The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep, both being in the goat antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of goats.
Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, intact males as bucks or billies; their offspring are kids. Castrated males are wethers. Goat meat from younger animals is called kid, and from older animals is sometimes called chevon, or in some areas “mutton”.
Some goats are bred for milk, which can be drunk fresh, although pasteurisation is recommended to reduce naturally occurring bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Goat's milk is commonly processed into cheese, goat butter, ice cream, cajeta and other products.
Goat's milk can replace sheep's milk or cows' milk in diets of those who are allergic. However, like cows' milk, goat's milk has lactose (sugar) and may cause gastrointestinal problems for individuals with lactose intolerance.
Goat's milk is naturally homogenized, which means the cream remains suspended in the milk, instead of rising to the top, as in raw cows' milk.
Goat butter is white because goats produce milk with the yellow beta-carotene converted to a colorless form of vitamin A.