The Damascus goat is a breed of domestic goat that is mainly used for the production of milk, but it also has other uses. Depending on your definition of beauty, you could either think that this is the most beautiful goat, or the ugliest thing you have ever seen.
But, even if you don’t consider this animal a beauty, you will likely fall in love with its sweet, sad eyes. Today we are going to talk about everything you ever wanted to know about Damascus goats, including how to breed and raise them. Let’s get started.
What are the Origins of the Damascus Goat?
This is an even-tempered animal that loves to get plenty of attention from humans, and in addition to being a great source of milk, it can also be a loving and fun pet.
The Damascus goat origin can be traced to India and other parts of the Middle East, but it didn’t originally come from this part of the world. It was originally exported by Britain in the 19th century, and brought to Cyprus where serious breeding began.
This is an even-tempered animal that loves to get plenty of attention from humans, and in addition to being a great source of milk, it can also be a loving and fun pet. It is calm and obedient, and if raised around them can be great with children. This is a large breed of goat, and they are happy to be left to their own devices in a pasture of medium size. Just make sure they have plenty of grass to graze on, and trees for shade. These animals do not forage well, as they have undershot jaws.
The Damascus goat is a hardy breed, and there are no known health issues within the breed. Anyone who is interested in raising goats should consider this breed, because they are so easy to care for. These are excellent starter goats.
These goats are generally bred and raised in Cyprus, Syria, and Lebanon, and they are known by many other names, including Baladi, Damascene, Shami, Halep, Aleppo, and Chami. This is a breed that is native to the Middle East, and it is generally raised in large herds.
There are many stories in Arabic literature that mention the Damascus goat. It can be found in folklore in this region, and it is seen in religious literature as well. This is a noble beast, and it has often been used to create other breeds of goats, and there is plenty of interest in its genetics, as well as breeding. In 2008, a Damascus goat received the Most Beautiful Goat award at the Mazayen al-Maaz competition, held in Riyadh.
What are the Main Characteristics of the Damascus Goat?
There are Damascus goat characteristics that make it completely different from any other type of goat breed. They are relatively large in size, and they are Nubian. Most Damascus goats are red or brown, but they are seen in other colors, including grey and pied. They can have horns or not, and they tend to have long hair. A fully grown Damascus goat has very long legs, and a long neck, but it has a small head. The bucks are larger than the does, which is normal among most goat breeds.
Physical Characteristics of the Damascus Goat
Damascus goats tend to weigh between 130 and 200 pounds, with the males being larger. An adult male will stand approximately 80cm at its withers. They have medium to longish hair, and it is very soft.
With jaws that are similarly structured like that of a bulldog, the Damascus goat isn’t exactly the prettiest animal in the world. They are adorable when they are small, but as their jaws grow, and with the snub nose, they don’t grow up to be gorgeous animals. Think of the saying, “a face only a mother could love” and you have the Damascus goat. But, those who love them really love them, and they see the inner beauty of the bred.
Generally, these goats are reddish brown in color, but there are many variations, including white, fawn, grey, and pied. These color variations can be found in both sexes. Damascus goats tend to weigh between 130 and 200 pounds, with the males being larger. An adult male will stand approximately 80cm at its withers. They have medium to longish hair, and it is very soft.
You might have noticed that these goats have very odd looking ears. Their ears are extremely long, and they tend to droop. Males and females have ears of the same length and style. The ears are often cropped for goats that are in shows.
Damascus goats have horns that are long and thick, and they curve backwards. The male has horns that are a bit longer than the female, but the shape is pretty much the same. These goats tend to reach maturity between 3 and 10 months.
What is the Damascus Goat Used For?
In North America, goats are often kept as pets, including Damascus goats. But, there are several Damascus goat uses that farmers in other countries all over the world are taking advantage of. For instance, this is a dairy goat breed, and in most cases, it is used for milk production. At its peak, a single Damascus goat can produce as much as 650kg of milk in a single lactation.
But, these animals are highly valued for other reasons as well. They can be used for meat (as long as you don’t get too attached to them and decide to keep them as pets and for milk). They can also be used for making leather, and of course, since they are becoming more and more popular, Damascus goats are also used for breeding.
These goats grow quickly, and because of this, bucks are often cross-bred with regular goats. This helps them to become heavier faster. Damascus goats are known to have a high rate of twin births, and you can often get two to three babies per kidding. This is one of the reasons why these goats are so popular with goat breeders, as they can increase their goat count relatively quickly.
