• Breeds in Zimbabwe originate from a number of countries from within Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The goats are either:

  • Indigenous (local breeds) e.g. Mashona and Matabele goats
  • Imported (exotic breeds) e.g. Boer, Kalahari Goats from South Africa, Saanen and Toggenburg from Europe.

Characteristics of Mashona goat

  • It is a small framed breed
  • It is highly prolific
  • Tolerant to local diseases
  • Found in the northern parts of the country
  • Mature weight is 30kg and 35 kg for females and males respectively
  • Color ranges from white, mixed to black.
  • Edible and saleable proportion after dressing is 48% of the live body weight ( equivalent to 12-14.5 kg)
  • Sexual maturity is 7 months but a relatively slow growth rate.
  • Goats are mainly kept for meat.
  • They have good potential for selection to increase productivity


Mashona Goat

Matabele Goat

  • This breed is found mostly in the Southern parts of the country.
  • It is a large framed animal
  • Mature weight can reach up to 50kg for males and between 35 –40kg females
  • It is a dual purpose breed (meat and milk production)
  • Has multiple colors ranging from white through brown, mixed to black
  • Can give birth to singles, twins and triplets
  • Adapted to local conditions
  • Gestation period is between 145 to 154days
  • Can be mated for the first time at 18months of age


Matebele Goat

Boer Goat

  • It originates from South Africa and is well adapted to the southern parts of the country where conditions are more or less the same as the northern parts of South Africa.
  • This is a large framed breed, with a white body and a brown neck and head.
  • Adult female can grow up to 60kg and males up to 70kg.
  • It is kept mainly for meat production.
  • Very stocky body, well-muscled, strong bones.
  • Ears are pendulous and horns are prominent.
  • Very prolific breed, kidding rate of 1.5 (3 times in 2 years) 50% twins, and 7 % triplets.

Boer Goats

Saanen Goat

  • Originated from Switzerland or France.
  • Large size, white color with black spots on the nose, ears and udder.
  • Hair coat is short, ears are erect and forward and upward.
  • Face is straight, slightly dished
  • Hermaphroditism occurs associated with polledness therefore it is advisable to use bucks which are horned.
  • Good body conformation
  • BF is 3.5 %.
  • May serve a dual function.
  • The udder is well developed and milk production has been recorded to 1-3 kg/day.
  • Under extensive production supplementary feeding is required.
  • Mean daily milk is 1.2 –1.8 kg, with average milk yield (Av. MY) over 160-kg/lactation period of 120 days. Butter fat (BF) content is about 5.6%.
  • Valuable for milk, meat and skin but has been promoted for its milk potential.

Saanen Goat


*NB. The mature weights and both slaughter weight and grades depend on the nutrition and environment to which the goats are exposed.

Author: Kampiyau Daniel Provincial Livestock Specialist Department of Livestock Production and Development Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Zimbabwe