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All About Nigerian Dwarf Goats And 7 Reasons To Raise Them

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Welcome to my complete homesteader’s guide on Nigerian Dwarf Goats. If you’re looking for information on Nigerian Dwarf Goats, their care, and interesting facts, you’ve come to the right place. These amazingly adorable farmyard creatures pack a ton of hidden benefits in a tiny package. Let’s examine them – and their myriad advantages in detail.

Two adorable Nigerian Dwarf Goats joyfully playing on grass.

Sound fun?

Then let’s begin!

All About Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are miniature goats of West African origin, known for their balanced body proportions, gentle demeanor, and high-quality milk production. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are hardy and have a long life. The male bucks have impressive beards. The female does are known for their excellent maternal skills and prolific fertility. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are not famous meat animals. But everyone loves their buttery milk.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat Profile

Nigerian Dwarf Goat playing atop a spool on a beautiful sunny day.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats love to play! Here’s one enjoying a beautiful day on a goat spool.
OriginNigerian Dwarf Goats hail originally from West Africa. They came to the United States in the early 20th century.
DescriptionNigerian Dwarf Goats are compact and hardy. They’re known for their friendly and playful nature. They make excellent pets.
Male SizeHeight ranges from 19 to 23 inches at the withers. Weight typically varies between 60 to 75 pounds.
Female SizeHeight ranges from 17 to 22 inches at the withers. Weight generally falls between 50 to 60 pounds.
AppearanceNigerian Dwarfs are small-sized goats with compact bodies and short legs. They come in various colors, including gold, chocolate, and black, frequently with white markings.
UsesThey’re perfect for milk production, small-scale farming, therapy animals, and as a family pet.
Milk ProductionDespite their small size, Nigerian Dwarf Goats are excellent milk producers, yielding around 1 to 2 quarts daily.
Milk Butterfat ContentTheir milk has a high butterfat content. It ranges between 6 to 10%, contributing to its sweet and creamy flavor.
Conservation StatusThe Livestock Conservancy lists Nigerian Dwarf Goats as graduated, so their conservation status is safe. Thankfully, they are relatively widely bred and appreciated for their traits.
Nigerian Dwarf Goat Profile

The table above represents the Nigerian Dwarf Goat profile.

But there’s plenty more to know about this compact yet mighty cattle breed.

The real-world benefits and advantages of this impactful farmyard goat might surprise you.

Consider the following.

Related – Mini LaMancha Goats And What They’re Good For!

Why You Should Raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats

A Nigerian Dwarf Goat enjoying a yummy hay breakfast.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats possess a range of uses and characteristics that make them a valuable addition to any homestead. Here are seven exciting reasons why you should consider raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

1. Delicious Milk Production

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are renowned for their milk’s rich butterfat content, often ranging between 6% and 10%. This delicious butterfat range makes their milk creamier and particularly desirable for making dairy products like cheese, yogurt, fudge, cream, and butter.

They also produce boatloads of milk for such teeny tiny goats. Nigerian Dwarf Goats make one to two quarts of milk daily, making them an excellent choice for homesteaders and small-scale ranchers interested in cheese and butter making.

2. Compact Size

When considering the practical aspects of Nigerian Dwarf Goats, it’s important to note that their size can vary. Females (does) can reach up to 22 inches at the withers, while bucks can grow up to 23 inches.

Their miniature stature means Nigerian Dwarfs require less lodging and grazing space than larger dairy goats. Their minimal spacing requirements make them ideal for smaller homesteads or properties with limited pasture areas.

3. Gentle And Friendly Disposition

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are sweethearts known for their docile and affectionate nature. They love to play, explore, help you in the garden, interact with other farmyard animals, and forage in your yard. Their gregarious and laid-back disposition makes them excellent pets and great for families with children. Their calm demeanor also makes them easier to handle and manage.

4. Year-Round Breeding

Two little baby Nigerian Dwarf Goats in summer.

Unlike many other goat breeds, Nigerian Dwarf Goats can breed throughout the year. Their year-round breeding allows for a more flexible breeding schedule and the potential for a continuous milk supply. It is common for Nigerian Dwarf Does to have multiple offspring, with three or four kids being typical.

Nigerian Dwarf bucks can start breeding as young as three months old and females at seven to eight months, emphasizing their versatility as an investment for future herd expansion.

Additionally, these goats are generally good mothers and can care for their babies if left to raise them independently. Their motherly nature makes Nigerian Dwarf Goats a low-maintenance option for expanding your farmyard herd.

