American Alpines are a purely American breed that has resulted from the crossbreeding of French and American Alpines. They tend to be larger, stronger, and more robust than many other breeds, thriving in a variety of climates and on a variety of grazing pastures. They are excellent milk producers. Many can produce 3 to 4 quarts a day during a ten month lactation period. The milk is more easily digestible than cow’s milk due to its fat and protein content, and the resulting cheese, or chevre, is mild flavored and delectable. Other popular milk products include butter, ice cream, yogurt, and soap.
American Alpines are well known not only for being extremely intelligent and friendly, but also for being strong willed and independent. They are known to bond very well with their owners. Our three goats Annie, Coco, Belle, and our most recent addition, Prince Harry, an Alpine/Nubian mix are certainly no exception. Our little foursome will see us coming toward the barn and dash for the gate, effectively blocking our way in. If we try to fool them by using another gate, they are two steps ahead of us straining to get out. While the sheep will perhaps look up briefly before continuing to graze contentedly, Prince Harry and the three musketeers will follow us wherever we go. Belle now has a little bell on her collar to warn us of their approach. They still get to the gate before us, but at least we know they are there!
Alpines are an extremely agile and curious breed. They also seem to have a proclivity toward anything that is higher than they are. Our adorable gang has jumped on the hay wagon, climbed onto tractors, and jumped atop piles of wood in the barnyard. They have eaten more than just the pasture, bush, and meadow. They have also experimented with the bark off the trees and even the wood on the barn. No matter how mischievous they can be, however, or how much trouble they can get into, there is something endearing about the gentleness of their spirit and their overall sense of loyalty that has definitely stolen our hearts.