Nigerian Dwarf goats
We started with Saanen goats for the wholesome milk. Panama, Pritty and Hopper were good producers for my family needs. They milked two years at a time so we didn’t need to breed often. Along the way though I decided that going smaller might be better since anytime the goats decided not to move they won, considering they weighed more than me. And if they moved quickly, through me was just as easy for them as going around.
So we considered mini Saanens. When a friend had to sell her goats we bought her Saanen x Nigerian Dwarf doe, her kid, added the ND buck, and when we saw Dora, one of her Nigerians, bought her too. Who could resist all that cuteness!
Time goes on and while the crosses are very nice they produce far too much milk for just my husband and me. The children have either moved out permanently or are gone at college most of the year.
So we decided to go with the Nigerian Dwarf goats. Easier for me to handle by myself and producing less fluid milk for drinking but a rich thick yogurt.
The search has been on for bloodlines that are easy to milk.
Unfortunately a lot of NDs have been bred to be pets not dairy animals. After all, they are cute! So when you ask about production the breeders have no idea how much they produce or if you can even hand milk them.
Once you have tried hand milking a goat with tiny teats that allow only two fingers for milking you will become much more interested in the does that are proven to be easy to hand milk. My goal is milk for my family. In order to get that milk we need to breed the does, which of course results in new kids. At least 50 percent of those kids are females which can be milked. My secondary goal then becomes producing kids that will be productive, easy to milk does that will either continue to live at my farm or bless someone else’s family.
I believe that Nigerian Dwarf goats fit the bill for a family homestead goat for a lot of people. Standard goats are wonderful but they produce too much milk for some people and are too difficult to handle. The ND is a nice fit for a younger child to work with, less intimidating. And the milk they produce is unique, producing a wonderful yogurt.