Why We Love Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Why we love Nigerian Dwarf goats
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Goats are a fun and useful addition to your homestead. They are a lot of fun to watch and the fresh goat milk is great! There are a lot of different breeds of goats to choose from, all of which can give good milk. However one breed of goat that is consistently overlooked for milk production is the Nigerian Dwarf.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are often considered pets and overlooked as a good dairy goat because of their small size. They may be smaller than a full sized goat, but to us, that is just one of the many benefits!
Here are some reasons why we love Nigerian Dwarf goats and chose to keep some in our herd.


Size

Nigerian Dwarf goats are about half the height of a standard sized goat, yet bigger than a pygmy goat.  A good size reference would be a medium sized dog such as a Golden Retriever.  They typically weigh around 50 lbs, so if you need to pick up your goat to get them to go onto the milk stand, you can.  That may be the voice of experience.    Since the goats are smaller, fencing is easier as it doesn’t need to be as tall. A 4 foot fence is more than plenty to keep the goats where you’d like them to be, as long as it is tight and doesn’t provide “ramps” such as angled bracing.

If you don’t have a livestock trailer, then you are in luck.   Nigerian Dwarf goats are very easy to haul.  We have hauled our goats numerous times, in a large dog cage in the back of our minivan.  Three Nigerian Dwarf goats easily fit in a large dog cage.  We’ve hauled standard size goats that way, and while it’s doable to transport 1 goat in the back of the van, it’s a lot more difficult.  One note of caution, only transport a buck in this manner if you have a fondness for that lovely “bucky” aroma.  It will take weeks for that scent to get out of the van!

B&Maize

A 2 day old Nigerian Dwarf kid. They are so tiny and cute!


The MILK, oh the milk!

Once you’ve tasted goat’s milk from a Nigerian Dwarf goat, you will never want any other kind of goat milk again.  The milk contains twice as much milk fat, sometimes more, than any other breed of goat with the exception of a pygmy goat.  While pygmy goats are difficult to milk, fortunately Nigerian Dwarf goats are not.  If you are intimidated by their small teats, a Henry Milker works quite well.  Milking a Nigerian Dwarf goat is not more difficult than a milking a standard sized goat, but the technique is somewhat different.  I milk both and find them to be equally easy to milk, it just takes practice.

Nigerian Dwarf goats produce less milk than a standard sized goat, around 1-2 quarts per day.  Some may think that isn’t much, but quality over quantity, right?  We are currently milking two Nigerian Dwarf goats and have an adequate supply of fresh milk for our family. In order to have enough to make yogurt and cheese, we do milk our standard sized goats along with the Nigerian Dwarf goats.

Yogurt and cheese made from Nigerian Dwarf goat’s milk is out of this world!  Typically you need to take some extra steps to get a nice, thick yogurt with goat’s milk.  Not so when you use Nigerian Dwarf goat’s milk.  The yogurt turns out nice and thick, just like greek yogurt. When we are milking our standard sized goats and Nigerian Dwarf goats,  we have a surplus of milk.  I keep the Nigerian Dwarf milk separate from the rest of the milk and make a gallon of yogurt a week.  My kids REALLY like yogurt.


Sweet nature

When people think of goats, they typically think that they’re naughty and up to no good. Sure, some goats have attitudes and they do like to climb if given the opportunity, but not all goats are naughty. Each breed of goat has their own “personality”.  Nigerian Dwarf goats are very docile and sweet.  Our girls are always looking for a good scratch on their back.  They are not aggressive at all, which makes them great to have around children.  Ever since our daughter was 4 years old, she has spent a lot of time out in the goat pen petting and talking to the goats.  She loves it and so do the goats.

 

Breeding Cycle

Most goats are seasonal breeders, meaning they only go into heat certain times of the year.  Nigerian Dwarf goats go into heat every 21-28 days, all year long.  This makes breeding much easier, as you don’t have a few month window to get your goats bred in.  It also means that with careful planning, you can have goats at their peak milk supply twice a year.   Plan for one goat to kid in October and the next goat to kid in April and you will have fresh milk year round!  Keep in mind that we often milk a goat for a year straight (and likely could go longer), as long as their condition stays good and they continue to produce well.

 

Quiet

Nigerian Dwarf goats are quiet!  They do not call and cause a ruckus, even when they’re in heat.  Sure, they do “talk” and make noises, but nothing compared to standard sized goats.  For example, Lola our La Mancha, is very noisy and will loudly voice her opinion if anything isn’t quite up to her standards.  Yes, apparently goats do have standards.

Bug&Lily

 

Another nice perk to owning a Nigerian Dwarf goat is that there are some cities that now allow you to have Nigerian Dwarf goats in town.  Colorado Springs is one, and I’m sure there are more.  There are specific requirements, like  lot size and how many goats are allowed, so check your city’s regulations on what the guidelines are where you live.

Finally, there is one myth not unique to Nigerian Dwarf goats that just needs to be dispelled.  Often people refer to “those nasty stinky goats” and say they could never drink milk from such a stinky animal.  This is just completely wrong!  If a doe goat stinks, there is a serious problem or they have just gotten back from a “date” with a buck.  We definitely do keep our doe goats separate from bucks because the bucks certainly do have a rather peculiar odor.  I actually find that cows have a lot more odor than our doe goats.

