6 Things to Love About Kinder Goats
And What Is a Kinder Goat, Anyway?
Reading Time: 5 minutes
By Kendra Rudd Shatswell
Kinder goats are a relatively new, uncommon goat, but this American breed is becoming increasingly popular, especially among homesteaders and small farmers. A Kinder — pronounced with a short “i” — is the registered offspring of a registered Pygmy goat and registered American or Purebred Nubian goat. Each subsequent generation is bred Kinder to Kinder. The Kinder Goat Breeders Association trademarks the Kinder breed. What makes Kinder goats so great? In short, these goats are incredibly versatile and productive!
The Kinder is a mid-sized animal, making it easier to handle and fence than a typical full-sized dairy or meat goat. Does average 115 pounds and bucks about 135. Height can vary quite a bit depending on genetics, but the average Kinder doe is between 23-25” and the average buck between 24-26”. Since they are stockier animals, they are not prone to jumping fences, something most Kinder goat folks are quite happy about. This size is incredibly efficient and lends to Kinders producing an excellent percentage of their body weight in milk, meat, and pounds of kids raised.
The Kinder is dual-purpose, meaning it is raised for both milk and meat and shares characteristics of both its Nubian and Pygmy ancestors. The ideal Kinder grows quickly even though the average kid is only about five pounds at birth. Kids often gain between 0.3 and 0.4lb a day or about 10 pounds a month. At auction, breeders report that a quality 40-80lb Kinder kid will fetch similar prices as meat breed kids.
These goats typically reach 70% of their adult weight by one year of age. This is especially helpful when it comes to retaining replacement doelings for breeding or processing young animals. Many breeders have quick enough growth rates that does are bred to freshen as yearlings.
Ideal Kinders have excellent meat to bone ratio since their bone is medium, not coarse and heavy, nor fine and flat. Meat yield has many factors, of course, but the available data shows Kinder goats averaging a 51% hanging weight and between 30% and 40% take-home weight. Hanging weight percentages of up to 60% have been reported.
Kinder does are productive dairy animals, especially for their size and meat qualities. Like meat yield, milk yield depends on many factors but Kinder does usually produce from four to seven pounds of milk on twice-a-day milking, with an average of about five pounds a day for a mature doe. Many breeders opt for once-a-day milking and letting kids nurse the other 10 to 12 hours. Thanks to her Nubian and Pygmy goat heritage, the Kinder doe’s milk often boasts high butterfat. According to the KGBA, the 2020 butterfat average for Kinders on milk test was 6.25%. High butterfat makes Kinder milk much-loved by cheesemakers across the country. Kinder folks report as much as three times the expected yield on soft cheeses like cream cheese and over a pound yield of hard cheese per gallon of milk. That sweet, creamy milk is tasty for fresh drinking and recipes, too!
What can be better than one cute Kinder kid? Two or three or four cute Kinder kids! Kinder breeders say their goats average at least twins but triplets and even quads are not uncommon. There have even been a few reports of sextuplets. The current record for the most live kids born to a doe was 28 in just seven freshenings! It is important to point out that multiples will greatly increase the doe’s nutrient requirements during gestation and lactation. Many breeders, with Kinder does kidding triplets or more, supplement the kids with bottles while dam-raising or pull one or more kid to bottle feed exclusively.
Kinders are typically quiet, gentle goats. Many of those who milk Kinders praise the does’ work ethic and stand manners. Breeders are also quick to point out that the bucks are among the easiest to handle, even during rut. Since they are usually docile and conveniently sized, Kinders make excellent 4-H and FFA animals. The breed is a favorite for youth trail courses, showmanship, and agility courses. More than one breeder uses sweet, playful Kinder kids in goat yoga classes, goat hikes, or goat grams. Others utilize their Kinder goats as pack animals. Of course, each goat has a unique personality that may or may not be “typical,” and management affects manners.
What makes these amazing goats even better? An extra dose of cute! The Kinder breed standard states the ideal Kinder ears are “long and wide, resting below the horizontal” — this ear type is often referred to as an “airplane” ear. Extra-long ears might start folding on young kids, so some breeders opt to gently correct it with an ear “splint” of lightweight cardboard to encourage it to flatten out. Ears that start out horizontal but begin drooping in the middle are nicknamed the “flying nun” style. Occasionally, ears crop out asymmetrical — one sticks straight out, and one flops downward, giving the goat a quizzical appearance. No matter the type, Kinder ears are easy to distinguish and undeniably adorable.
There are plenty of things to love about this unique breed!
KENDRA RUDD SHATSWELL and her husband live on a farm
in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks, where she raises Kinder goats and
Miniature LaManchas. She is a member of the KGBA and MDGA
and enjoys writing about farm life and goats on Facebook and
Originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.