The Nigerian dwarf is a miniature goat from West Africa. It has been domesticated as a dairy goat and can be found throughout the world. Goats are herbivores.
Nigerian goat behavior and facts
- Goats are browsers, eating tips of woody shrubs and trees. They often improve a pasture by removing blackberry, weedy undergrowth and ivy (even poison ivy and poison oak) that other livestock won’t eat.
- A doe can produce up to two quarts per day of milk that is higher in butterfat (6 to 10 percent) and protein than milk from most dairy goat breeds.
- patterned and other combinations are possible.
From birth to death
- Breed: year round
- Gestation: 145 to 153 days
- Kids: 3 to 4, each 2 pounds at birth
- Sexual maturity: 3 months for males; 7 to 8 months for females
- Lifespan: 15 years
- Females: 22.5 inches at the withers; males: 23.5 inches at the withers
- Ideal weight: 75 pounds
Nigerian goats are considered rare by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the Nigerian dwarf goat as a livestock dairy goat, which makes the breed eligible for youth 4H and FFA projects.
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.: 399 : 35 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.: 33 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.