Learn how we use (and abuse) common dairy goat terminology

Our Glossary of Dairy Goat Terms

New herdshare owners may not be familiar with some of the words used on this site and at the farm, as they are unique to raising goats and producing milk. This document attempts to explain these terms, as we use them in our own operations. These may not be universal definitions, but they will be understood clearly here on our farm.


  • buck: a male goat
  • buckling: a young male goat, typically immature and unproven


  • caprine: relating to or resembling goats
  • cabrito: meat from a young goat
  • chevon: meat from an older goat
  • creamery: where milk gets poured off, filtered, stored, and (optionally) processed


  • dairy barn: shelter for pregnant, kidding, and lactating does
  • doe: a female goat
  • doeling: a young immature female goat
  • drying off: the cessation of milking prior to kidding


  • freemartin: a sterile doeling twin, born alongside a male and exposed to masculinizing hormones during gestation
  • freshening: allowing the doe to become pregnant and kid, boosting future milk production at the expense of drying off during gestation


  • head gate: a pair of vertical bars that close around
  • herd: a group of goats
  • herd sire: a buck that will breed all of the does in a herd
  • herdshare program: contractual arrangements that permit distributed owners to utilize central production 
  • herdshare owner: a participant in our herdshare programs


  • kid (n): the genderless term for a young goat, including doelings, bucklings, and freemartins
  • kid, kidding (v): the act of a goat giving birth to a kid


  • milking parlor: where the does are milked on their stanchions, often adjacent to the creamery


  • pouring off: the act of transferring milk from the milking bucket to the storage jars
  • proven doe: a doe that has been freshened at least once


  • scurs: deformed partial horn growths
  • stanchion: a often-raised platform on which a goat stands while being milked, sheared, or treated.


  • zoonotic: capable of crossing from animals to humans