The Girgentana Goat – Milk
The Girgentana Boat is a domesticated breed indigenous in the southern part of Sicily – specifically in the province of Agringento. The Goat’s name is the name of this region in the local Sicilian tongue. In the past, the Girgentana was seen numbering in the thousands in its homeland, but today the breed is few and far between. By 1993, there were only an estimated 500 head of Girgentana left in Agringento. By 2007, the breed made the endangered species list.
This is one of the eight breeds that the Italian Association of Sheep Breeders keeps a genealogical herd book for.
The History of the Girgentana Goat
No one knows specifically where the Girgentana came from before they were domesticated in Sicily. Evidence suggests a number of possible origin locations including Southern Asia, Afghanistan and other locations. The most commonly accepted theory on where the Girgentana came from is that it descended, at least partially, from a Central Asian goat-antelope known as the Capra Facloneri.
As for when and how they came to Sicily – it is suspected that Greek traders likely introduced them sometime around the 8th century BC.
The Characteristics of the Girgentana Goat
The horns of the Girgentana are very recognizable due to their characteristic spiraling shape. These horns can grow to lengths of greater than 70cm on a buck. The goat also has a long bear with a white coat that shows brown to grey colorings on the head and neck. The long horns and white coat of the Girgentana certainly make it resemble the Asian Goats it is believed to have descended from.
The breed is medium sized for goats and they will kid for the first time around 15 months of age.
Raising Girgentana Goats
One of the most common reasons to raise Girgentana Goats is that they produce a significant quantity of high quality milk when compared to other goat breeds. A single doe can produce up to 3 liters of milk in a single day. The quality of this milk is considered high because the ideal balance between fat-content and protein.