Pedigree Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Between about 1930 and 1960 a variety of small goats of the West African Dwarf group of breeds were imported from Africa to the United States to be exhibited in zoos. The Nigerian Dwarf, like the American Pygmy Goat, derives from these, but does not resemble the stocky West African Dwarf in conformation – it has been bred to have the appearance of a miniature dairy goat. It was at first reared as a show breed and companion animal; selection was for appearance and for docility. It was later found to be suitable for small-scale dairy production, and some breeding was directed towards dairy qualities. A herd-book was established in 1980.
Numbers grew rapidly; by 2002 there were almost 7000 head registered. The breed was recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association in 2005. The Nigerian Dwarf was formerly listed on the heritage breeds watchlist of the Livestock Conservancy as "recovering", but was removed from the list in 2013. - From Wikipedia
BREED STANDARD PER ADGA
Nigerian Dwarf does are at least 17 inches tall and may be no taller than 22.5 inches. Bucks are also at least 17 inches tall and no taller than 23.5 inches. While there is no weight requirement, 75 pounds is an average weight.
Many color combinations are common, the ears are of medium length and erect, and the bridge of the nose is either straight or dished. The hair is short and fine.
The Nigerian Dwarf was also developed in the United States and is the only miniature dairy goat breed registered by the American Dairy Goat Association.
Although a small goat, the Nigerian Dwarf doe produces a proportionate quantity of milk with high butterfat.
Nigerian Dwarf goats come in an array of colors and patterns including but not limited to: black, chocolate, silver, red, gold, buckskin, chamoisee, cou clair/blanc, swiss marked, bezoar and sundgau, as well as combination patterns and modifying genes. Color/pattern confuses many people, but there are groups and information that can help! "Nigerian Dwarf Color" group on Facebook is a great place to start with questions you may have regarding your goat's color/pattern.
Click here to learn about color genetics:
Click here to learn about colors, patterns, and modifiers with pictures and easy to learn explainations:
WHY REGISTERED STOCK IS IMPORTANT
The only way to know for certain that your goat is purebred is to purchase a registered goat. Without that verification there is no certainty your goat is 100% Nigerian Dwarf. Purchasing a registered Nigerian Dwarf goat ensures that you will get the Nigerian Dwarf goat qualities that we love!
Registering / Purchasing registered ensures that your goats are 100% Nigerian Dwarfs. It also helps maintain and preserve the breed as we can continue to track goats for generations to come.
HOUSING, FENCING, AND PASTURE MANAGEMENT
Shelters can be quite simple depending on your geography and weather, or quite intricate indeed! In any case, the shelter should be designed to protect your goats from any extremes in weather. Goats tolerate about the same temperature extremes as we do. In the winter, the deep litter method allows the wasted hay and manure to compost beneath them. You add a clean layer on as needed to help keep them dry, while the underneath goes through a chemical process of decomposition that creates heat! It is best to clean this method out as winter thaws occur to stay ontop of the work as it grows heavier as it piles up throughout the season. It can be back breaking, so if you can use heavy equipment to help you, it's worth it! Consider accessibility for wheel barrows or equipment during cleanout if possible! In the hot summer months, shade and fresh, cool water are crucial!
Fencing should consist of quality strong and durable materials like steel panels or woven wire/field fencing. Electric along the bottom in addition is not a bad idea to keep them from climbing and rubbing against the fence as well as helping to keep predators at bay. Goats can be escape artists if not properly fed or entertained; do yourself a favor and build strong from the start!
Pasture land should be rotated and allowed to grow at least to a goat's knee in height to reduce infestation from parasites and bacteria that naturally live in the soil by ingestion. Many people keep their goats on a "dry lot" without forage to eat other than hay in feeders to reduce the risk of parasite infection.
A GENERAL DISCLAIMER ON HEALTH
In general, if you notice something off with your goat (lethargic, not eating, losing weight, etc.), we recommend you consult your veterinarian (especially in an emergency) or Catlett Creek Acres right away. Going online or looking to social media could give you numerous unreliable answers. It is a good idea to establish a relationship with a veterinarian PRIOR to an emergency so that the vet will know you and your animals and have a good idea of what is ‘normal’.
WHAT VACCINATIONS DO I GIVE MY GOAT?
This will depend on your specific area and what health threats your goat might encounter in their lifetime. Some Nigerian Dwarf owners don't give any vaccinations to their goats, however it is best to speak to one of your local large animal/farm veterinarians, and Catlett Creek Acres to see what we recommend for your area.
MY GOAT IS LOSING HAIR. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
This could mean any manner of things. Your goat could be shedding its coat (a normal thing), it might have mites, a zinc deficiency, or even lice. The best first course of action here would be to completely change its bedding and consider giving a dose of wormer that will kill mites. Any further hair loss should be brought to a veterinarian's attention.
DOES MY PIG NEED TO BE DEWORMED? HOW OFTEN?
Most breeders recommend deworming after freshening, or whenever a fecal sample gives reason to treat. Worming medication can be administered orally or by injection, with injection being more effective against things like skin mites. To determine a schedule and which type of wormer to use, it is recommend you consult your vet and consider getting a fecal analysis done. The fecal analysis will tell you how heavy your worm load is and what kinds of worms you are dealing with.
