Because they are FUN, hardy, intelligent, inquisitive, easy to care for, useful and very addictive! They are helpful for cleaning up weeds and brush, produce a large amount of milk for their size and can also help fertilize (I’m not going to mention the meat aspect). Miniature goats are highly trainable and are frequently used as therapeutic visitors in hospitals and nursing homes.
How are they with Children?
So children and miniature goats are a wonderful combination. These guys are the perfect size so the children are not intimidated or hurt by them. They make great 4-H and FFA projects and are just fun! My children LOVE the goats and spend lots of time with them. It is a great way for them to learn responsibility, learn about animals and care and gets them outside and active. There are several rules that I try to enforce at all times to keep everyone safe.
- No picking up the kids except with supervision. This is important so that they do not get dropped or broken!
- Be nice to the goats-no squeezing, choking or other rough play. Goes back to respecting the animals.
- No going in with the goats without Supervision. My goats are very friendly but they are still animals and especially small children can still be hurt by them, even if the goats don’t mean to hurt them.
Why do I want a registered goat? Is a goat not just a goat?
My favorite saying is it costs as much to raise a nice registered goat as a non-registered goat. There is value to registered goats, one is the overall value of the animal is usually worth more (except for wethers, castrated males) they can have genetics, production records and conformation records if a herd has participated in the programs. The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) has set up performance programs so there are statistics if a herd does milk testing or linear appraisals (conformation evaluations). Go to our Performance Page
What’s the difference between a Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy goat?
Nigerian dwarfs' appearances should be very similar to that of a full-size dairy goat. They were bred for milk and come in ALL different colors.
Where do I start and how hard are they really to take care of?
Well, you have already started because you are reading through this and I'm sure other sites. Doing research is the first step to owning goats. Next is proper shelter, fencing and protection. Once these are set up and you are ready to start looking think about what you want and why. I choose the Nigerian Dwarf because I like their size, personality and they have a purpose (milk). There are many breeders and finding the right one is important for the health of your herd.
Thinks to look for is that they answer questions, do regular herd testing and their goats look healthy. Socialization is a big key, especially for a pet. Ask the breeder about their personality and handling. Some breeders automatically have bottle babies which is more work to begin with, while others have little to no socialization. So asking the right questions and learning how to care for them is your main concern. Also, find a good goat vet before you buy! If you go look at babies, you are going to bring them home with you, so research and talk ahead of time!
Overall they are pretty easy and fun to have around!
So what do they really cost?
This is always the question I ask and never can find a good number for. The initial cost per goat is usually $400-$700 for a doe. A wether can usually be found for $100-$150. Depends on what you want and why you want them!
Below I averaged out what I spent in a year for the goats. Note that at some point it really does not cost that much more when you add one to your herd. Also, if you have a lot less (like 2) than these numbers can often times go way down or up. For the goats I did not average in veterinary care. To compare I put my approximate costs on my dogs along with my senior horse, he is eating quite a bit. All these costs should be about average but I did round up instead of down. You need to do your own budget when looking at obtaining an animal. Everyone cares for their animals differently!
Can they be kept with other livestock?
Answer is: It depends! I personally prefer to keep species separate if possible. The main trick is that at feeding time it can get a little hectic. Goats can be very obnoxious when it involves food and other animals can become quite defensive of their food. This can mean hurt animals and hurt people!
It also depends on the individual animals. I have kept goats, horses and donkeys together, but I would not recommend it. I have 2 miniature donkeys and a horse that are just fine with them, but I have 1 miniature donkey and a miniature horse that would hurt the goats and I would never put them together. I did have alpacas for a short amount of time and they seemed fine together. Many people do different things and it depends on your herd and your set up. Use common sense and keep them apart if you can!
Are those goats shaved? Why would you do that?
Yes many times goats are shaved down. Seems crazy at first, I thought so too! Goats are shaved for several different reasons. First is shows. This shows off their conformation is better for the judges and they are presented in a clean fashion. Next is because of heat, getting the hair off eliminates the excess heat of the coat. Also, if milking, the hair does not get into the milk.