Are you ready to get some goats?

 

Reasons to love Nigerian Dwarf Goats

23 responses to “Why We Love Nigerian Dwarf Goats

  1. I love all of the reasons you listed, and I couldn’t agree more! I haven’t gotten to taste our girls’ milk just yet, but I have tried cheese made from Nigerian Dwarf goats and it was the best cheese I’ve ever had!

    • Isn’t the cheese out of this world? I’m eager to make some more! The milk is amazing, you won’t want any other kind of goat’s milk after you’ve had it! 🙂

  2. We’re with you on the Nigerian Dwarf love! Our girls are friendly, wonderful mothers, and stellar milkers. We’ve converted quite a few goat milk haters with just one taste of their milk. And the cheese! And the cajeta! So great.

  3. Great article! We’ve got ND’s and love ’em. Couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said!

  4. I want to get some Nigerians so bad! I was going to get a couple for $50 each, but found out that they were not full Nigerian. I also have the problem of not having a pen…….. One day, One day.

  5. Ah! I love finding and reading posts about goats. I just love them! I have an odd assortment at the moment, a toggenburg, saanen, lamancha and a nubian/lamancha mix. They were all bred last fall to nigerian dwarf bucks. They definitely ALL have very different personalities! I would love to add a nigerian dwarf doe, mainly for that amazing milk I’ve heard so much about!

    • Goats are so fun! 🙂 We have a lamancha and an oberhasli as well as our nigerian dwarf goats. We bred both of the bigger girls to a nigi buck, so it will be interesting to see what we get!

  6. You almost have me convinced! Hubby has been wanting goats, but I don’t know if our fencing (for cows, but currently have alpacas) will hold them…have heard they like to jump. Anyways, after readying about nigerians, I may look into getting a couple. Do you drink the milk raw?
    Lori from LL Farm

    • We use no climb horse fence for our goats, but 4×4 fencing would work too. Since Nigerian Dwarf goats are smaller, they can fit through all sorts of nooks and crannies that cattle and alpacas wouldn’t even think of going through. But hey don’t require much space since they’re small, which helps. 🙂 We do drink the milk raw, it’s delicious!! I hope you do get some Nigerians! They’re a lot of fun!

  7. We have eight NDs right now with one milking and more freshening soon. I love their sweet personalities! I believe I’m considered their “automated scratching post.”

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  9. Thank you for this post! We plan on adding Nigerian Dwarf Goats to our homestead next Spring and this just made me even happier with my choice of breed! Only problem is I’m more impatient now! 🙂

  10. We have a nig.. (totally adore her) and a mini nub (although she is 7/8 nig and 1/8 nub, she acts like a nig but she has airplane ears) LOVE our girls for all the reason and so many more than can’t be explained with words!

  11. I’ve been considering getting a Nigerian dwarf to add to our herd 🙂 now I just need to do some convincing of the other half. They just don’t get why you “need” another goat lol 🙂

  12. Should I remind him that he brought home goats in the first place? So really, it is his fault to begin with LOL 😉

  13. Denyse Stephens

    Can yuo post some of your recipes for yogurt and cheese that you use with the NG goat milk specifically? My doe is having her first kidding in a week, so we should have milk soon. Thanks.

    • How exciting!! I have a wonderful yogurt recipe that I can share with you, I will get that posted for you soon. Most of my cheese recipes come from the book “Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carroll. Mozzarella cheese is easy and delicious with ND milk. I’ll have plenty of milk again in about a month. I’m eager to have homemade yogurt and cheese again!

  14. Hello,
    I just stumbled upon your site as I have been researching for quite some time about Nigerian Dwarf goats and Pygmy goats. We have acreage and have horses. We have also raised lambs for 4H -we have 1 breeding ewe and breed her for 4H lambs.
    I would love to get 2 goats for pets, though. We have the space and even have a stile that goes between our 2 different horse pastures- sheep uses it all the time. Our fencing is 2″ x 4″ wire mesh all around our property. There are two concerns I have and dont know, REALISTICALLY, with goats:
    1. Will the goats try to climb the 4 foot wire mesh? I could send you a pic to show how much room they would have. It is about 4-5 acres.
    2. Do goats “skirt” trees, that is, chew the tree bark (it can kill the tree). My husband is VERY concerned about this. Our pastures do have some trees in them. There is PLENTY to eat, grass, weed-wise and round bales in the winter, but I’m worried that they may do this out of ?? boredom or variety??
    Can you advise on these things? I’d LOVE to get a couple of ND, but we get animals for the long haul (they’re part of the family) and I dont want to go there if they do cause these problems.
    Thanks SO much if you can give any help. I have researched and researched, but have found no real specific answers form folks that have goats.
    Regards,
    JLawler

    • Hi! We’ve never had an issue with our goats climbing the fence. It would be more likely that they would try to jump the fence, but if they have plenty to eat they won’t want to do that. If your fence holds sheep in, it will hold in Nigerian Dwarf goats without a problem. Yes, goat will “skirt” trees. Goats love woody plants, and tree bark is no exception. They are usually looking for minerals when they do this, but they like to chew on things so it could be out of boredom as well. You could wrap the trees with some of the wire mesh fence to keep them from eating your trees. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, we’d be happy to help!

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