neck goats are alert, agile, and full of spirit, and while they are combative among themselves, they are wary of and reserved about newcomers.
Valais black neck goats from the Valais region are frugal and sure-footed since they have spent their entire lives in the high mountains.
They can easily climb steep slopes and travel extensive distances while grazing freely in arid environments in the Alps.
In addition to this, they are caring mothers who provide an adequate amount of milk. However, they fare less well in moist conditions and confinement, as they require space to impose their hierarchy and a diet high in fibrous foods.
Valais Black neck goats are famous for being exceptionally resilient and active animals. The mountainous regions of the Italian provinces of Verbania and Vercelli (Piedmont) are where herders breed and raise them.
The does are capable of producing a good amount of milk. And throughout her 210-day lactation cycle, a doe can produce approximately 500 kilograms of milk on average.
Additionally, the breed is excellent for the production of meat.