RAISING NIGERIAN DWARF GOATS ~
On our small diversified farm we raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We used to raise Nubians but decided to switch to Nigerian Dwarf goats for numerous reasons. This article tells our tale as many of you are thinking about adding goats to your farm mix and are in the process of considering the same things we’ve gone through.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are a miniature dairy breed. Due to their smaller size it is easy for small farmers and even urban farmers to have goats travel with them in a dog crate in a small car. This is a very big deal from the stand point that you don’t need horse trailers or livestock trailers and the enormous investment that entails, to have these goats and stand up your own little dairy operation. This is a primary reason Nigerian Dwarf goats are so popular now with new small rural and urban homesteaders/farmers. Second, this goat breed can have babies year around, which is not common for many goat breeds which can only be bred in fall. This is also a big deal as you can have more offspring which you can sell or use for your own herd making your business more profitable sooner. The additional benefit is that you can really manage when the does have their kids to assure you have milk year around. Having that constant spicket of milk production is a God send. Third, the milk itself is amazing. Nigerian Dwarf goats can produce up to 1000 pounds of milk a year (1 to 8 pounds of milk production per day per doe) which is a great deal, all on about half the amount of feed of a full sized goat. And, (and this is a really big deal), Nigerians have a very high butterfat content in their milk; 6.5% and up to 10% later in lactation. This butterfat is key for cheese making and soap making. This is more butterfat than larger breeds. Last, Nigerians are easy to train and are very friendly. Due to their size they make amazing pets for children and are used for visits to nursing homes and other community centered activities. Their colors range all over from black, to black on white, to black on brown, to tan, to white and everything in between. It makes birthing time so much fun as the kids all look different. Last spring my one doe had a solid black buckling and solid white buckling (twins), so we named them Yin and Yang.
While I loved having Nubians, I found that their size was a tad large, they produced SO much milk I often had too much and only for part of the year, they were pretty noisy and talkative so it was a noticeable cry coming from the barn which was an irritation on the farm (Nigerians are much quieter) and of course, the Nubians ate more thus costed more to raise than Nigerians do. Also, Nubians aren’t as main stream for the beginner farmer/homesteader which is the clientele we sell our livestock to due to the fact they are looking for high yield, small size and very friendly and docile to mix well with the family and the neighbors.
Homesteading is a wonderful way of life. There’s nothing quite like heading back to the house in the early morning with fresh eggs in one hand and fresh milk in the other. Not only can a family live sustainably and in harmony with the land, the family is fed and fed well with peak nutrition generated on the farm. Kids can learn where their food comes from and also be engaged in generating that food product. They can learn about work and results. We watch kids and witness their confidence grow the longer they are at our farm and engaged in ‘bringing in the produce’ such as milk, eggs, veges and fruits. Nigerian Dwarf goats with their loving dispositions and highly productive milk production make them a highly valued asset to your farm. We hope you spend more time looking into Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We are confident you’ll love this breed and it will deliver all your needs and meet your expectations on a small rural or urban farm/homestead.