Other common names: Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat
The Nigerian Dwarf Goat is a dairy goat breed from west Africa which has a conformation that is similar to the larger dairy goat breeds. Nigerian Dwarf goats produce a milk which is high in butterfat and has a sweet taste. As a breed, they are gentle and easily trainable. This, along with their small size and colorful appearance, makes them popular as pets. Approved by the USDA as a livestock dairy goat, the Nigerian Dwarf is eligible for 4H and FFA projects.
Appearance / health:
There are two different height standards for the Nigerian Dwarf goat. The height standard maintained by the American Goat Society and the American Dairy Goat Association requires does to be less than 22.5 inches at the withers, and bucks to be less than 23.5 inches at the withers. The Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association states does should ideally be 17 - 19 inches in height, with a maximum allowed height of 21 inches, and bucks should ideally be 19 - 21 inches, with a maximum allowed height of 21 inches.
The coat is short to medium in length, straight, and soft textured. The ears are upright and the nose is straight. Nigerian Dwarfs come in different colors. The doe’s milk production is high compared to its size, and richer in butterfat and protein compared to other dairy goats.
Goats are sensitive animals that can suffer from various infectious and chronic diseases that are sometimes undetected until too late. Vaccinations, as well as de-worming and de-lousing applications must be conducted as needed. Milking goats should be checked regularly using prescribed mastitis tests for udder health. Milking areas should always be clean and the goat’s teats treated with teat dip after milking to prevent mastitis.
Goats must be inspected frequently to detect any signs of poor health, infections, or other ailments. Signs include cloudy or teary eyes, dull or fluffed up coat, droopy tail, hunched back, or poor appetite. A veterinarian should always be on call to address health concerns.
Behavior / temperament:
Goats are inherently curious, active, intelligent, and social. They are known to have the ability to overcome enclosures by unraveling the gate, climbing over the mesh, or pushing and ramming the fence down. Goats have good coordination and balance and can manage to climb low trees, ledges, and overhangs. Their curiosity leads them to constantly investigate items with their mouths; most items get chewed and swallowed. With a little patience, goats can be taught to carry or pull loads, respond to calls, and lead a herd. As social animals, they easily get along with other farm animals.
Nigerian Dwarfs are favored as pets, even for young children and seniors, because of their small size and gentle, playful temperament. They are also a preferred addition to a farm because they blend well with other animals, are not picky with their food, and do not require special housing.
Housing / diet:
As herd animals, goats are best kept in pairs or groups. As grazers, they require an outdoor habitat that is securely fenced to prevent escape or foraging in restricted areas. The area should be large enough to allow the goat to roam. The recommended habitat per goat is 200 sq. ft. of yard or pasture plus a sheltered or indoor area of about 15 sq. ft. The sheltered area should be adequately built to keep the goats safe from rain and strong winds.
Keeping goats inside the house is not recommended because of the pet’s tendency to gnaw and chew on furniture and furnishings. Goats are also not known to adhere to toilet training.
The ideal food for domesticated goats is alfalfa hay and grass hay. This should be available daily in quantities of at least 3% of the goat’s body weight. Small quantities of feed grain and concentrates (often protein-enriched) like goat show or goat grain can also be given to add nutrition. Supplements are often used to address deficiencies inherent to local habitats.
Clean water is essential to a goat’s daily diet. It should always be available and provided where it cannot be soiled. Dirty and moldy water is hazardous to the goat’s health. Milking goats should be kept away from aromatic or strong-tasting foliage like garlic, onions, mint, and cabbage, which could taint the flavor of the milk.
delicious sweet milk, smallacreage property, great backyard pet, backyard milkers, loveable personalities
extreme heat climates, escape artists, fence, meat, test boundaries
proper worming, good milk genetics, extended lactation, cheesemaking, beautiful blue eyes, 4H projects
Bay the Shortstuff
I grew up raising mainly Toggenburgs, Nubians and Lamanchas. We started raising Nigerian Dwarves mainly because we were given a breeding pair as a gift and fell in love with their sweet temperaments, lovely markings and smaller size.