5. Economical Upkeep

Due to their smaller size, Nigerian Dwarf Goats often have lower feed and maintenance costs than larger goat breeds. But don’t let their small size fool you. Nigerian Dwarf Goats can work up an appetite. However, they will likely eat less than larger goats, some of which can weigh upwards of 300 pounds. 

(Since goats usually eat around two to three percent of their body weight daily, the Nigerian Dwarf’s small size is handy here.)

6. Adaptable To Various Climates

Adorable Nigerian Dwarf Goat exploring a rural barnyard.

We always tell our friends not to judge a Nigerian Dwarf Goat by their size. They are small but surprisingly mighty animals and can thrive in various environments, from warmer tropical climates to cooler temperate regions. If you can provide your Nigerian Dwarf with shelter, food, attention, and care, it will likely thrive and live a happy life. No matter where you live!

7. Diverse Color Patterns

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are arguably one the most adorable goat breeds. They come in various stunning and unique color patterns, adding aesthetic appeal to your herd. Their lovely coats and colors are beautiful for anyone interested in showing the goats or appreciating their magnificence on the homestead.

Raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats can provide a sense of fulfillment and joy. They are also funny and love to frolic. They’re invariably charming and a pleasure to be around.

Related – Mini Cow Breeds Guide | 12 Tiny Cattle Breeds For Milk, Meat, And Weed Management!

Origin And History Of Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Cute Nigerian Dwarf Goats eating a big hay breakfast.

The Nigerian Dwarf Goats hold a fascinating origin and history that traces back to West Africa. They first got imported to the United States and have since been recognized as a distinct breed.

The Nigerian Dwarf Goats were initially chosen as companions and show animals due to their small size and gentle demeanor. However, their production qualities, such as their high-quality milk and ability to breed year-round, have garnered attention. Over the years, the Nigerian Dwarf breed has developed a small but faithful population of advocates. The best source we can find cites around 3,500 registered Nigerian Dwarfs in the USA.

Achievements And Recognitions

Two adorable Nigerian Dwarf Goats exploring on a grassy lawn.

The Nigerian Dwarf Goat breed has achieved notable recognition for its exceptional qualities. These goats have thrived in various livestock shows and exhibitions, where they have consistently impressed judges with their conformation, milk production, and overall beauty. They have also been recognized by reputable goat associations and organizations, solidifying their status as a valued breed.

AchievementYear
International Dairy Goat Registry launches herdbook for Nigerian Dwarf Goats.1981
American Goat Society launches herdbook for Nigerian Dwarf Goats.1984
The American Dairy Goat Association recognizes Nigerian Dwarf Goats (ADGA).2005
Removal from The Livestock Conservancy’s Priority List, signifying their increased population.2013
Nigerian Dwarf Goats – Achievements and Recognition

These achievements and recognitions reflect the growing appreciation and interest in Nigerian Dwarf Goats over the decades. Their rich history and remarkable qualities continue to captivate breeders, homesteaders, and animal enthusiasts alike.

Raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Funny Nigerian Dwarf Goat leaping through the air.

We’ve introduced you to the world of Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Now, let’s talk about how to raise them properly.

Food And Water

Nigerian Dwarf Goats, like many other goats and farm animals, need a balanced diet of high-quality hay, grains, forage crops, and freshwater. The hay should be free from mold and other contaminants, providing essential protein and fiber for their digestive system. Offer a variety of grains, such as oats and barley, in moderation to supplement their diet.

Expect your Nigerian Dwarf Goats to eat around two to four pounds daily. One rule of thumb is to let your goats eat in 20-minute intervals. You’re likely overfeeding them if it takes them longer than 20 minutes to finish.

Of course, ensuring constant access to fresh and clean water is always essential for their overall health and well-being.

(Check out how we built an epic DIY hay feeder for our cattle. The supplies cost us under $60. And it was easy to make.)

Room To Rome And Forage Space

We suggest at least 150 square feet of outdoor space per goat. And the more space, the merrier! Nigerian Dwarf Goats are undeniably tiny. But they are surprisingly active and love to romp, explore, climb, and play. They also love to forage and browse herbs, grass, weeds, and native shrubs as a diet supplement. As such, Nigerian Dwarf Goats value pasture space and room to wander.

Shelter

Providing suitable shelter for Nigerian Dwarf Goats is essential, as it protects them from extreme weather conditions and predators. Their shelter should be cozy, well-ventilated, and spacious enough to accommodate the entire herd comfortably. 

