Today, there are a large number of breeds of goats. Among them there are quite rare and exotic breeds. These include the Damascus goat. It is quite rare, but is one of the favorite breeds of many farmers. In many literary sources, she is found under the name Shami. Representatives of this breed are bred for the purpose of obtaining wool, meat, milk, skins, etc. They are also often used by breeders to develop new breeds.
Origin of the species and description
Syria is considered to be the historical homeland of this breed. Zoologists note that even in ancient times, a goat was often mentioned in historical writings, which was distinguished by a very specific appearance and extremely high productivity rates.
Interesting fact: Zoologists consider a very attractive appearance in early childhood to be a specific feature of the breed. Small goats have a small head and long, hanging ears. With age, the size of the head and its shape acquire a frightening appearance and can frighten even an adult.
This breed reached its greatest popularity after participating in a beauty contest, which took place in 2008. Representatives of this breed made a splash and aroused unprecedented interest among farmers. According to the results of the competition, it was Shami goats that were able to receive the title “The most beautiful goat”. The competition was held on the territory of Saudi Arabia, where farmers from almost all over the world were present.
To date, it is almost impossible to establish when the first representatives of this breed appeared, since zoologists find it difficult to even name the date when these goats were first mentioned in literary sources. Despite this, we can definitely say that this goat appeared on the territory of eastern countries. It was in these countries that the Damascus goat was considered a sacred, and practically inviolable animal. Often she can be found as a hero of religious legends.
The most common representatives of this breed in Syria and Lebanon. Zoologists say that in the countries of the ancient East, the breeding of goats of this breed is as popular as the breeding of Arabian horses.
Appearance and features
Goats This breed is characterized by impressive size, but very graceful appearance. Animals show sexual dimorphism. Males can often grow up to a meter on average, females no more than 80-85 centimeters. The average body weight of adult males can reach 100-120 kilograms, females no more than 90.
The most characteristic features of the breed:
- large, massive and very strong physique;
- developed muscular frame;
- smooth, straight line of the back;
- tight, neat stomach;
- long, very strong, stately legs;
- huge, round and very expressive eyes, most often light in color;
- retracted, not too long neck;
- long, triangular shaped ears.
An interesting fact: Goats of this particular breed are the only ones of all existing breeds that have ears of this length.
Most often, individuals of this breed have small horns. Another important feature that is inherent in these animals is a dense and very durable skin with thick wool that covers the entire body of the animal. It is for this reason that in the old days, many shami goats were bred in order to obtain high-quality skins. One of the most important breed criteria is the presence of a hump in the nasal region of the head.
Where does the Damascus goat live?
The animal lives exclusively in the home. It is worth noting that it is very difficult to find purebred representatives of this breed. They are among the most expensive goats in the world. Animals are completely undemanding to the conditions of detention. They are freedom-loving, and therefore, in the warm season, it is better to keep them on free pasture, if possible.
To keep animals for the period of cold weather, it is necessary to prepare a dwelling for them in advance. Its area depends on the number of heads. The room should be spacious, without drafts and dampness. The optimal area in terms of one animal is 5-8 square meters. Animals are considered quite thermophilic and do not tolerate cold, which can cause serious illness. It would be best if the inside of the room is divided by partitions separately for each animal.
Another important criterion is a sufficient amount of light. The length of daylight hours for goats should be at least 9-10 hours a day. The temperature in the room where the animals are kept does not matter. It will be best if it is not more than 24-25 degrees and not less than 17-18. The largest number of goats of this breed is concentrated in the eastern countries – Syria, Lebanon, etc.
What does the Damascus goat eat?
Damascus goats are very unpretentious and not demanding on food conditions. However, the quality and quantity of the feed base affects the quality of milk and its fat content. If a goat eats well and receives a balanced diet, the fat content of milk can reach 4.7%.
What can serve as a food base for an animal:
- silo ;
- crushed cereals;
- crushed legumes;
- fresh herbs;
- green juicy grass;
When compiling a diet, it is important to understand that the diet in the warm and cold seasons should be different. In summer, the basis of the diet is green grass, which goats can pluck on free grazing. In the cold season, the basis of the diet will be hay. There is a list of herbs and types of vegetation that are forbidden to Damascus goats.
Prohibited types of vegetation:
- green immature potatoes;
- spoiled, rotten fruits and vegetables ;
- red clover.
In summer, goats independently regulate the amount of food eaten, since they are grazing almost all day. During this period, it is advisable to give fresh cut grass or a small amount of roughage for the night.
