Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi everyone! My husband and I are planning on buying three Nigerian dwarfs next spring/summer. Right now we are trying to get our horse barn converted and pastures fenced for goats. We have had horses, dairy cows, chickens and rabbits but no goats. This is a first time adventure!  First, we live in SE Ohio between Athens and Parkersburg WV.  I would love to know if anyone lives near by with goats. Next, we hope to have enough goats to take care of the two of us providing milk, soap and cheese.  We need to tear down old barbwire fencing that was used when there were cows. I was wondering if people had a preference on fencing for rough terrain. We have mostly woods on our 60 acres with steep hills but also a few pastures surrounded by woods.  I am very worried about coyotes, too. Is there a fence that will keep them out? Does electric deter them?  Also, I was wondering if  acorns and nuts are dangerous to the goats? Of course our property is covered with them. Also, I was wondering how far away a buck needs to be from the does and what kind of fence and pasture you need for him. I guess that is a good start on the questions. Thanks for any advice in advance!

 

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Welcome, Sharon!  I know there are people in your area with these lovely goats!  I would recommend starting with two top quality does, get them already bred if you can, look for HIGH milk and a SUPERIOR buck they are bred to and then keep does if you want to grow your herd.  The first year your milk will probably average 1/2 gallon per day between the two of them in all milkings.  At least that is the case around here.  For high milk, I recommend Chenango Hills in NY, Dawnland in NH or Rosasharn in MA.  Also Edigio Farm in FL, I think, has high milkers.  I'm sure there are others I am not aware of or not thinking of at the moment.  I have done quite a bit of research on high milkers, so let me know if you want specific goat names. =) I just bought a buck whose dam is at Edigio and it says on their website that she gives almost a gallon!  That's what I'm looking for!  That is definitely the exception with this breed, but you can find it if you search hard enough.

 The only fence that I know of that will keep animals OUT is electric.  You are probably best off getting a guard animal, such as a guard dog, llama or donkey that will stay with your goats.  

I have my bucks fence touching the doe fence and it has never been a problem.  The fence is very sturdy.  I also keep my does WITH my bucks during breeding season and continue milking them and the smell does NOT get in the milk, contrary to what I have read.  

I will let others answer your feed questions because that is something I am still perfecting.

Welcome to the group!

Welcome to the group!!

I agree with Chaverah about buying already bred does. If you can, get does in milk that have been bred. Even BETTER!! :)

I have two bucks, and they live on a shared fence with my girls, but I don't like the set up. Unless your fence is VERY sturdy, it's risky to have them so close. Eventually, I will "double" the fence line, and put up a strand of electric on the boy's side to keep them from pushing against the fence trying to get to the girls.

I have a livestock guardian dog in with my goats to keep our predators at bay. That, and the tall fence help. In my area, we have bear, cougar, and coyote. There have been two cougars killed just across the street from me, and my goats weren't harmed. I'm sure it's because of my LGD.

Hi and welcome to the group! I am fairly new to this as I've had my wonderful goats since spring but in addition to my first doelings I got a bred doe who kidded this summer and my herd is growing fast! I have 6 wire electric fencing around the perimeter and it definitely works to keep out the coyotes as I've seen them come down the fence line looking for a way in. My goats all respect the fence too. Between the bucks and the does I have cattle panels (16' with wood posts) AND the boys side has 2 hot wires of electric about a foot off the fence. It works very well. The girls all rub up against the fence enticing the boys when they're in heat but the buck in rut can't do anything but spit and moan (haha!). Sometimes he gets so excited he stretches his neck against the wire trying to kiss the girls but then he can't take the pain of the shock and he'll jump away. 

I started this process last year at this time and had so much to learn! Since I've had them, I realize i will be learning new things every single day! Every goat and situation is different! It's a great adventure and I'm really loving it! I recommend you get Deborah's book -- there's a wealth of information in there! I had my goats 6 months before it came out and I'm so grateful to have it now. Welcome to the wonderful world of NDGs!

Welcome! We're in Illinois, so you're only two states away. You might consider attending the Mid-America Homesteading Conference and/or National Goat Expo next year. Both will be in Illinois.

If you want to buy NDs for milk, be sure to buy from someone who milks. As they have become more popular, many sad little milkers are being bred for their blue eyes or spots or whatever pet qualities people want. Some have a hard time making enough milk to feed two kids, which means less than a quart a day at their peak. Look for goats that milk 2-3 quarts a day at their peak. Those goats will maintain a quart a day for several months, which is what Chaverah Farm is talking about. If you have a goat that peaks at a quart, you'll be getting two cups a day by the third or fourth month of lactation, which is not good. Of course, first fresheners milk less than senior does, so keep that in mind when shopping.

Fencing (and everything else) is discussed at length in Raising Goats Naturally, linked in the sidebar ------>

but the short answer is that woven wire is good for larger areas. I don't like to have bucks and does share a fenceline because of the risk of bucks getting in with the does. I actually need to have DNA testing done on a doe that was born this year because of that very problem -- doe in heat, and three bucks found a hole in the fence. Some bucks can also jump fences. Many years ago we had a buck jump the fence and breed his own mother. Those kids were all sold as pets because each had their own various problems. I do still wind up with bucks and does sharing a fence sometimes, but I don't like it. I prefer using livestock panels for bucks because they're taller and stiffer, so even when you do have to share a fenceline, they can't breed through the fence, and it's harder to jump. Some people have had bucks breed does through woven wire because it is stretchy. It hasn't happened here, but I did see a buck come within about an inch of succeeding.

My goats completely ignore our acorns and hickory nuts, but I've heard some people say that their goats love them.

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