Mrs.Carolyn Lillard

I have kept  standard size dairy goats on and off for years. I recently sold my goats and am interested in changing over to the pygmies with making cheese and having milk for home use as well as having them as pets. I like the idea of being able to stagger breeding/kidding dates which seems to be possible with the pygmies. Any tips on differences in their housing/ care, etc. would be appreciated. What kind of fencing works best for them as they are very small. Where is the best place to purchase them and what should I expect to pay for an animal suitable for my purposes?

Thanks for your help. I am an older person who loves animals and enjoys caring for them.

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  • If you milked your Alpines, then you probably know that there is a curve on their lactation. They peak around 6-8 weeks and gradually go down after that. At their peak, some of my does produce 4+ pounds a day (half gallon), which gradually decreases to a couple pounds a day for several months (a quart). Six pounds a day is really outstanding. I've never had a goat produce that much yet, but I'm hoping to get there. I have a buck whose mother was #1 in milk one year and on the Top Ten list for three years, and I just bought another buck whose dam and sister have excellent milk records.

    The blue eyes are something that pet breeders tend to emphasize, because they're not that common, and they're pretty. You have to be careful when buying blue eyed goats though, because people don't tend to cull blue eyes as severely as they cull brown eyed goats, so there are a lot of poor quality blue-eyed goats out there.

    Don't get too excited about polled though. Some people act like a polled goat is diseased, because they think they're going to throw hermaphrodites, which is incorrect, but they read something online and refuse to believe anything else. I've had a few people specifically refuse to buy polled goats for that reason. Personally, I love polled goats, and I don't know anyone who's ever had a hermaphrodite, so it's obviously not that common.

    And you can definitely get color with good milking lines. My best milking line is also my most colorful. I just got lucky with that one!

    Carolyn Lillard said:
    Thank you for your input. I am located in northern middle Tennessee an hour west of Nashville (Erin, Houston County). We have five acres and a three stall barn that was built for our American Alpines. The barn should be fine for the Nigerian dwarf goats. I assume that having Nigeria as their country of origin they will do well with our hot summers. How much milk can I expect from the Nigerian dwarfs; i have seen quotes from 1 to 3 quarts? Do you recommend any breeders who will will have good dairy bloodlines within driving distance? There seems to be an emphasis on blue eyes as a sales point. Is this just a "fad" in the breed? As a former fan/breeder of Appaloosa horses
    I also appreciate "loud color"; is it possible to get color and milk production in the same bloodlines? Thank you so much for your advice.
  • Hey, you're pretty close to me! I live in Tipton County, Tennessee. My goats did the best in the horrible heat we had this summer out of all of my animals, and seem to be the least affected. I did change their water frequently, but otherwise they seemed nearly unaffected, other than lazing around under the shade more during the hot parts of the day.

    The blue eyes are really just for looks. A lot of people do up the price a bit for a blue eyed animal, because they are more rare, but it is entirely aesthetic. Polled will also up the price a little bit, but that is something to be desired because it means you don't have to disbud that kid. (You're not supposed to breed polled to polled, though.) It is totally possibly to get a lovely color on a good quality animal! =]

    I do know of a few local breeders (including myself, but I don't have the numbers as some of the others because I've only started in 2008). You can email me if you'd like their information (themuffinwoman @ aol.com), or send me a private message here. (I'm sure they wouldn't mind, but I feel awkward posting someone else's information on a public forum.)
  • Thank you for your input. I am located in northern middle Tennessee an hour west of Nashville (Erin, Houston County). We have five acres and a three stall barn that was built for our American Alpines. The barn should be fine for the Nigerian dwarf goats. I assume that having Nigeria as their country of origin they will do well with our hot summers. How much milk can I expect from the Nigerian dwarfs; i have seen quotes from 1 to 3 quarts? Do you recommend any breeders who will will have good dairy bloodlines within driving distance? There seems to be an emphasis on blue eyes as a sales point. Is this just a "fad" in the breed? As a former fan/breeder of Appaloosa horses
    I also appreciate "loud color"; is it possible to get color and milk production in the same bloodlines? Thank you so much for your advice.
  • Welcome to the group! If you want dairy goats, you want Nigerian dwarf goats, not pygmies. Pygmies were originally a meat goat, although a few people bred them for dairy year ago. Today pygmies are mostly bred for pets, so their milking potential is severely limited, because no one is breeding for milk production, teat size, personality, will to milk, and all those things that are important in dairy goats.

    There is tons of info in the archives here about housing, fencing, and general care. If you want milk goats, I'd suggest you buy from someone who milks their goats. Not everyone does, and as NDs get more popular, some people are breeding them strictly as pets, so it would be hit or miss as far as getting a good milker from a pet breeder. Does with good milking pedigrees start at $300. Where are you located?
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