Goat is thought to have been the earliest animal domesticated besides sheep and dogs. Cave art 10,000 to 20,000 years ago indicates that goats were common and important then. At the present time, goats provide the principle source of animal protein in many North African and Middle Eastern nations. Goat is also important in the Caribbean, in Southeast Asia, and developing tropical countries. Three-fourths of all the goats in the world are located in the developing regions of the world.
Kids (goats under a year of age) are often slaughtered when 3 to 5 months of age and weighing from 25 to 50 pounds. Kids do not store much body fat until they are about a year of age. Many goats are older and heavier when marketed, but most, except aged cull goats, are slaughtered when less than a year of age. The meat of older goats is darker and less tender, but more juicy and flavorful than kid. The meat from males is lighter in color and lower in fat. The meat from females is more desirable for steaks and chops, and is more tender.
Milk, Butter & Cheese
Some goats are bred for milk, which can be drunk raw, although some people recommend pasteurization to reduce bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. If the strong-smelling buck is not separated from the does, his scent will affect the milk. Goat’s milk is commonly processed into cheese, goat butter, ice cream, cajeta and other products.
Goat’s milk can replace sheep’s milk or cow’s milk in diets of those who are allergic. However, like cow’s milk, goat’s milk has lactose (sugar), and may cause gastrointestinal problems for individuals with lactose intolerance.
*Milk Butter and Cheese info from Wikepedia