Before Buying ...
Goats of all breeds are friendly when treated with respect, but Nigerians set the bar much higher with their even-tempered, dog-like qualities. NDG's are relaxed around their humans and will choose to be near you if they have the option ... unless your favorite flowers are calling their name!
Goats will think you planted the garden and flowerbeds just for them, so be sure they have plenty of browse & pasture in a fully secured pen to keep them happy. They will ALWAYS eat your treasured plants and shrubs before choosing poison ivy or brambles, so please understand there are down-sides to goat ownership, and be prepared to deal with them accordingly before you purchase.
We Make Wonderful Pets!
Nigerian Dwarf's learn quickly to walk on a lead, come when called, stand nicely to be milked, or even carry a small pack if taught with love and patience ... and plenty of treats!
In our experience, if you are looking for companion goats, NDG's have a sweeter personality when compared to any other goat breeds.
They also have the delicate, graceful lines of a full-sized dairy goat, but will not get any larger than a medium-sized dog!
The standard size from ADGA state:
Does shall not be taller than 21" and breeding bucks no more than 23" at the withers (top of shoulders). NDG's should not get over 70 pounds, so they make wonderful pets for children to grow up with.
You really do need at least 2 goats for their well-being and happiness, and we have right of refusal to anyone that doesn't already have 1 or 2 at home with basic knowledge of goat ownership.
PLEASE ASK FOR SPECIAL PRICING IF PURCHASING MORE THAN ONE GOAT!
(Most breeders will be happy to supply you with a wethered goat at a reduced price in order to find them good homes.)
Goats have been herd animals since the beginning of time - it's their natural instinct to be with their own kind. Most goats will become extremely bored, loud or fretful if kept alone. Having 2 goats vs. 1 will be a minimal cost and it will not take away from their affection towards you; it's just like having 2 dogs.
Why Nigerian Dwarf Milk?
You will know after one sip! It tastes very similar to skim cow's milk, but with a silky, delicious creaminess.
NDG milk is very sweet and nutritious when the does are healthy and fed quality forage and/or hay. It's higher in butterfat and flavor than any other goat breed, and you can expect a quart or more per day from your milking doe.
Goat milk is absorbed by the body in roughly 10 minutes, compared to cow's milk, which can take 24 hours! No wonder there are so many people allergic or lactose-intolerant when they consume cow milk products. Goat's milk is also naturally homogenized, aiding with digestibility.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats are one of the best milkers in the world when compared to the amount of feed and space required to keep them. The return on your dairy investment is doubled or tripled when compared to a full-sized dairy goat.
Why Polled Goats?
Polled goats are gaining in popularity due to the painful process of de-horning. And YES, de-horning is a choice, but very often those horns cause injury to humans and goats alike, and most Dairy Goat Shows will not allow them in the ring. However, that being said, we will always use our veterinarian to perform de-horning when the kids are 7-10 days old under mild sedation to reduce the stress & pain for them.
IF ONE OF THE PARENTS IS POLLED,
EACH OF THEIR OFFSPRING HAS A 50% CHANCE OF BEING POLLED!
And PLEASE ... Under NO circumstances dis-bud a baby if one of it's parents is Polled until you KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT it is growing horn buds! Polled kids are born with nubs that many mistake for horns and they are put through the de-horning process for no reason!
Polled babies have rounded skulls when they are born, while horned babies have a flattened, dipped area in the middle of their skull where the horns will pop through. Horned goats also have hair swirls around their tiny horn buds. Polled animals will not have hair swirls, but you will feel large, rounded bumps ... often described as a gumdrop.
Horns (normally) start popping through in the first couple of weeks, but polled genetics will sometimes delay the growing process. (De-horning is best done when they are no older than 7-14 days in order to prevent horn 'scurs' from growing back.) A kid's horns will usually be sharper & feel "pointy" against your fingers (think of a chocolate chip tip), whereas Polled kids have rounded-off nubs that rarely get any larger.
The TWO on the LEFT are POLLED - The ONE on the RIGHT is HORNED
You can see the slight difference in head shape and they are just 24 hours old in this picture.
A Few Basics to Keep In Mind
* Goats can escape through, over or under almost anything - secure fencing is a necessity! We witnessed our wether use his rear-end as leverage against a tree while using his front feet to "walk" up the fence in order to jump over it!
* Goats MUST climb and jump on anything horizontal! And yes, especially the new car you just brought home; or your back every time you bend over :)
* ALL Goats need minerals, baking soda and copper. They will also need yearly CD-T boosters. Be prepared to provide these basic needs or you will soon have a sick animal to deal with.
PREVENTION GOES A LONG WAY TOWARD GOAT HEALTH!
* Goats have "4 stomachs" or rumens like a cow - they must have forage in front of them at all times for a healthy gut. Grain is a NO-NO for wethers & bucks because it can cause urinary stones that will block their urethra resulting in an expensive operation or a painful death if not recognized in time.
We only grain the does for extra energy when they are nursing babies or producing milk for the pail. Good browse & plenty of clean, grass hay are all that is necessary to keep a goat fed well!
* Hoofs need trimmed on a monthly basis! It's extremely easy to learn, and goats will stand nicely if there is a treat reward at the end of each session!
* Most goats hate water & rain. They run frantically for the barn when it is barely sprinkling. Please provide good shelter and fencing to keep them safe from predators, wind, snow/rain and sun.
Some of Our Favorite Places
American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA)
Bramble Berry (this is a wonderful supplier & information resource for soap-makers!)
Nigerian Dwarf Colors (this is a GREAT resource for genetics & coat colors)
The Goat Spot
Goat Finder.com (buying & selling & miscellaneous information)