Domestic Balkan Goat

Breeds and animal husbandry - North Macedonia

The Domestic Balkan Goat is a Macedonian breed with long, thick and shiny hair ranging from white to black, brown to red, and sometimes even spotted. They have an elongated head with backward facing horns, a long neck and thin legs. They weigh between 35-65 kilograms and the rears of their bodies are more developed than the front.This goat is bred extensively in many areas, usually in simple stables. The year round rough pasture is almost the only food yet in winter most breeders give them hay of meadow-grass or clover. A reinforced diet with concentrated fodder is practiced only by a small number of breeders. The main production value of this goat lies in the meat from its kids, which are bred up to 22 kilograms before slaughter. The milk is also used to make white cheese and it is possible that with better nutrition and rearing methods the yield of 140 liters per lactation period would increase. A small amount of meat and cheese is kept by farmers for home consumption; however most products are sold on the market without any special markings to identify their origin. The Macedonian goat sector has redeveloped since 1989 when a ban on goat breeding in all of the Republic of Macedonia was lifted by the government. The ban, put in place in 1947, was enforced with the slaughter of 500,000 goats, with only a few remaining in very remote rural areas. It had a huge impact on breeding and selection as well as genetic resources in the area. Today the Domestic Balkan Goat is the most abundant breed in Macedonia, mainly living on the east and southeast of the country and only absent from the Pelagonia and Skopje regions. The Domestic Balkan goat is at risk of extinction due to unplanned interbreeding, predominantly with Sannen and Alpine breeds, resulting in a loss of genetic identity and productive traits. There are now many mixed goatherds throughout Macedonia and although heads in these herds are often identified as Domestic Balkans they do not in fact correspond genetically with the original breed.