Breeding Damascus Goats
If there is anything that can be said about goat breeding, it’s that it is relatively simple; it is the same with Damascus goats. Keep in mind that these goats only breed once every year, usually in the spring time.
Damascus goat breeders who want to have large herds tend to have many of these goats, particularly if they are in the business of selling their animals. The breeding period is as long as 36 hours, with a breeding cycle of 18 to 24 days. The gestation period for these animals is about 155 days, and they usually have three to four kids at a time.
Damascus goats are excellent mothers, and they wean their kids so they don’t have to be bottle fed after leaving their mothers. Baby Damascus goats can drink their mothers’ milk for up to 240 days (the lactation period), and they tend to milk from four to six weeks. These animals have awesome maternal instincts, and they will do whatever it takes to protect their young.
Unless there are complications during pregnancy or delivery, there is little that the breeder needs to do in order to breed these animals. They pretty much take care of themselves, and they know how to look after their own babies without any human intervention. In fact, in most cases, natural breeding of these animals is the preferred method. A healthy buck can breed as many as 30 does, making him a pretty busy guy, and a popular one among the lady goats.
Raising Damascus Goats
If you are going to breed Damascus goats, it is important that you know how to raise these animals so they are healthy and happy. If an animal isn’t healthy, you aren’t going to get quality milk or meat from it.
Obviously, these goats need to be given quality food, and it needs to be nutritious in order for the goats to be healthy and active, as well as to be able to produce milk and more babies. If you are keeping these goats for milk, make sure that they are getting plenty of greens, which will help to improve milk production.
Believe it or not, these goats have more nutritional needs than human babies. It is important that you are using healthy goat feed for goats that have been weaned. Also keep in mind that if your doe has more than one baby, it has more nutritional needs than if it only has one.
Something else to consider when keeping Damascus goats is the care that is involved. Like any animal, these goats need to be vaccinated, and they will need to have de-worming medications regularly. If you have breeding bucks or pregnant or nursing does, it is important to give them even more care to ensure healthy babies.
What Kind of Shelter do Damascus Goats Need?
When it comes to a Damascus goat shelter, keep in mind that these goats are on the larger side, so they need plenty of space. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is each goat should have approximately 15 square feet of space in their enclosure. They also require homes that are dry and clean, so make sure that you clean the enclosure regularly, and that there is always dry hay or straw. You will also need to make sure that there is good ventilation in their enclosures. The comfort of your animals is important for their overall health, and to ensure quality milk production.
Not only do they need dry space for comfort, this can also help to prevent infections. There are other things to consider as well when planning a shelter for a Damascus goat. For instance, in addition to their own space, you need to think about where and how you are going to store all of the supplies you need for raising these animals, including straw, food, water, and other goat-related supplies.
Buying Damascus Goats
You are probably wondering by now about the price of Damascus goats. There are several factors that can influence the price of one of these animals. For example, if you have cross-bred your animals, they won’t fetch nearly as hefty a price as a purebred animal. At one time in India, these goats can cost as much as 250,000 Syrian pounds. These days, that can seem pretty inexpensive. These goats can now cost as much as 2.5 million Syrian pounds, which is about $5,000 in US dollars.
The price may be enough to turn you off wanting to raise Damascus goats, but you have to look at what you can earn in the long run. This is going to be an investment, and you can make a pretty good amount of money with your goats, whether you are breeding them to sell as live animals or you are selling the milk, meat, or leather. The reason why these animals are so costly is the fact that this is a rare breed.
Also, now that there are videos of these goats on social media, they are becoming increasingly popular, which is going to increase the price. If there is a market that really wants something, people will pay for it.
We are going to leave you with a few tips on buying Damascus goats to ensure that if you are interested in buying these animals, you will get quality animals that are in the best of health.
Never buy a goat that is less than six months of age, or that is still being bottle fed. Also make sure that it has been vet checked for good health.
Make sure that the animal is vaccinated, and that you see proof of vaccination before taking it to your farm.
Any animal needs a friend, so if you are going to buy one Damascus goat, make sure you get two so they have each other for company.
Check with numerous breeders before making your final decision. Remember, these animals don’t come cheap, so you want to make sure you get the best.
If you are buying more than one animal, you may be able to do a bit of bargaining to bring the price down.