Goats do not have to be shaved, but many times it is easier. It is a more sanitary way of milking and I like the look.
I have learned (the hard way) not to shave until they are about 6 months old, unless you are showing (or better at clipping then me). They are much harder to shave as babies and until your really good at it, it looks really rough!
For several years I used an Oster A5 with a 10 Wide blade and a 40 blade for utters. Some people will shave their utters with a razor, I have not attempted this yet!
I finally bit the bullet and bought the big guns! The Oster Showmaster has been a very good clipper and it takes very little time to shave the body and legs of the goat. I still use the A5 for face and clean up.
Not the best example of shaving but have gotten better since then!
Why do you color their ears green?
Registration, Herd names and Tattoo
There are three different ways to register a goat. The parent's must first be registered. The American Dairy Goat Associate (ADGA) and the American Goat Sociey (AGS) have the same regulations for the breed and can be registered with either if the parent's are registered. So if you want a registered goat it should be with ADGS or AGS.
Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association (NDGA) is another registry that does not have the same regulations as the other two. I have my herd registered with the ADGA and do not find it to be beneficially to register with all three registrations. I choose the ADGA because if I do decide to show, there are more shows available in my area sanctioned by the ADGA. The AGA does have lower registration costs, so that is something to consider.
Herd names first must be registered with the ADGA or AGS. It is better to register your herd name for both. The ADGA has a fee of around $15 for registering your herd name. So first you need to be an ADGA member, then register your herd name. For the smaller fee it stays your herd name as long as you are an ADGA member. Important facts about this is when registering a goat you only have 30 characters on the whole name. For example, I did Country Sweet as my herd name which takes up 13 characters (spaces count as characters). This leaves 17 characters for the name of the goat. If I had used Country Sweet Farm it would have been 18 character's so the name of the goat could only be 12 characters long.
I find it important to choose a herd name and register the herd name. I have had a couple does that I have bought that they thought they had registered their herd name but did not take the extra step to register their herd. It is can be very difficult to register them and all of those goats names start with "The". "The" indicates that there is no herd name registered.
Tattoos are done on every registered animal usually by the breeder. They are done in green ink (so if you see babies with green ears that is why!) and have the tattoo herd name and letters/numbers. You have to register your herd tattoo to and be placed in the appropriate ears. There are some that tattoo at the tail. My herd tattoo sequence is CSFN and this is placed in the right ear. In the left ear there is a letter that represents each year. Such as in 2015 the letter is F. There are a couple letters that are not used such as G, I, O, Q or U. These letters could be confused with other letters and are skipped. After the F is the sequence of birth orders 1, 2, 3...
The right and left ears are determined by standing behind the goat and looking forward.
Goats Head (first kid born):
Left Ear: F1 Right Ear: CSFN
Goats Head (second kid born):
Left Ear: F2 Right Ear: CSFN
Why are their circles on babies heads or silver places?
The circles on the babies heads are from where the babies are dehorned. They are burned off and some people place a silver medication on the area. It is important for dairy goats not to have horns. Horns can be dangerous especially while trying to milk.
Exposed? What have they been exposed to?!
Exposed simply means that they have been in with a buck. They have the potential to be pregnant, but it is not guaranteed. Most breeders will not guarantee a pregnancy. The pregnancy can be confirmed through ultrasound or blood testing.
Another thing is that there are sometimes two bucks listed. This means that they were in with one buck for a certain amount of time and then were put in with another buck. Example is Buck 1 for October/November or Buck 2 for December/January. This means if the doe kids in October that the sire is Buck 1, if they kid in January the sire is Buck 2. Many times this is also call a "back up breeding".
Why does everyone take pictures of the goats rear end?
The Nigerian Dwarf is a dairy goat so the udder is very important to evaluate. Often times you see an utter picture so that the udder is evaluated for attachment. See more on the Ideal Dairy Goat page!
Ready to find out more?
Check out our herd management page for more information and answers to questions!