Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi! 

We are planning on purchasing 2 does and I want to make sure we are prepared with everything we need. We have 11 acres of overgrown pasture and plan on using a premier one movable fence to rotate them on the pasture. With so much food available for them outside, do I need to give them alfalfa also? Or can I just give them grain and minerals? We are planning on milking them.

I am also wondering if I need to bring them in to the barn at night or can I leave them out in the pasture as long as they have shelter from the rain? If so, what would be a good shelter we could incorporate with the electronet? We live in the south and have very mild winters. 

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Hi Jenny!
Alfalfa and grain are typically reserved for goats that are in milk, with the exception of introducing alfalfa during the last 1-2 months of a doe’s pregnancy. Feeding these very rich items to a dry doe, will cause them to gain unnecessary weight :)
A dry doe should do fine on pasture/browse and a good quality grass hay along with loose minerals.

You mention that you are planning on milking them. Are they coming to you bred or are they already in milk?
As far as bringing them in at night- if you have the ability to put them in the barn at night, that would be my first choice. They will be protected from predators and also from inclement weather. Goats really do not like to get wet :)

Here is a great resource for new goat owners-
Thank you for your reply, Tammy! These will be does in milk. So we will need to supplement their forage with alfalfa and grain, correct? Their forage alone would not provide enough nutrients? Could you give me an idea of how much we would need to feed them a day? Just trying to get an idea of what we will be spending each month!

Here is more info on what goats eat -- 

https://thriftyhomesteader.com/what-do-goats-eat-it-depends/

Does in milk need a goat feed like Purina Goat Feed -- yes, that is the name. Their other goat feeds (like Show Goat, etc) do not have enough copper. Purina Goat Feed has about 35-40 ppm copper. 

They also need a good goat-specific mineral (not all livestock and NOT "sheep and goat").

https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goat-minerals/

Thank you!
A good basic starting point with grain for does in milk is 1# of grain to every 3# of milk produced. I mix alfalfa pellets with dairy grain for my girls while on the milk stand because they are little piggies!!! As they begin to produce less milk, I increase the ratio of alfalfa pellets to grain pellets, especially if I have bred them. Too much grain can grow babies that are too big and create problems with kidding.
Thank you! That will help me in planning our budget :)

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