Nigerian Dwarf Goat

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Other common names: Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat

The basics:
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

Nigerian Dwarf Goat Behavior Tip

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

From starletblue Jun 22 2015 3:02PM


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