Golden Guernsey

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Golden Guernsey
Golden Guernsey goats.jpg
Conservation status
Country of originChannel Islands
  • Channel Islands
  • United Kingdom
Usegoat's milk
Skin colourgolden
Wool colourgolden, from pale to reddish-brown
Horn statususually polled (hornless)[4]: 30
  • Goat
  • Capra aegagrus hircus
Golden Guernseys eat pumpkin

The Golden Guernsey is a rare breed of dairy goat from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, where it has been known for more than two hundred years.


Golden-coloured goats have been known in Guernsey for some two hundred years;[5]: 381 the first documented reference is in a guide book published in 1826.[3] In the nineteenth century these goats were known as "Golden Gessenay", Gessenay being the French name for the Swiss Saanen breed.[5]: 381

During the Second World War when Guernsey was occupied, Miriam Milbourne risked her life to save a small herd of Golden Guernsey goats by hiding them for several years.[6]

In 1965 the Golden Guernsey was exported to Great Britain and the English Golden Guernsey Club, later to become the Golden Guernsey Goat Society, was formed.[7]

The Golden Guernsey is an endangered breed: it was listed by the FAO as "endangered-maintained" in 2007.[1]: 120 In 2019 the population numbers reported to DAD-IS were 1381 for the Golden Guernsey and 171 for the British Guernsey; both were listed as "at risk".[2][8] In 2020 the Golden Guernsey was listed as "minority" on the goat watchlist of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.[3]


As its name suggests, the goat is golden in colour, with hues ranging from pale blond to deep bronze. They are smaller and more fine-boned than other British milking goats, and there is great variety in coat length. The males are usually horned, with very splendid horns, very few do not have horns. Example, from one herd, Rayton Herd, from around 200 Golden Guernsey kids born not one has been polled, hornless, male or female. Their personalities have been described as "very docile, very friendly".[9]

The goat is efficient milking livestock for its relatively small size, producing an average yield of 3.16 kilograms of milk per day; this is less than most Swiss goats, but the milk's high butterfat and protein content (3.72% and 2.81%, respectively) Maiden milkers are common, the term refers to nannies that come into milk without being put into kid. The average for Rayton Herd, with 15 nannies, is 4 - 5 pints a day, to put the amount in day to day terms. That is for a nanny kept on pasture with some supplementary feed.


  1. ^ a b Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Breed data sheet: Golden Guernsey / United Kingdom (Goat). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Golden Guernsey. Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Accessed January 2020.
  4. ^ N.K. Gurung and S.G. Solaiman (2010). Goat Breeds. In: Sandra Golpashini Solaiman (editor) (2010). Goat Science and Production. Ames, Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9780813820620, pages 21–38.
  5. ^ a b Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  6. ^ "THE GOLDEN GUERNSEY". Guernsey Goat Society.
  7. ^ "Breed History: On Guernsey, Channel Islands". Archived from the original on 18 February 2004.
  8. ^ Breed data sheet: British Guernsey / United Kingdom (Goat). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed January 2020.
  9. ^ Docile Golden Guernsey Goats, Live at the West Show

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