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The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe.The goat is a member of the family Bovidae and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. Female goats are referred to as "does" or "nannies", intact males are called "bucks" or "billies" and juveniles of both sexes are called "kids". Goat meat from younger animals is called "kid" or "cabrito" (from Spanish and/or Portuguese), while meat from older animals is known simply as "goat" or sometimes called "chevon", or, in some areas, "mutton" (which more often refers to adult sheep meat).In addition to natural, traditional mating, artificial insemination has gained popularity among goat breeders, as it allows easy access to a wide variety of bloodlines. Twins are the usual result, with single and triplet births also common.Less frequent are litters of quadruplet, quintuplet, and even sextuplet kids.Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding.Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the doe; dairy goats generally produce between 680 and 1,810 kg (1,500 and 4,000 lb) of milk per 305-day lactation.Does of any breed or region come into estrus (heat) every 21 days for two to 48 hours.A doe in heat typically flags (vigorously wags) her tail often, stays near the buck if one is present, becomes more vocal, and may also show a decrease in appetite and milk production for the duration of the heat.
The mother often eats the placenta, which gives her much-needed nutrients, helps stanch her bleeding, and parallels the behavior of wild herbivores, such as deer, to reduce the lure of the birth scent for predators.Both male and female goats have beards, and many types of goat (most commonly dairy goats, dairy-cross Boers, and pygmy goats) may have wattles, one dangling from each side of the neck.Some breeds of sheep and goats look similar, but they can usually be told apart because goat tails are short and usually point up, whereas sheep tails hang down and are usually longer and bigger – though some (like those of Northern European short-tailed sheep) are short, and longer ones are often docked.In equatorial regions, goats are able to breed at any time of the year.Successful breeding in these regions depends more on available forage than on day length.