Here are some of the many reasons I think Nigerian Dwarf Goats are one of the greatest milk animals, and one the best breeds of goat!
1. Their milk doesn’t taste goaty. No really! When we got our goats, I had no intention of drinking their milk, it was for our kids who have been raised on goats milk (I’ve never liked it.) Then we got our goat and of course I had to taste the milk and was surprised to find that it tasted JUST LIKE COW’S MILK, ONLY BETTER! I’ve never been much of a milk drinker, but I LOVE our goats milk – and so does my husband! We’ve had to adjust our personal milk needs because Jon and I are drinking it, too! If you were wondering why Nigerian milk tastes better than any other breed of goats milk, it has to do with butterfat. Nigerian goat milk is higher in butterfat than milk from any other goat breed and butterfat is what gives milk a sweet taste (this is one of the reasons Jersey cow milk tastes so good!)
2. They produce 1-2 quarts a day, which is the perfect amount for most families. Of course, for our family of nine, we could have easily used the milk from a standard goat, but most families don’t need a gallon of milk every day! And if, like us, you do need more milk, it costs the same to keep 3 dwarf goats as to keep one standard goat, so if your goats are producing well, you could end up with MORE milk from 2-3 Nigerians than one standard goat (make sure to get a goat from good milking lines, because production amounts vary GREATLY among Nigerians.)
3. They require much less room than standard sized goats. You can easily keep 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats on half an acre and with proper management, you can keep many more!
4. They’re super easy to house. Before we got our goats, we heard horror stories about how difficult they were to fence. We haven’t found this to be the case with Nigerian’s at all! Our goats are kept in a combination of cattle panel and chain link fence and several of them are pastured with electric net fence. We also know breeders who keep their Nigerians in with five strand electric fence and others who use woven wire and have no problems.
5. They’re the perfect size for children. Some of our goats had never been leash trained before we got them, and they were pretty unruly on a leash! Thankfully, their small size made them easy to handle even for our 6 year old.
6. They have GREAT personalities. Many people keep Nigerian dwarf goats as pets (some even keep them in the house!) They love to be around people, love to have their heads and necks scratched and petted, and are adorable to watch out in the yard. We have several who jump up on us like puppies when they want attention (not necessarily something you’d want to encourage them to do, but their small size makes it okay!) Even our first buck, who was wild when we got him, has become semi-leash trained and fairly easy to catch.
7. They’re easy to transport. We don’t have a livestock trailer and haven’t yet needed one. Even when we have to haul them all together, we just load them up in dog crates and cart them around in the back of our fifteen passenger van.
8. Unlike their larger counterparts, they cycle year-round, so you can stagger breeding to have a continuous supply of milk!