Goats for Meat
The list of goat breeds that are considered “meat goats” is quiet long. In our area, the Boer is a popular breed. The breeds that are considered meat goats have more musculature than other breeds, and their meat is more palatable as well. Any goat could be eaten, but many of these breeds have been selected for their quality over hundreds of years. We actually own a Kiko (another meat breed), but not because we intend to eat him. We use him as a stud for our dairy goats.
Goats for Fiber
There are also breeds of goats who are used for their fiber, or hair, such as Angora and Cashmere. The hair is harvested, processed through a carding machine, dyed, spun and used as a yard for many purposes. We have visited an Alpaca farm in the past and I can assure you the the process is actually quite fascinating.
Dual Purpose Goats
While all nanny goats, or does, will produce milk, and while all goats can be eaten, breeds are selected for their specialties because they taste better or produce more than another breed. However, you can choose a dual purpose goat. These goats give a middle ground. They still taste fine and grow to a decent size and they produce a good amount of milk that tastes good. For a pure bred goat, a Nubian would be a good choice for this purpose. However, many varieties of cross-breed goats are excellent as well.
Selecting your Goat Breed
In our area there seems to always be a goat for sale. Sometimes a dairy goat, sometimes a goat being sold just as a goat to clear brush. The important thing is not to just jump at the opportunity for the first goat that comes up. First be sure that you have a good grazing pasture established for them. Then decide what you want out of your goat and take the time to find it. Ask around at the farm supply store or at a farmers market and someone will surely be able to help you find a local farmer with a breed that will make you happy.