We raised them mainly as pets, both for us and for sale. Bay in particular was quite an experience for people who had really only worked with the standard breeds.
Bay and Basil, his twin sister (in white) were born about three weeks early and were each roughly the size of a TV remote. They were little cage breakers and climbers right from the beginning. Bay in particular would never stay behind a fence if he was bored and he would regularly get out and come down to the house, find a lap and watch TV with us. Bay was the first goat I ever met who thought he was a lapdog! Or a shower monster, if he wasn't in a lap mood he would go play, by himself, in the shower.
My favorite plus about goats of practically any breed, but especially Nigerian Dwarves is that they truly are furry lawnmowers, but be warned, their favorite foods seems to be prized rosebushes and poison oak.
Important notes: They are often small enough to climb through a stock panel fence, or, if they try hard enough they can and will just climb right over it.
Overall I though absolutely recommend Nigerian Dwarves to a first time goat owner, they are easier to handle and calmer (not to mention less talkative) than any other breed I have worked with..
From Emberstoflames Oct 6 2015 8:20PM
NIGERIAN DWARF GOATS (NGD), YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE THEM!
When growing up as a kid, I often came in contact with these benign creatures because my grandfather reared plenty of them; they were kept as pet and for their meat. In fact, meeting these animals was a reason I looked forward to visiting my grandparents during summer vacations. NDGs are so cute and fun to have as pets, they are curious and playful. When they become used to you, they no longer run away from you or fidget when you stroke their fur. So, I decided to get a female breed for myself and named her Alex. She was so much fun! Alex grew up to become so used to me and my folks. She would to snuggle at my feet, play and even like to spar playfully. Alex became so fond of us such that she would feed only when being hand-fed. It was quite a challenge to wean her off that. She was quick to recognize the calls of every member in the household and even the honk of the family car!
These goats are great to have as pets and livestock. The only little drawback is that like goats in general, they can be stubborn. When they become fixated on something, you have to deliberately pry their attention off it. In case you plan on rearing them in your garden and you don’t want them to eat your vegetables or flowers, you could just sprinkle a pudding of their poop on the garden area within their reach, until you observe that they no longer attempt to feed on your garden. I don’t know if this is hygienic but it sure works and you do not have to worry, the poop washes off whenever you water your garden!.
From declan Aug 21 2015 6:31AM
Pros & Cons of ND Goats
Goats can be great pets and livestock to keep, but there are many pros and cons to them. I'll start with pros:
Keeping (some) weeds and grass trimmed
Eats food scraps and turns them into great manure
Baby goats are pretty awesome to have around
They are rough on fencing and need a good solid enclosure or they will get out and eat everything that you don't want them to eat
They are loud and demanding. Lots of yelling anytime you walk outside. Some people like this. I didn't care for it and ending up trying to hide from them a lot. Maybe mine were spoiled because I fed them scraps a lot so they always thought I had something for them.
They poop everywhere they go. Their droppings were all over our pathways in our yard. We wanted them to trim the grass but that meant their droppings were everywhere.
They eat all of your beautiful plants if they escape. One day our buck figured out he could hop up on a bin, onto a pallet, and over the fence. He ate our new plum tree and almost killed it.
The bucks do have a smell once they hit maturity and it's quite unpleasant. They also do a lot of nasty buckish behavior that we found pretty horrifying to watch. It's not the kind of thing you want company to see...
We ended up being a goat free farm after two years because honestly the cons outweighed the pros by a lot. We loved our seasons of goat babies and the females were a lot less trouble than the males. If I were to do it again, it would only be on the condition of having females only, and only if we had a large area for them that was away from the house so I didn't feel like I had to sneak around the goats to keep them from hollering. If you want babies and milk you can always try to find a stud to breed your females.
In closing, I would not recommend goats unless all of the cons sound like something you can handle or find a way to deal with. They work for a lot of people, but I prefer a more peaceful farming experience..
From starletblue Jun 22 2015 3:02PM