Nigerian Dwarf Goats-General Care
As with all goats, Nigerian Dwarf goats don't require much in the way of care. They can thrive with simple housing, fresh water, and a balanced goat feed. Providing them with plenty of room to graze on good grass and brush also makes for a better herd. We keep a small herd of registered ND goats on our farm here in West Georgia. We manage our small property by cross fencing and rotating the herd. Temporary feedlots built with wire panels also help in the winter.
These goats are pretty small when grown, about 18-21 inches at the shoulder. They are easy to tame and great around kids. We can walk up and pet all of our goats without any special attention other than routine feeding. They are nice for a small farm as they stay small and docile.
Nigerians are a dairy breed, and can produce large amounts of good milk. This can be used to make a variety of consumer items such as cheese, soap, and candles. We recommend this breed to anyone interested in getting a goat. We suggest visiting the NDGA website for recommended breeders in your area.
Housing and Fencing
When planning housing for your goats, your local climate should be considered. Here in the South a three sided shed with a good roof is fine with our mild winters, but your region may require a more insulated structure. Anything from a large doghouse to a small shed should do the trick depending on your needs. The housing should provide enough room for your goats to move about comfortably, and they seem to love being up off the ground. One important thing to remember when dealing with goats is that they are very curious and will nibble on everything. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! Make sure you don't leave anything exposed or loose that you don't want to be nibbled, or that could harm your goats if nibbled. I think that their nibbling habit is why some people believe they will eat anything, like tin cans! Not true, by the way, they seem to harmlessly nibble at everything while only really eating mostly feed and plants.
Fencing can be a little frustrating to the novice farmer, but with a little research and practice, you will be running miles of fence in no time. There are too many choices and methods of fencing to cover here, but I can provide a few tips specifically for goats:
1. Make your fence extra sturdy....goats love nothing more than ram, jump on, and rub their sides against the fence, if it is not strong enough they will not stop until they knock it down.
2. Use locking gates with extra safety clips....goats are notorious escape artists, I have personally had countless "latched" gates be opened by a smart goat and let the entire herd out, you should have two latches on all gates.
3. Goats will eat or destroy anything inside the fence....never fence in plants or trees that you want to keep, goats will eat any plant they can reach....and they love to climb, rub, and hoof beat everything they don't eat.
4. Check your pastures for toxic plants....when you build your new fence, be sure to check and remove any plants that might be poisonous to your herd, a list of toxic plants can be found at the link below.
Plants that are Toxic to Goats
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If you plan to breed registered goats of any type, be sure to buy stock from a reputable breeder. There are many goat breeder associations on the net you can use to find a good breeder. Visit as many as you can and take your time choosing breeding stock. You may want to go to a goat show and view some of the best, but do not buy goats at a show. You can make some good contacts and visit the farm to view breeding stock before any purchase. Visiting the farm will give you a great opportunity to assess farm maintenance, management practices, and general overall conditions at the farm. A clean, well managed farm normally has a healthy, well maintained herd.
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