Freshening areas should offer protection from cold, wind, rain and snow, and can be a single stall or community stall with other expectant mothers. Immature first fresheners may not be kind to others' kids, so it's important to keep an eye on your animals until you know what to expect. You should be present for the birthing process as complications can occur leading to loss of life. If you are hesitant about the birthing process, it might be worth asking your breeder or veterinarian to be able to walk you through the process or be present with you. Often times intervention is needed and time is of the essence. Keep paper towels on hand to clean the babies' mouth and nose when they come out as to avoid aspiration of fluid into the lungs; this can lead to pneumonia and a loss of life a few days later. Dry babies as needed and keep dry bedding available throughout. Babies need to be up to temperature before they can digest any milk; never force feed a baby with a below average temperature as they will aspirate. Birthing is not for the faint of heart; you need to be mentally prepared! Remember to cut long umbilical cords with CLEAN scissors and dip in iodine/betadine/blu-kote to prevent umbilical infections.
Nigerian Dwarf goats need a variety of minerals and vitamins, proteins, fats, and fiber to metabolize properly. Their diet needs to consist of quality forage (hay), fresh & clean water, goat specific minerals, and fortified grain depending on body condition (growing, gender, pregnancy). Different geographical areas will provide different natural ground minerals and vitamins absorbed by the plants, leading to deficiencies and over abundancies in their diet. This is where loose minerals come into play and are important to filling the gaps! You can have your local extension program analyze a core sample of your hay to find out more regarding it's composition. Loose minerals
BREEDING & REPRODUCTION
MY DOE AND BUCK HAVE LIVED TOGETHER FOR X AMOUNT OF MONTHS/YEARS. HOW COME THEY ARE NOT BREEDING?
As much as you want your goats to have companions to keep them company, it is better practice to keep your does/bucks separate from each other. If you have a pair that will not breed, here are some things to consider...
Separate the two so that they do not have fence-line contact. This might have to be for a few months if necessary. A little separation makes the heart grow fonder. When your doe is in heat, allow fence-line contact by penning the buck adjacent to the female(s). Nose-to-nose contact with each other through the fence allows them to become more comfortable with each other and reduces fighting between them. Fence line exposure can also cause females to begin their cycle.
Be sure that your goats are not overweight as this can lead to the unlikelihood of taking!
Jealousy is a good thing. A little competition from another buck can get the fire going. Have another buck (experienced is better) share a fence line with the newlyweds to bring the level of competition up a notch.
Wait until the doe is in standing heat before introducing the buck. (apply back pressure to tell if she is in estrus, if she stands still she is in standing heat and should accept the boar mounting)
Be sure you are feeding a well balanced diet to all parties. Mineral deficiencies can cause low contraception rates!
HOW OLD DOES YOUR DOE HAVE TO BE TO BREED?
Nigerian Dwarf does start their heat cycles at just a few months old, though it is dangerous to breed them before they reach 50lbs, 9 months, or if they are undersized. Experience is best when it comes to determining if a doe is ready to breed; ask your veterinarian or breeder for advice as needed. A doe who is too underdeveloped to have kids will need a c-section, which can be a detriment to babies and dam both, let alone your wallet!
HOW DO I KNOW IF MATING WAS SUCCESSFUL?
There are a few signs to look for to indicate a successful breeding has taken place. Nothing is as accurate as visually seeing the breeding occur, thus a point to be made for hand breeding, which means placing the female in standing heat together with the male, witnessing the breeding and returning the them to their separate pens. But if that is not possible you can also look for the following:
Watch that the male fully ejaculates in a final thrust. Humping does not get a doe pregnant, the ejaculation does. It's quite eventful as the buck finishes humping he will give a final huge thrust that sometimes makes them fall over backwards!
A doe that is pregnant will not show signs of coming back into heat like screaming , standing at the fence line, tail wagging, or peeing frequently.
Blood work can be sent to an accredited laboratory for pregnancy testing after a few months time to confirm the result!
HOW LONG IS GESTATION?
Nigerian Dwarf gestation is 145 - 150 days, but can go sooner or later by a few days. When breeding, be sure to write down the date bred on your calendar so not to schedule anything in advance of your kidding dates!
SHOULD I FEED MY PREGNANT DOE DIFFERENTLY DURING PREGNANCY AND LACTATION?
For the first 2.5 - 3 months, feed routines can stay the same. After that, nutritional demand increases and you should add more accordingly. You must be careful not to over feed any grain as big babies will have a harder birth process and may need to be c-sectioned out of the doe. Consult your veterinarian or breeder for specifics based on your feed routine.
MY DOE REJECTED HER KIDS; I AM CARING FOR BABIES UNDER 8 WEEKS OLD, WHAT DO I DO?
Caring for rejected goat kids is very difficult. It requires feeding goat's milk or goat's milk formula every 2 hours for at least a few weeks, and keeping kids dry and warm, likely in your house. Feeding should be done VERY carefully as goat kids can aspirate milk and quickly die from pneumonia. For more information, contact your breeder or veterinarian.
The information provided is from our own experience raising Nigerian Dwarf goats and should not be represented or interpreted as a replacement for your own research or veterinary care under any circumstance. Catlett Creek Acres is NOT responsible for any animals off of our property. Please contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding care.