You may have noticed some breeds of goats with wattles.
A goat wattle is a congenital thumb-shaped appendage hanging from the ventral throat.
Wattles are commonly seen on birds but not as often on mammals or other farm animals.
Many believe they are a leftover genetic trait and do not serve any functional purpose for goats.
Wattles are common in domestic goats, especially females, and are most commonly seen in these 8 breeds of goats.
Alpines are excellent choices for homesteads and farms.
This breed of goat is commonly seen with skin appendages from their throats called wattles.
This French-Alpine goat comes in about nine different color variations and patterns, usually brown, white, grey, and black fur.
The genetic diversity of this breed lends to a wide range of appearances.
Alpine goats are medium-sized breeds but tend to be larger than most Swiss breeds.
Mature adult goats range from 30-40″ inches in height and weigh 135-170 lbs on average.
Alpine goats originated in France but were brought to the United States.
Since being brought to America, the Alpine goats have been bred to produce more uniformity in size and higher productivity in dairy and meat.
Alpine goats are heavy milkers and are primarily kept for this purpose.
The females have large, well-shaped udders, which makes milking very easy.
Related: How long is goat milk good for?
The American La Manchas are a popular breed of dairy goats.
They are unique in some of their traits, especially their ears.
Their ears tend to be smaller and uniquely shaped.
In addition to their unique ears, La Manchas are commonly found with goat wattles.
The La Mancha goats are a larger breed.
Mature goats reach heights of up to 3′ feet and weigh about 165 lbs.
Like any other breed of goats, female La Manchas are usually a bit smaller, with an average weight of 130 lbs.
The precise origin of the American La Mancha is believed to have been from Spain.
The commonly agreed-upon origin states the Spanish brought this breed of goat to California.
The La Manchas breed of goat is primarily kept for their nutritious and prolific milk production.
Milking goats will produce milk for up to two years before they need refreshing again.
Nigerian goats are a small breed.
They are widespread as they make quirky and lovable companions on homesteads and backyard farms.
Nigerians commonly have goat wattles.
Nigerians are smaller than many other common breeds.
Mature males measure about 19-23.5″ inches in height, while females tend to be slightly smaller with a maximum height of 22″ inches.
Nigerians are commonly found on backyard farms or properties where space is limited due to their smaller size.
Nigerian goats originated in West Africa before being brought to the United States.
Nigerians were introduced to the states in the 1970s and grew immensely popular.
Nigerians are a multi-purpose breed of goat.
They are decent producers of milk and meat.
Due to their unique personality and pleasant disposition, Nigerian goats are also commonly kept for show or as companion animals.
The Oberhasli is one of the most common swiss goat breeds.
They are very popular on homesteads and farms.
Their sweet milk and friendly personalities make them a great choice for farmers.
It is also very common to find goat wattles in the Oberhasli breed.
The Oberhasli goat breed is a medium-sized breed.
Typically full-grown males will reach about 150 lbs, while female Oberhasli goats average 120 lbs.
The Oberhasli goats originated in the mountainous terrain of the Oberhasli district of Switzerland.
They are among the most popular Swiss goat breeds in the United States.
They were introduced to the states in the 1930s.
Oberhasli goats are used mostly for their prolific milk production.
Dairy goat breeders keep herds of Oberhasli for a steady and quality supply of milk.
Nubian goats are another common breed with goat wattles.
This dairy goat breed is easy to identify due to its large lobed ears.
They have excellent dispositions and make great companion animals.
Nubian goats, like most other breeds, have larger males than females.
The males average about 35″ inches and weigh around 310 lbs.
The females are also large and measure in at about 31″ inches and hit weights of 240 lbs on average.
The origin of the Nubian goat breeds dates back to Britain.
Nubians are a cross between British breeds and Indian long-lobed goats.
They are a popular choice of breed, and it isn’t hard to find one from a local farm or dairy goat breeder.
Part of the Nubian goat breed’s popularity is attributed to its excellent status as a dual-purpose breed.
Many farmers keep some Nubians strictly for milk production, with additional goats raised for meat.
The Saanens breed is a common choice for domestic goats.
Their white fur fits the iconic images of goats grazing a field.
They commonly have goat wattles as well.
Saanens are one of the more popular Swiss goat breeds.
They stand as one of the largest dairy breeds and one of the largest breeds with goat wattles.
Males average about 3′ feet in height and females hit about 2′ feet.
Saanen goat originated in the mountains of Switzerland.
The goats were distributed through Europe in the 1800s and started being imported to the states in the early 1900s.
Saanen goats are primarily kept as dairy goats.
They are very common due to the low butterfat content in their milk.
The Sables breed of goats is another popular breed with goat wattles.
The Sables are a descendent of the Swiss Saanens.
The main distinction between these two breeds is the recessive gene association on the goat chromosome for fur color.
Saanen goats must be white, while Sables will vary in coloring.
The breed of Sables goats is a medium-sized goat.
They average about 30-32″ inches and weigh around 145 lbs at maturity.
The origin of the Sables breed of goat is the same as the Saanen.
They originated in the Swiss mountains and were brought to the United States and many other countries worldwide.
Sables goats are primarily kept for dairy purposes.
They produce excellent milk with a high butterfat content.
Toggenburgs are a popular breed of goats found all around the world.
It is common to find wattle appendages in goats of this breed.
Many consider the Toggenburgs breed of goats to be small but robust, perfect for farms of all sizes.
Toggenburg males measure about 28-33″ inches tall and weigh 150 lbs.
The females are 26-40″ inches high and weigh 120 lbs.
The Toggenburgs breed of goat originated in the St. Gallen region of Switzerland.
The wild Toggenburg goats were found living in the rugged terrain of the Churfirsten mountain valleys.
Toggenburg goats are primarily kept as homestead milkers.
They are highly productive and produce quality milk for homestead farmers.
They are also kept as pets and companion animals.
Why Do Goats Have Wattles?
Goat wattles are believed to result from a leftover genetic trait during evolution.
They serve no purpose to a goat but offer little health concerns or issues.
Some breeds of goats are more likely to have wattles, but they may also appear in other breeds.
Many farmers find wattles and appendages on goats more common in females than males, but both sexes grow them.
Should I Remove Wattles From My Goats?
Most people find it odd and rare to see a wattle on a goat.
This is because many goat owners remove the wattles from their goats.
Part of this is due to the potential for injury to the wattle as it is a hanging appendage.
Goats love to scratch the heads and necks on fences, trees, and bushes.
It is more likely for the goat wattles to get stuck or injured.
Wounds and injuries are common sources of bacterial skin infections and even CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis).
Infections and diseases spread rapidly through herds, so many farmers strive to reduce the change of health issues in any way possible.
Many goats also get wattle cysts on their appendages.
Wattle cysts happen naturally and aren’t a huge cause of concern.
It tends to be difficult to differentiate between CL abscesses.
Most goat farmers prefer to remove the wattles to keep things as simple as possible and reduce the risk of unnecessary issues over time.
Since the goat wattles serve no purpose, there is no harm in removing them.
It is best to remove the wattles as soon as they form to limit pain, discomfort, and healing time.
How To Remove Goat Wattles
There are two main ways to remove goat wattles.
Both should be done on newborn kids, reducing the likelihood of complications.
It is also significantly easier to remove small wattles when they first form than large, fully grown wattles.
- Tie-Off Method: Tying off the goat wattles will sever the circulation. The wattles will fall off by themselves after a few days.
- Cut-Off Method: Cutting off the goat wattle is quicker than tying them off but does leave an open wound. Keep an eye on the wound to make sure it heals well.
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