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How Long Do Goats Live?

Last Updated: 02.07.22


A goat’s life span is often determined by what people place in their goat feeders and how that animal cared for especially during its early months. If you want to learn more about the proper way of caring for a goat, check it out here. Find the answer regarding the life expectancy of these animals by reading these lines.


General Information

Your average farm goat has a life expectancy of around 15 to 18 years. However, the animal reaches those ages only if a human properly looks after it. Some goats live for as long as 20 years and even past that age. However, many circumstances lead to these animals dying prematurely. Depending on these variables, some goats do not live for as long as 15 years.

Does, for example, may live shorter lives if they experience difficult births. For this main reason, many breeders wish to work with doe species that require less help when giving birth. Another precautionary measure that breeders take is that they wait for a couple of years or until the does reach a weight of at least 80 pounds, before breeding them.

Compared to bucks, does live longer lives. The average lifespan of does is around 17 years, whereas males can die as young as 8 years old. Bucks don’t live as long as does because of the stress of the rut. This translates into weight loss and is generally stressing and taxing on them.

Many times, the lifespan of a goat is dictated by the how often they mate or come into heat.  Goats are being bred for their dairy characteristics such as French Alpines or Lamanchas and mate once per year, during the fall. Other goats, like the Boers, come into rut multiple times. This can cause more stress and in turn, can shorten their lifespan.

When a goat has a longer lifespan, most of the times it has something to do with their retirement age. Some goat breeders retire their does when they are as young as 8 to 10 year old and they just let the goats live out the rest of their lives without exploiting them in any way.



On one hand, it makes sense, as breeding goats past this age is not necessarily in their best interests. Old goats may give birth to baby goats that have health problems. On the other hand, owning retired goats costs more, therefore it’s a decision made by every owner separately.

The males are less likely to live a long life if they spend it in the proximity of other males. If they absolutely have to do so, they need large spaces and lots of energy to get away from the alpha males. This is one of the key factors that affect the lifespan of male goats.

Females are likely to die when they are pregnant, when they are giving birth, of mastitis, or of lack of minerals in their system, such as calcium or selenium. Moreover, there is always a risk that your goats can get infected by a disease that affects the entire herd.

In addition, if the climate is too wet, more worms are likely to harm your goats by causing the loss of blood or diverting nutrients.


Boer Goats

These species better resist disease in general and they are more sought after by people or farmers who want to own goats mainly for this reason. Most of these goats die of natural death. Bucks live anywhere from 8 to 12 years and females anywhere from 12 to 20 years.

This species requires little caring and as a benefit, these goats love to eat weeds, so they are doing you a favor.


Pygmy Goats

These goats are great additions to farms as they are very small and both children, as well as adults, find them to be lovely. Both males and females live to be around 12 years of age. They often get ill and suffer from diseases. However, if the goats are vaccinated and treated in time, they can go beyond the average life expectancy.


Nubian Goats

These animals are mainly raised for milk because they produce it in larger quantities than many other goat species. They live on average for 15 to 18 years. This breed is extremely vocal, which makes them stand out from the other goat species. Therefore, they are usually kept on farms at a great distance from neighbors or any human residence.


Anglo-Nubian Goats

This species does not live for very long. The more long-lived ones only reach 12 years old. They are easy to recognize as they have long, floppy ears and a bigger nose than other goat species. Anglo-Nubian Goats are not known for their milk producing qualities, but people still breed them for meat and hides.



Alpine Goats

Just as Anglo-Nubian goats, these ones do not have a long lifespan. Their life expectancy is between 8 to 12 years of age. As their name suggests, they first came from the French Alps, and as mountain goats, they excel at moving over rocky terrain and surviving in such environments. Moreover, they are tough and put up well to bad weather conditions.


Saanen Goats

This species has a lifespan of 15 years or more. They are raised for their dairy characteristics and can be told apart from other types of goats by their white coats and upright, pointy ears. They digest almost all types of vegetation but need more protein in their food as they have to produce large amounts of milk.


Oberhasli Goats

With good nurturing and care, Oberhasli goats can get to be up to 12 years old. They require medical vaccinations as these animals are prone to tetanus infections. This is one of the main hazards for this particular species. These goats are small in size and are a cute addition to any farm or yard.

Goats provide people with milk and do us great services by taking care of weed that grows on our property. Therefore, it’s important to know how to take care of these animals and how to prevent them from becoming ill.




Leave a comment


Kathleen Knappitsch

July 6, 2020 at 12:11 am

Interesting! We have a pygmy goat about 10 yrs on our farm. Guess he needs vaccinations! Will ask our vet…


July 6, 2020 at 6:56 am

Hi Kathleen. That’d be the best thing to do!

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