Q: Are Nigerian Dwarf milk goats the same as Pygmy goats?
No, Nigerians and Pygmies are different breeds. They may have ancestors in common but they have developed into different breeds. Pygmies are generally a shorter (16"-22"), more compact goat with short, thick leg bones. Nigerians are bred to look like and have the same qualities as the larger breeds of milk goats, so they will typically be taller (18"-21-1/2" standard), longer-bodied and more refined than Pygmies, and valued for their mammary systems. Pygmies are not bred for their milking abilities. Nigerians show a variety of colors, whereas Pygmy colors are more limited. Even so, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to differentiate between some Pygmy and Nigerian individuals. Both breeds make good pets.
Q: What makes Nigerians such good pets?
Their size makes them easy to handle even for children, and it's unlikely you'll go broke fencing and feeding a few Nigerians. As much as anything, they are entertaining and can be ever so loving. Nigerians by nature usually have pleasant temperaments. Goat kids live in pure joy, jumping, twisting, playing with each other. Each goat as kids and as adults has its own personality. They can be much like dogs - enjoy attention, being petted and scratched, will follow you around and want to be with you everywhere. It's easy to spoil them when they are kids because they're so darn cute. Spoiling them too much, however, creates a noisy, needy goat, so a person has to be careful about setting boundaries. Ask us how we know! Nigerians make good life projects, teaching children responsibility, respect and care, as well as providing success in the show ring.
Q: Don't goats jump on cars?
We've only had two goats that thought it was okay to jump on cars when they were out browsing. After finding out it wasn't okay, they didn't try it again - UNLESS the car was parked under a tree and by jumping on the car they could reach the tasty leaves. Goats will do whatever they can do to reach leaves, including climbing on each other.
Q: How does goat milk compare in taste to cow's milk?
Before we got goats, I anticipated the taste of the milk would be similar to licking the barnyard. Not so! However, the taste varies from breed to breed, what they eat, and sometimes by the time of the year. Nigerian Dwarf goat milk tastes sweet because it has a higher butterfat content than cow and other goat milk. One buyer of our goats said it's like drinking dessert. Most say they can't tell the difference between the taste of cow's milk and goat milk. When the milk is cold, I can't taste the goat in the goat milk but am now able to taste the cow in cow's milk. We drink the milk raw (unpasteurized) for the health benefits lost in pasteurizing.
Q: Is it true people allergic to cow's milk might be able to drink goat milk without problems?
We have found this to be true. The structure of the milk protein differs between cows and goats, making goat milk easier to digest and less likely to react to an allergy. That same protein is also what makes goat cheese so thick and creamy.
Q: Why does the website have photos of udders for most of the does?
LOL - I had the same question when I was new to goats and browsing sites. The reason we put photos of udders with the does and sometimes with the bucks is because buyers are generally most interested in the mammary system of the goats. What we breeders look for includes how well the udder is attached, size, capacity, and size of teats, to name a few things. Udders are genetic so we want to make sure we buy the best promise of a good mammary system we can afford. Obviously there are other considerations but udders are important in milk goats.
Q: Why do all our goats have names?
We register our goats with three different national goat registries, so they have to be named. Plus - who wants an unnamed pet! Goats sold for meat, much like cattle, don't usually have names if they're going to market but that's not how it works with dairy goats. Some goats actually know they're names and come when called.
Q: Do goats have horns?
Yes, most Nigerian goats grow horns but to be eligible to be shown - and for safety reasons - most breeders burn the horn buds when the kids are 1-4 weeks old. A special tool is used to burn the buds. It is definitely one of the most unpleasant jobs of raising goats - but it has to be done. A few goats are polled, which means they genetically don't have horns, but the majority are not polled. Darn it!
Q: How many different breeds of goats are there?
I don't know. There are a lot. Basically there are two types of goats - meat goats and dairy goats. Meat goats are intended to grow fast and put on lots of weight. Milk goats are bred to make milk not so much meat but can be used for meat. The Nigerian is the smallest breed of dairy goats, as seen in this photo (Nigerian is second from the end):
Consult the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) website to learn more about dairy goats.
Come back soon, many more FAQs to be posted. Or, if you have a question, contact us!