Goats History


It is believed that goats first became domesticated about 10,000 years ago in Iran. They were used for many of the same reasons that they are used for today. These reasons include warmth (clothing), milk and meat. During this period of time, they were taken care of by herdsman who where typically kids or young persons. Goats were handled in herds and mostly grazed for food. 

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The skin of goats in ancient times, were used as parchment (a precursor to paper) and also to hold and transport wine and water. There were a number of uses for goats while they were alive and even after they died. In Iran and the surrounding area,  goats were used for foodstuffs including milk, cheese and meat. Today, people in these areas still include goat products in their diet. The milk and cheese in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa come from goats. This is not the case in the West, where most cheese and milk product are taken from cows.

Today, goats have many of the same purposes that they did thousands of years ago. Some people still consume their meat and drink their milk and create cheese from it. Depending on what part of the world you are in,  these foods make up a large part of the daily diet, for instance in the Middle East. In places such as America, goat cheese and meat is consumed but not in large quantities. It is considered a delicacy in many parts of the country. Cheese made from cow’s milk as well as meat taken from this animal is much more common in the United States. However, you will still find goats, goat farms and goat breeders. You will also find them in the wild. Mountain goats are found solely in North America. Cashmere is a common use for the animals in this part of the world. They may also be raised to compete in shows and fairs or kept as pets.

The history of the domesticated goat, as most people accept it, begins in Iran. Then and now, the uses for the goat have largely been the same. People drink their milk, eat the cheeses that are created from this milk and consume their meat. Goats may also become companions and family pets.  Today, they are bred for various purposes, mostly for food production (example: the Boer goats).

Every breed of goat that exists today did not exist originally. Some were developed and bred for various purposes, largely for food. The Boer goat was developed in the early 1900’s by Dutchmen in South Africa. There original purpose was meat. Today, these animals are extremely popular amongst goat owners. This is partly because they produce lean meat, can live in a variety of environments, grow and reproduce at a very fast rate. 

This is a very brief introduction to the history of the goat. If you are interested in a more detailed account, you may want to take a visit to your local library.

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Until next time,

Valik Rudd
Fellow Goats Raising Enthusiast

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