Lamancha goats: unique looks, great personality

Lamancha goats: unique looks, great personality
Lamancha goats: unique looks, great personality

If you haven’t seen Lamancha goats before, this your happy day! EVERYBODY needs to see a Lamancha goat at least once, even if it’s just in a picture. This is because Lamancha goats are one of the most unique-looking and gorgeous goats out there. (Somewhere on the same level with Damascus goats as far as unique looks go). After all, it’s not every day that you get to see an earless goat, is it? But what else is special about Lamancha goats? And should you be thinking of getting a couple for your homestead?

Lamancha goats history

It’s not entirely clear where exactly Lamancha goats have originated. There are some mentions of similar looking goats to modern Lamancha in ancient Persia and some countries of Africa. They began being known as Lamancha since they were exported to Spain and Spanish-speaking South American colonies in about 16th century. In fact, most of the goats were exported to South America from the Spanish province of Lamancha, which of course is where the name originated from.

Lamancha goats became widespread throughout the southern states of the USA which used to belong to Mexico. By the Spanish war in 1846 these states became part of the USA, and since then the Lamancha herds became smaller and smaller until the whole breed almost died out.

In 1904 the whole world learnt about Lamancha goats during the International Exhibition in Paris. By then most of the European Lamancha goats were a product of breeding the original Lamancha to the Murciano-Granadina Goat from Spain. Murciano-Granadina Goats were known by their tiny ears, which became almost nonexistent in the resulting Lamancha breed.

But it is American farmers of the 19th century that we have to thank for the actual modern-day Lamancha’s. In the 1930s they cross bred the few remaining Lamancha goats with the local Nubian goats, as well as some European breads from France and Switzerland. The resulting goat was not only unique -looking, but also boasted high milk productivity. The new breed was officially registered by 1960. Nowadays, Lamanchas are very popular in North and South America, Canada, Spain, Iran, many European countries and even in Asia.

Lamancha goats appearance: unique looks

Of course, the first thing to say about Lamancha goats – the first thing that everyone notices about them – is their pretty much nonexistent ears. This is probably the only earless goat in the world!

Actually, they do have ears – they are by no means deaf. But the ears are so tiny they can hardly be seen. Lamancha can have two types of ears: slightly longer ones at around 5 cm long, and really short ones that doesn’t even reach 2.5 cm in length. Both are accepted in the goat standard. Any Lamancha goat with ears longer than 5 cm is considered to be defective as far as the breed standard goes. The really short ears make Lamancha goats look a little bit human, especially when you look at them from the side. Is that cute or creepy? You decide.

Lamancha faces are quite prominent, generally with a straight profile but some have bent noses.

Lamancha faces are quite prominent, generally with a straight profile but some have bent noses.

As far as their body goes, Lamanchas are quite large. Their bodies are strong and massive, females have large udders with well-developed teats. The males can grow up to 74 cm tall and weigh around 130lb. Females are a little shorter and can weigh up to 105lb. The legs are medium length, strong and graceful.

Lamancha faces are quite prominent, generally with a straight profile but some have bent noses. Both males and females can have horns and about 50% of all Lamanchas do, while others don’t.

Lamancha coats are usually short – they do not make for good wool goats. Coat colors may vary – there are white, red, brown and various spotty patterns are also acceptable. Regardless of color, Lamancha coats are shiny and smooth to touch. They are very tender, even on older goats.

Lamancha goats browsing

Lamancha goats browsing

An interesting thing about Lamancha is that, when they are cross bred to another breed, they are very likely to pass on their unique looks to the kids. More earless goats!

Lamancha goats personality traits: friendly and loving

Everyone who has ever owned a Lamancha goat, knows how friendly and sweet they tend to be. They are very outgoing and love their owners. They are also calm and well-behaved, even the males, but especially the females. The more time you spend with your goats and the more attention you pay to them, the kinder and more social and human-oriented they will grow to be.

Lamancha goats are excellent milk producers

The main reason most people raise goats is the milk they can offer. Lamancha goats are quite valuable as milk producers. An average milk yield for a Lamancha doe can go as high as 5 L per day, which amounts to up to 900 L of milk per year (or for the whole lactation period).  Some Lamancha does can make as much as 9L of milk per day! The milk boasts a mild taste and high fat content of 4%. These excellent milk qualities are a result of thorough selection work done during centuries of breeding.

