- Sunset Knoll Nigerians
Why Nigerian Dwarf Goats and where did it begin?
Updated: Jan 24
It's an easy answer. We first started out with Nigerians simply because of the young age of my children at the time, full size goats seemed daunting and hard to handle when my kids wanted to be around them all the time. I also liked their smaller stature due to our smaller acreage and they would in theory require less space and consume less hay. The fact that little Nigerians are adorable and come in many color combinations had nothing to do with it either (wink, wink!). I have since learned of their wonderful personalities, endless amusement and delicious milk they provide!
Our first 3 goats were a disbudded wether, his disbudded littermate registered blue-eyed sister and another registered polled doe. At the time of purchase the intent was solely to get them as pets and brush control for our 1.5 acres (the comedy behind the "brush control" comment though was that we ended up clearing most of the brush ourselves just to put in their shelter and fencing - oops!). I knew nothing of what I was buying; the pedigree wasn't even a factor nor did I know anything about conformation or pedigrees. I only knew I wanted ADGA registered does in case I chose to breed later (again, it really wasn't a goal at the time, I just didn't want to limit myself) and the combo of having the blue eyes and the polled seemed "fun".
We brought those 3 little "gateway goats" home in July of 2015 and it wasn't long (at all) before they had grown out of their cute little kid stage and I decided I wan't to try my hand at breeding those girls. The following year once they were about a year and a half old I found a farm within an hour on Craigslist offering stud services that allowed me to bring my girls to their place and leave them there while they stayed with her buck. Without a buck here I was struggling to know for sure when the girls where in heat and didn't want to drive back and forth in an attempt to catch them in a standing heat for the buck. After a month stay with the buck, we had 4 brand new babies on the ground 5 months later. My husband knew he was in trouble. I fell in love... head over heals, never wanted to imagine life without goats. LOL.
That first year we allowed the new mamas to completely dam raise their kids and I didn't even try to milk the does. We just enjoyed this little gifts they gave us until they were weaned. We retained one doe and let the kids go to new pet homes. The coming fall I wanted to breed again but struggled to find someone to lease a buck (and I had lost the contact of the first buck owner). I needed a buck (here's where my husband would say that I don't know the difference between "need" and "want" but he built me a new buck barn nonetheless). I took to Craigslist again. I first found a nice yearling doe who'd been bred to a nice buck and due a few months out. Not exactly a "buck" but either way, I couldn't pass her up (haha, who hasn't done that before!?). I was starting to learn about pedigrees and recognized the names behind her to be well known and respected. I was quickly gaining interest in increasing my doe count and quality. We welcomed Franke Farm B Vanellope VS. Anyhow, it didn't take long to find a buck who seemed to have some very nice qualities both in himself and his dam. Enter, New Creations RM Monet II *B, a sweet and gentle older buck who taught me how important it was to make sure I always found an easy to handle, well behaved boy like himself. He set the stage.
Fast foward several years and all my original herd members are no longer here on the farm, nor are any of their lines sadly. I still think back on them fondly and appreciate all they taught me but I have since learned what I like and don't like. I have learned about dairy goat conformation, and have defined some goals for my breeding program. I have purposefully sought out the ones that are here currently based on their lines or components of their structure in an attempt to continue to improve my herd and help in moving the Nigerian Dwarf breed forward. It's a process that is always evolving as we learn what works and doesn't work for us. There is no "perfect" goat out there but we all strive to create one and love the ones we have in the meanwhile. As I currently sit here, having just yesterday consumed the last of my supply of sweet, creamy goat milk from my girls I can't wait to start milking again. Only 38 more days until first doe is due and we begin the cyle all over again....