The serpentina goat is a breed indigenous to Portugal in risk of extinction. It is practically limited to the South of Portugal.
According to the Portuguese Association of breeders, entity responsible for the management of the herd-book of the race, there are only 4350 females and 222 breeding males.
The serpentina goat resulted from crosses of animals brought in ancient times to the Iberian Peninsula by people from various backgrounds. The environmental constraints and some morphological selection, gave rise to a population of accentuated homogeneity, deserving the status of breed (in Regulation of the Herd-book of the Serpentina-breed Goats).
Its name has undergone some changes due to the distribution of animals throughout history. Initially it was called castilian or spanish, referring to the origin of the first herds. Later came to be known by raiana (territories near the border of Portugal and Spain) for existing mainly in the border region. And finally, it was renamed serpentina goat, due to their proliferation occurring predominantly in the Serpa hills.
The breed's production system is based on the traditional management of the region. The adult animals are kept in direct grazing. In the areas of pasture, the goat feeds on leaves of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Births occur in two seasons: in September/October and January/February in order to match the marketing of goats with the local religious festivities.
The goats are breastfed until the age of two and a half months. At this point they are taken away from their mothers. Milking of the mothers starts the next day and it is done daily in the morning and afternoon.
The use of serpentina goat milk in the production of OLIVAE soaps is a contribution to the safeguard of this breed.