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I was talking to a group of people tonight about packing with goats. It was brought up that the bigger goats are better. At this time a couple people started to say they would love find a smaller then avg goat that could carry about 30 to 40 lbs. This got me thinking. A smaller stronger goat would be easyer to tranport. Kids and older forks could handle them and may be not as worried about there size. (My own DD looks at full grown pack goats loaded with gear and wants a smaller goat )
For a breed I was thinking the Kinder would be a good place to start. They are smaller but not tiny. With good bone and muscle. People are raising them as meat goat with carcuse wts at 60%. That is as good as a Boar.
Is any one out there using a kinder that could chime in on this. Or what are you thoughts?

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I am certainly no expert on goats, being rather new to it myself, but I could tell you about my experience so far. I have two boer wethers that I am using for pack trips and two young'uns that are alpine mixes in training. The boers are with horns, and the alpines are hornless. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that a smaller goat with big horns and a big attitude takes up more room, needs a bigger transport vehicle, is more likely to cause an injury on a trip or around the farm, causes more wasted food if he's kept together with the herd, and is less practical for packing than a larger hornless goat. I can already see that my hornless alpine mixes, especially little Noggin that I got from Butthead Packgoats, are going to be much better at most of the aspects of goat packing- not the least of which is staying in reasonable shape without having to be on deprivation diets. The meat goats really tend to be barrel shaped even with very little food. The pack saddle and panniers slide off their backs and need to be straightened up all the time because they are so rotund in the middle, even when they are in good shape (i.e. at the end of a 10 day pack trip)
That being said, the star of our trip last summer was Gyro the two year old full blood boer with an excellent gentle disposition and great hooves who carried 35 lbs. the whole trip. He actually seems to really like packing and has learned to ballance the load on his back really well.

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I kept thinking about this issue today while I walked the goats home from the summer brush clearing areas back to winter paddocks at our house.

We walked for about 2,5 hours and as we haven't done any serious hiking this summer, me and the goats were pretty out of shape.

But I noticed that the first (and almost only) goats that started panting very fast where the smaller but meatier build ones (the boer crosses) while the larger ones that have more part dairy breed in them where fine except for one.

I'm not sure about this but I think that a small goat with enough bone and muscle to carry heavier loads could be at a disadvantage regarding the "size/muscle-ratio" = to much muscle to overheat but not enough body mass to expell the heat, therefore more prone to overheating when working.

Why not suggest to people who don't want a megasize goat to just go with normal sized goats (up to 160 lbs body weight)? These can carry up to 40 pounds when you train them well.

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My 3 goats range in size from 170 lb to 230 lb. The little guy is an Oberhasli named Moose. Next in size is Apache who is Oberhasli X Saanen and probably weighs a bit over 200 lb. The big guy is Pinto, a Saanen. When it comes to hiking stamina without much weight, they all do about the same. I wouldn't expect Moose to carry as much as Pinto, but I do expect him to be just as tough and go just as far. On pack trips I feel that Pinto and Apache can each carry 40 lb +. I keep Moose's load to about 35 lb. I have seen small men who could outwork big guys many times. It's all a matter of conditioning, skill, attitude, and how one uses his strength and weight. Maybe it's the same for goats.

I would say that if what you want is a sturdy but smaller goat, look at an Oberhasli. Besides being tough and smart, they are beautiful to look at.


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The oberhasli has worked our nicely for me also. At 180 to 200 lbs I find them easy to handle. They are agile and quiet. They do not mind water crossing and mine hike in warm weather rain. Placing a pack on thier back never seems to bother them. They seem to tolerate heat and cold without difficulty. We took them phesant hunting this weekend. The shot gun noise did not bother them either. Mine are very bonded and have been in many different hiking and camping arrangements. They just tend to follow allong and figure out what to do. We have had elk and bear in camp, we elk hunt where the wolves howl at us when we bugle. The ober boys just stay close by. I will admit at they got upset at a sudden pounding hail storm at 9000 foot elevation.
IdahoNancy Oberpacker

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595 Posts
The size of the goat has less to do with it than the personality. I have hiked and been with a lot of people's goats over the years and size matters if you are doing heavy loads about 50 pounds. But a lot of people are happy with smaller goats. Some of our club members even hike with mini nubians. And they are happt with a goat that carries lunch. There's no one right goat for everyone.

Personally I like a bigger goat that I can put more stuff on, so I like my goats over 200 pounds, but they also have to have really long legs to go with it. That way I don't have to use as many goats since they each carry more.

But I sell both types and everyone is convinced that his type is the only way to go.

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Interesting discussion.
Mama, you mentioned leggy goats over 200 lbs.
That's what I'm interested in.
What breed(s) produce this type?
Over the years we have had all of the popular dairy breeds,
but I'm sure we've never had a 200 lb goat.
I'm quite ignorant about the meat breeds,
but I see that Boers can top 350 lbs!
Are experienced packers using Boers or Boer crosses?

Every now and then I see a photo of a hiker
with a goat that must be over 40" at the withers,
yet with the conformation of a "regular-sized" animal.
Any idea where these come from?

Our terrain is rugged and I'd like my packers
to carry substantial weights when necessary,
without discouraging or straining these friendly helpers.

I am interested in advice from anyone with experience.
At my age, I have no time to re-invent the wheel.

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537 Posts
My Nigerian Doe is pretty stout.
She is not your typical dairy type that
the registered Niggy owners are looking
for. She is more barrel/mutton shoulders.
She walks with us as a tag a long. But if
I could find a saddle that would fit her. I would
be temped to put it on her.
She reminds me of a arab horse. Lots of

On a negative note for smaller goats as pack animals.
You are going to need to have your cinch straps
on top of the saddle. As it is with my togg I almost
have to get on my knees to put the strap in the clasp.
Can not imagine trying to put it on the nigie.
Oh! and us seniors have a hard enough time bending over to
tie our shoes.
So bending over to tend to a mini packgoat could be
a pain, literally.

And Nigies eat more than you think. LOL


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