When we first started researching dairy goat breeds about a year and a half ago, I was immediately drawn to the Oberhasli. It was a color thing, I admit. I loved their beautiful, rich red coloring with black legs, belly, face and dorsal stripe. Distinctive for sure and not at all unlike my favorite horse color, bay. Being someone who likes something different, I was also drawn to the fact they are relatively rare in the USA, having originated in Switzerland and formerly known as Swiss Alpines, and are listed as “recovering” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. And to top it off I was consistently reading about their milk being sweeter than other dairy goat breeds. I wanted one!
My quest to find an Ober fell short. There really aren’t that many breeders out there. A local Alpine breeder had a couple Oberhaslis in her show string but none for sale. Since logistics were an issue, I went with my second choice breed and what was available and bought 2 Alpines.
Fast forward to 2012. My Alpines gave me 3 bucks and 0 does this spring. I anticipated needing more milk in the future as we build our soap business and to keep up with our daily consumption, making cheese, etc., so I was really hoping for doe kids. I contacted my Alpine breeder and as luck or fate would have it, she was selling one bred Ober doe this spring. It didn’t take me long to make that decision. We bought Fannie about 2 weeks before she kidded and she gave me a beautiful doe kid, Basil.
When we first tasted the Ober milk we were sold. Don’t get me wrong, the Alpine milk is delicious, but the Oberhasli milk is so much sweeter, almost like gourmet milk. It’s what we all reach for when we want a glass of milk. Fannie is giving about 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of milk right now, with me milking her once a day in the morning. Basil gets all the milk she wants during the day and then she and the other kids have a “slumber party” every night in their own stall so I get the milk in the morning. Obers are sweet natured and quiet, a perfect fit for a homesteading family or anyone who wants their own dairy animal–I just can’t say enough about them. My plan is to transition to all Obers over the next few years.