Lamancha goats are great for meat production too

Although not specified as meat goats in particular, Lamancha goats do produce quite a bit of good quality meat. Meat yield can go as high as 70% of the live weight of the goat. With some bucks weighing as high as 200lb, that’s quite a bit of meat per goat!

Breeding Lamancha goats

Lamancha goats are very fertile. The does mature early and bring 2-5 kids per litter! If you want to grow your goat herd quickly, Lamanchas are an excellent choice for that. The does become able to conceive by 8 months old, but no one breeds their goats that early. The earliest age you should consider breeding your Lamanchas is around 18 months old. A younger doe can have some grave issues while giving birth and may not even be able to birth successfully.

Lamanchas’ pregnancy lasts for 5 months and usually results in easy labor and birth. To make sure your does are ready to breed in the fall (when you should breed them), pay particular attention to their nutrition. They need to be getting all the needed nutrients in their diet, but at the same time they should not get any extra weight, as that will affect their heat cycles and may lead to them not going into heat at all.

Taking care of your Lamancha goats

Although their coat isn’t long, it is still thick enough for the Lamancha goats to be comfortable in most climate zones, even in the cold environments of North America, Northern Europe and Canada. They are equally comfortable with the hotter climates. Regardless of the climate, they can thrive and be highly productive and fertile.

This is a very universal goat that would be a great goat for beginner goat-owner to have as you pretty much can’t go wrong with a Lamancha. Lamanchas have also evolved to survive well on scarcer pastures and feed that other goats wouldn’t find ideal. However, if you are planning to use your Lamanchas for milk and/or meat production, you will need to offer them a well-balanced menu rich in vitamins and minerals. Almost any types of hay would work well (alfalfa tends to be the best and preferable by most goat breeds.) Tree and bush branches are Lamanchas favorite part of the menu, as it is with all goats. (Remember, goats are browsers, not grazers. That means they prefer to brows bush and tree branches and leaves as opposed to graze the grass under their feet, which is more of a sheep behavior). They tend to love clover, although you shouldn’t be feeding too much of it. If you do feed clover, it should be dried clover: fresh clover can hurt Lamancha’s digestion.

As with other goats, concentrates are a necessary part of the menu. It’s good to give good quality grain-based concentrates enriched with minerals and vitamins, especially if you live in an area where water might be lacking minerals. Fresh vegetables are always a great thing to include in your goats menu as well. Cabbage leaves, carrots, beets, apples – all those will be your Lamanchas’ favorite treats.

Lamanchas are not very picky when it comes to their living quarters. The barn has to be moderately warm and absolutely dry – all goat breeds do very badly in wet environments. Proper lighting is also important: the amount of light the goat gets can directly affect the amount of milk they produce. Lamanchas are very neat goats that tend to not have any “goaty” smell to them, so they are great goats to keep if you are sensitive to smells. However, some basic ventilation in the barn is still required.

Lamanchas need to have abundant bedding of hay and straw, otherwise the smart and resourceful Lamanchas  will start using the hay you feed them for bedding.

Lamancha goat pros and cons

Lamancha goat pros

Here is a short summary of why Lamanchas are such great goats to have.

  • Lamanchas smell good! They don’t have a goaty smell, and if you are sensitive to smells, you know how important this factor can be. Enjoy your barn smell-free with Lamancha goats.
  • Lamanchas aren’t picky. Lamanchas are quite sturdy and do not require top-level environments and feed to produce well and breed well. They are quite a low-maintenance goat. This is especially good for the first-time goat owners who may not get everything right about caring for their goats.
  • Great personality. Lamanchas are very friendly and amicable goats. They are easy to manage and nice to have around.
  • High milk productivity. Lamanchas offer quite a high milk yield, so if you are planning to supply your family with milk, Lamanchas are great for that. You will also be able to monetize the milk at the local farmers market, as your Lamanchas are likely to bring you more milk than your family will be able to use. If you are starting a goat dairy business, Lamanchas are a great goat to have!
  • Unique looks. Last but not least, Lamanchas are probably the most unique -looking goats out there, and arguably the cutest. With their tiny ears, Lamanchas can’t leave anyone indifferent and capture everyone’s hearts.

Lamancha goats downsides.

As with anything, there are downsides to owning Lamancha goats.

  • Lamancha goats price. Lamancha goats are still pretty rare, so finding one may be tricky. When you do find one for sale, they may be expensive, especially if it’s a good quality goat. But need I say they are worth it? They certainly are.
  • Because of their tiny ears, you can’t put a tag on their ear as you would with any other goat breed.