Aim to offer approximately 10 square feet of shelter space per goat. Consider their small size and provide appropriate insulation for warmth during colder months. Cleanliness is also crucial, as maintaining a tidy environment helps prevent diseases and parasites.

Climate

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are adaptable to various climates but may require additional protection during harsh conditions. In colder regions, provide proper insulation and protection from drafts.

During hot weather, providing shade and ensuring an adequate water supply are essential to prevent dehydration and heat stress. Monitoring their overall well-being and making necessary environmental adjustments based on climate conditions is crucial to their health.

Related – Top 11 Miniature And Small Sheep Breeds For Small Farms And Homesteads

Nigerian Dwarf Goats – FAQs

Baby Nigerian Dwarf Goat staring at the camera and looking for lunch.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are one of the most majestic farmyard creatures. Raising them is somewhat straightforward, but many homesteaders encounter questions! So – we’ve answered a list of questions new Nigerian Dwarf ranchers might ask.

What Is The Nigerian Dwarf Goat’s Height Range?

The American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association (ANDDA) says the height of female mature Nigerian Dwarf Goats should not exceed 22.5 inches at the withers. Mature Male Nigerian Dwarf goats should be 23.5 inches or smaller at the withers. However, the real-world height of Nigerian Dwarf does is between 16 and 21 inches, while bucks are often around 23 inches. (Check their site for more details: https://www.andda.org/breed-standards.)

What Is The Ideal Weight For Nigerian Dwarf Goats?

The ideal weight for Nigerian Dwarf Goats is around 75 pounds. A mature buck will usually weigh from 60 to 80 pounds. Females will weigh somewhat less.

What Is the Milk Production Potential Of Nigerian Dwarf Goats?

Nigerian Dwarf Goats have the potential to give one to two quarts or two to four pounds of daily milk with a butterfat content of 6 to 10%.

Are Nigerian Dwarf Goats The Same As Pygmy Goats?

No, Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Pygmy goats are separate and distinct breeds.

What Is The Gestation Period Of Nigerian Dwarf Goats? 

The gestation period of Nigerian Dwarf Goats is approximately 150 days or five months.

Are Nigerian Dwarf Goats Suitable As Pets And Animal Projects For Children?

Yes! Nigerian Dwarf Goats are peaceful and lovable, making them great pets and animal projects for children. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are also relatively easy to care for, making them superb farmyard companions for small families.

What Are The Uses Of Nigerian Dwarf Goats?

Nigerian Dwarf Goats can be used as companions, show animals, and for small-scale milk production. Their milk is famously rich and is yummy in homemade butter, cream, cheese, fudge, and yogurt.

What Does My Nigerian Dwarf Goat Like To Eat?

Nigerian Dwarf Goats require a balanced diet – just like fully-sized goats. Include high-quality hay, grains, and freshwater. They also love to forage on weeds, shrubs, and herbs. Remember that goats can eat around three to four percent of their body weight in hay daily. That equates to two to three pounds of daily hay for a Nigerian Dwarf. But they might eat slightly more.

All about Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

Conclusion

Thanks so much for reading our Nigerian Dwarf Goat guide!

Nigerian Dwarfs are one of the most adorable goats for small ranches, homesteads, and farms.

We cherish Nigerian Dwarf Goats for their diminutive size and friendly temperament. Despite their small stature, these goats are robust milk producers, yielding sweet, high-butterfat milk that makes them valuable in small-scale dairy operations.

What about you? What is your Nigerian Dwarf Goat experience?

  • Have you ever seen a Nigerian Dwarf Goat in real life?
  • Would you ever raise a Nigerian Dwarf Goat?
  • Do you have any funny stories about your Nigerian Dwarf Goats?
  • Have you ever had Nigerian Dwarf Goat milk?
  • Do you agree that Nigerian Dwarfs have excellent personalities?

We love Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We happily await to hear from all like-minded ranchers, homesteaders, and advocates.

Thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

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Nigerian Dwarf Goats | Resources, Field Guides, And References:

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2 Comments

  1. At one point I thought about NDG, when they were a threatened heritage species. They have since made a huge comeback. I thought this might interest readers here, it is an 8 minute YouTube video of baby goats, not sure if they are ND, but they sure are cute! My daughter who has severe fibromyalgia as well as PTSD watches adorable animal videos and sends the funniest ones to me.
    https://youtu.be/iT1oRCNiuk0

    1. Hey Carol!

      I thank you and your daughter for the adorable video.

      These lovely little creatures put a smile on my face. Something much needed these days!

      (And it also has Swan Lake. Bonus!)

      😀

      Have an excellent day,

      Cordially,

      Mike

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