Size: Adult male goats in New Zealand stand around 60-80 cm at the shoulder and weigh an average of about 42 kg. Females are smaller (shoulder height around 60-70 cm) and lighter (average around 30 kg) than males.
Colour: The coat is generally short haired with variable amounts of underfur. The hindquarters of both sexes, and the neck and shoulders of males may be shaggy. Colour wise, they can be black, white or brown, or any combination of these. All males and some females are bearded as adults.
Horns: In New Zealand both sexes have horns. In females they are slender and curve upwards and backwards, with a clear space between the bases. In males the horns are larger and sweep up and backwards or up and outwards in an open spiral. The horns may touch at the base. The horns are not shed annually like antlers but are retained for the life of the animal. Males are the largest sex, with clearly heavier forequarters, shaggier coats and larger horns. There is great variability in the colour, pattern and length of the coat, and in horn form and body size, related to the breed origins and nutritional condition of local populations.
Social behaviour: Goats are highly gregarious living in groups of mixed ages often containing both male and female animals. Being browsers goats will eat a wide range of plant material including shrubs, trees, grasses and weed species such as blackberry, brier rose and gorse. During summer months goats tend to feed early morning and late afternoon with periods in the middle of the day spent resting whilst ruminating. In winter with its shorter days goats will be found eating throughout the day. Goats dislike wet conditions and in inclement weather will seek out shelter from rain and wind.
Reproduction: In New Zealand there is virtually year round mating, often peaking November-December, with most females breeding in their first year. When about to give birth, females move away from the group and it can take up to a year before integrating back with other goats occurs. A high percentage of twins are born.
Gestation period: 5 months.
Birthing: Can be any month.