In the cold season, it is necessary to provide a sufficient amount of high-quality hay. Twice a day, a little roughage is added to the diet of an adult in an amount of not more than 300 grams. One meal should consist of sprouted oats and vegetables. Also at this time of the year, vitamin and mineral mixtures must be added to food. At any time of the year, it is necessary to take care of access to fresh, clean water.
Character and lifestyle features
Outwardly, Damascus goats seem formidable and even intimidating, but by nature they are endowed with a kind and very peaceful character. This breed of goats feels most comfortable living in a herd. Animals are completely undemanding and unpretentious to the conditions of detention. With good care and sufficient nutrition, animals really become attached to their owner, and he, in turn, notes the complaisance and patience of animals.
Goats are very fond of freedom and space. They need free grazing, especially in the warm season. They also need ample space in the paddocks. It is best to divide the room into parts depending on the number of heads. It is unusual for animals to show aggression towards their relatives or other animals, so they get along quite peacefully with other animal species. Sometimes goats are curious.
Animals are very clean, so they are not characterized by an unpleasant odor that is present in other types of goats. The owner, in turn, must take care of the cleanliness of wool and hooves. Animals have a very developed maternal instinct, thanks to which they are excellent caring parents. Shami goats perfectly adapt to new conditions of keeping and feel great in a variety of climatic conditions.
Social structure and reproduction
Damascus goats are fertile breeds of animals. As a percentage, the fertility rate reaches 250%. Newborn cubs grow stronger and gain strength very quickly. Some babies are able to add up to 300-400 grams per day.
Goats reach sexual maturity very early. Females are ready for breeding at the age of 8 months, males a month and a half later. A high percentage of fertility is explained by the ability to maintain the ability to reproduce up to 9-10 years of age. In addition, already two months after lambing, the female is again ready for mating and the birth of offspring.
One female is capable of giving birth to up to three or four kids. They stay with their mother for only a few days. After that, they are taken away and begin to be fed artificially. A female is milked and receives up to 5-7 liters of milk per day. Record-breaking goats are capable of producing up to 8-9 liters of milk per day.
Purebred, healthy goats can only be born if the conditions of keeping are observed:
- for mating it is best to select young, strong, purebred animals;
- males, which are used for mating and provide healthy offspring, are bred with females until they reach the age of two to three;
- balanced, nutritious, enriched with vitamins and minerals food for a pregnant female;
- from nature, Damascus goats are endowed with a very developed maternal instinct.
Natural enemies of Damascus goats
B Due to the fact that animals exist exclusively at home, they have no natural enemies. However, this breed is prone to the development of various diseases with improper care.
What diseases are typical for animals:
- parasites. Like any animal, goats can become carriers of parasites that provoke the development of various diseases and in large numbers can lead to the death of the animal. To prevent infection, it is necessary to give prophylactic antihelminthic drugs;
- goats can become infected with intestinal infections. To avoid this, it is necessary to provide access to fresh clean water and prevent goats from drinking from stagnant water;
- inflammation of the hooves and limbs. So that the animals do not get sick, you should take care of the timely cleaning of the hooves and the room in which the animal is located. Periodically it is necessary to clean the stall with disinfection;
- mastitis. This disease affects females. Prevention requires careful treatment of the udder before and after each milking;
- with a lack of vitamins and minerals, animals suffer from beriberi. They need to add vitamin-mineral complexes to the diet.
Population and species status
To date, the number of Damascus goats does not cause concern or threat of extinction. However, only experienced livestock breeders who understand a lot about this business are engaged in breeding Shahi purebred goats. The cost of representatives of this breed is extremely high. In the countries of the Middle and Far East, these animals are widely used as domestic animals. They are bred for the purpose of obtaining high-quality leather, yarn, as well as milk and meat. Almost all dairy products that are possible are produced from the milk of this breed of goats.
In many farmsteads, goats are bred in order to profit from the sale of kids. As pets, Damascus goats are found in various parts of the world. Due to the fact that their productivity is very high, and they are undemanding to the conditions of detention, and are distinguished by a calm disposition and complaisant character, they are readily acquired by farmers from all over the world. Goats easily adapt to changing climatic conditions. In addition, females are characterized by high fertility and the ability to reproduce from the age of nine months.
Damascus goat has a very specific and non-standard appearance. However, behind the intimidating appearance lies complaisance, kindness and extremely high performance.