Nigerians Dwarfs are highly social, gentle animals that have a very easy temperament. They are very loving, energetic and playful, They are normally found in a group called a herd. When a goat is separated from the herd they become very vocal and stressed. For that reason you must purchase at least two unless one is to be purchased as a companion for another animal.
A single goat will be miserable and will most likely make you a miserable goat owner.
The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed originating in West Africa and developed in the US. The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it the appearance of the larger breeds of dairy goats, but the does stand no more than 22.5” and the bucks no more than 23.5” at the withers. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable. The medium length ears are erect and alert. The face is either straight or dished, and the hair is short and fine. *credit ADGA
Nigerian Dwarf goats can breed year around and go into heat or estrus cycles approximately every 21-28 days which will last for an average of 1-3 days. During this time she will "stand" for the buck and can become pregnant.
Some Signs of Heat
1, The doe will become more vocal.
Usually goats are fairly quite animals but when in heat they can become really loud sometimes even grunting similar to a buck.
2. The doe will urinate more often.
Goats urinate a lot under normal circumstances but when in heat they will urinate more frequently. During heat their urine contains pheromones which let the bucks know they're ready for mating.
3. Tail Wagging.
The doe will wag her tail back and forth very quickly. This is call "flagging" and is a sure sign of heat.
4. Vaginal Discharge.
A doe in heat will sometimes have a wet or sticky tale that is caused from a clear vaginal discharge.
5. Standing for the Buck.
A doe that is not in estrus will not stand and let a buck mount her. She will run away from him. When in heat however, she will allow him to mount her.
6. Changes in Behavior.
Besides the already mentioned behavior, does in heat may have other personality changes. Many will become more aggressive toward the other does in their enclosure. Many times they will stand by the fence closest to the bucks and call out to them.
7. Bucks will be Bucks.
When a buck sees the visual signs the doe is presenting and smells the pheromones in her urine they will start acting like bucks. They will paw at the ground, fight one another, make very vocal grunting and babbling sounds, and urinate on their beard and face. The smellier they are the more the doe's like it!
The gestation period for a doe is approximately 145-153 days. Nigerians Dwarfs are a heathy breed which seldom have kidding problems. Does can be bred at seven to eight months of age if they have reached a good size. We tend to wait until they are about a year old and weigh about 50 pounds. Most are excellent mothers and can have several kids at a time with triplets and quads being common.
Bucklings have been known to breed as young as seven weeks old so watch out!! They should be separated from the does at this age. Bucks are ready to be used for service as young as three months old, and easily by seven months.
Colors and Patterns
Nigerians don't have a standard color pattern as some goats do. Their colors and patterns vary greatly from animal to animal which is one characteristic that makes the breed so popular.
Color patterns include: Buckskin, Cou Clair, Cou Blanc, Solid, Roan, Chamoisee, Pinto, Swiss marked, Moon Spots, and Frosted.
Colors include: Black, Brown, Chocolate, Cream, Gold, Grey, Red, and White.
Nigerians can have either brown or blue eyes. The blue eye gene is dominate so at least one of the parents have to have blue eyes in order to pass it on to their offspring. Also, the Nigerian Dwarf is the only pure bred dairy goat to have blue eyes.
The Nigerian's small stature means they don't require large areas for accommodations. Their housing can be simple and only needs to be draft free and keep them dry since they hate to get wet. It shouldn't be airtight though as ventilation is a must for proper health.
The housing should provide each goat with about 15 square feet of space.
Nigerians are surprisingly good milkers for their size. While the amount of milk given daily varies greatly from doe to doe, the average doe will produce one to two quarts of milk a day. They have the highest butter fat content of all the dairy goats at about 6%.
Since butterfat is what gives milk its sweet flavor, it’s the sweetest, best tasting milk of all the dairy goat breeds The Nigerians also rank highest in protein content at about 4.4%.
Nigerian Dwarfs live between 10-15 years or about the same as a dog.