Nigerian Dwarf Goats
~ General Information ~
The Nigerian Dwarfs have been enjoying a rise in popularity due to their small size, colorful markings, dairy characteristics and their wonderful easy temperament. Their small stature means they do not require as much space or feed as their larger dairy goat counterparts.
The Nigerian Dwarf does give a surprising quantity of milk for its size. An average doe produces about 2.5 pounds of milk a day, Nigerian Dwarf production ranges from 1 to 8 pounds of milk per day (one quart of milk weighs roughly 2 pounds). Production depends upon genetics, how many times the doe has freshened (given birth), quality and type of feed, and general good management. Since Nigerians breed year-round, it is easy to stagger freshenings in a herd for year-round production of milk. Thus, they are ideal milk goats for most families. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from many full-sized dairy goats, averaging 6.5% according to the American Dairy Goat Association. Later in lactation, butterfat can go up to 10% or even higher. This makes Nigerian Dwarfs' milk excellent for cheese, soap and cream making.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are typically gentle, lovable and playful. Their calm, even temperament and engaging personalities make them suitable companions for all, including children, the disabled and the elderly. Even breeding bucks are handled easily. Nigerian Dwarfs make wonderful pets and great animal projects for young children in 4H or FFA.
Goats need proper fencing to keep them secure and protected from predators as well as shelter to protect them from the elements. Goats do not like water and are often seen fleeing for shelter when the first rain drop falls from the sky.
Goats require roughage to keep their rumen happy and healthy. Many goat breeders use a 12% - 18% protein goat feed or dairy ration. Goats will eat poison ivy with no ill effects and will clear out any brush or flowers if given the opportunity. There are some plants that are poisonous to goats; please know what you have on your property and eliminate access to these plants. Fresh water, hay or pasture should always be provided in abundant supply, ideally good pasture and browse are the best. Alfalfa is an ideal hay to feed to does in milk as it's higher in calcium than other hay. Grain, shredded beet pulp, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS), molasses, a commercial grain/pellet or a combination of any of these is often given to lactating does to maintain condition while raising their kids or providing milk for your table.
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Sources: Wikipedia, NDGA