Goats have always been considered very useful animals. Goats success is related to its excellent adaptability to the difficult mountain conditions, extreme weather and low value feed acceptance, versatile habits and high production considering their size. These are some reasons because goats are among the first animals to be domesticated. In terms of evolution, goats could be separated by their dispersion area in three large groups: the European, the Asian, and the African. Global goat populations, mainly in Africa and in Asia, have increased for centuries but very strongly in the past decades, well above the world population growth. They are also used for forest grazing, an integrated and alternative production system, very useful to control weed growth reducing fire risk. Despite some exceptions, no large‐scale effort to professionalize this industry has been made so far. There are consumers for goat dairy products and there is enough global production, but misses a professional network between both. Regarding goat meat, the world leadership also stays in Africa and Asia, namely in China, and there is a new phenomenon, the spreading of goat meat tradition through Europe due to migrants from Africa and other places with strong goat meat consumption.
Part of the book: Goat Science
Goat (Capra hircus) is one of the main sources of milk and meat products for human consumption. Goat milk differs from cow and human milk in both composition and nutritional properties. Goat milk and other goat-derived products contain several bioactive compounds that might be useful in patients suffering from a variety of chronic diseases. Several peptides, fats, and oligosaccharides present in goat’s milk can be potentially useful in cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, neurological degeneration, or in promoting intestinal health. They have also shown chemopreventive properties in cancer. In addition, the oligosaccharides present in goat’s milk have immunomodulatory properties, prevent adhesion of pathogenic bacteria, and have prebiotic, probifidogenic effects. Due to its potential health benefits, goat milk is particularly recommended for infants, older adults, and convalescing people. This chapter gives an overview of the biological activities of goat products and the effects of peptides, fats, and oligosaccharides present in goat milk on pathogenic bacteria, as well as their ability to regulate immunological, gastrointestinal, hormonal, and neurological responses in humans.
Part of the book: Goat Science
Semi-natural Mediterranean pastures are an important resource in traditional systems of land use, namely in the Serra da Estrela region, located in the centre of mainland Portugal, where livestock activity is performed, mostly based in the dairy sheep farming. It is a region of rugged and mountainous relief, composed of shrub and herbaceous strata, usually associated with the sheep diet while they are grazing. These pastures take on some typologies, mainly in the mountain areas, including meadows, mesophille perennial Nardus grasslands and other perennial pastures of high ecological and scenic value. The floristic composition is predominantly composed of grasses (Poaceae), and legume (Fabaceae) species. The implementation of adequate cultivation techniques for the pasture management allows an increase in its productivity and nutritional value, resulting in increased stocking rate and reduced supplementation needs. In addition, these techniques promote the maintenance of biodiversity and landscape mosaic supporting the environment programmatic indications of the Common Agricultural Policy. Thus, the characteristics, potentialities and management practices of grasslands in the Serra da Estrela region are described, based on a literature review. This chapter aims to provide useful information, to the farmers who intend to make their pastures management more efficient while promoting environmental sustainability.
Part of the book: Sheep Farming