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Basic Feeding Techniques

We are currently looking for high resolution pictures of any of the breeds. Please mail your original copies with our email form animal-science-mail-form Please provide a description of this breed as well NOTE: The form can also be used for Comments, Suggestions, and Corrections. All rights reserved.

Division Home. Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science. Navigation Home. It's conformation is similar to that of the larger dairy goat breeds. The parts of the body are in balanced proportion. The nose is straight. The ears are upright. The coat is soft with short to medium hair. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable, though silver agouti roan is considered a moderate fault.

Gold and White doe Dwarf goats are gentle and loveable. Black and White dalmatian patterned doe New born kids average about 2 lbs. Dwarf bucks are vigorous breeders but are gentle enough to be used for hand breeding or pasture breeding. Both methods are used successfully. After reading this book you will be an expert on Nigerian Dwarf Goats! Taylor David covers all aspects of keeping Nigerian Dwarf Goats, including their recent popularity as backyard pets within homesteading communities.

The book is full of sound advice and answers to your questions on goat management. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Sweep any loose debris you can to acquire a clean surface again. Clean well with plenty of water and soap. A mild low sudsing detergent is an excellent wash. Dirt Floors - rake all debris from dirt. If possible turn dirt in the heavily soiled areas to bring up fresh dirt.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101: Getting Started

Dust turned dirt with PDZ or lime livestock grade and rake in to freshly turned dirt. Wood Floors - scrape off with shovel any embedded manure. If your wood floors are hard enough to withstand water cleansing, use a mild, low-sudsing detergent periodically to deodorize. The use of lime livestock grade also helps to neutralize the effects of manure on any surface. This should be used liberally before bedding is replaced.

Mixed well in turned dirt floors helps to keep the ground from souring. It can also be applied to solid floors to help deodorize. Lime livestock grade can also be used in areas of pasture where your goats tend to congregate the most, causing manure to sour. As stated earlier, we prefer Sweet PDZ. This product works the same as Lime livestock grade. PDZ has an added benefit of sweetening the area and more importantly, actually absorbs the moisture from urine.

Proper bedding for your goats should be taken into consideration to ensure great results from all your hard work cleaning. The use of wood shavings or cedar chips on top of PDZ works well to absorb urine and keep goats dry. Put down a good layer of chips before straw bedding. Straw or inexpensive hay can be used as top bedding. Make sure it is still of good quaility, being mold and disease-free. Your goats will see their bedding as food and will nibble or eat it, so care should be taken in what you spread down for bedding.

Initial bedding should be at least 10 thick fluffed inches. Goats will tramp this down rather quickly and more bedding should be added as needed to provide sufficient covering of floor. Periodically add bedding to keep area dry for goats to lay in. During cold winter months, this bedding could get quite thick and compact. Clean as gases builds up. Cobb webs. As a note of interest, cobwebs show that your barn is "healthy" and adequately ventilated. Webs can also be used as an emergency bloodstop. So don't be so quick in eliminating all of them from your barn, you may never know when you may need them for a cut.

Purchasing Some food for thought when buying your goats. Following is a brief comparison of what separates a reputable breeder from a "backyard" breeder. A "backyard" breeder: Sells their goats in an "as-is" condition. Has a used car sales mentality. Can't or won't help if problems or questions arise. Is not concerned for improving the breed - has a "Puppy-Mill" breeding program. Does not disbud or vet out their goats. Looks to sell fast and easy. Be sure when purchasing your goats to ask the breeder if they parcipate in some of the items listed above that are important to you.

Remember, that your goat's health concerns are based on the breeder who sold it to you, the mangement practises you have set in place, and the veteranarian who now treats your goat when it needs professional medical care. Choosing a BUCK As breeding season comes upon us every year, once again the question arises - do I purchase that buck this year or do I service my does?

For the beginner goat breeder the wise answer is to lean on the expertise of knowledgeable breeders and have your does serviced bred by another breeder's buck. The reason for this is the expense in purchasing the "BEST" buck for your herd. Good quality bucks that enhance a herd are priced equal to high quality does. It is less expensive to have your does serviced then to buy a buck for a small herd.

Another dilema that faces new goatherders is the birth of their first buck into their herd that they fall in love with. We fell into this trap and kept a buck from one of our favorite does. He was gorgeous and we just "knew" he was going to be a great buck. Fortunately for us, this buck comes from great lines and has good conformation that compliments other does we have added to our herd.

We made wise choices in our base stock to purchase the best we could afford to start with which produed this buck. As new goat breeders, when we look back on the decision we made to keep him; did we make the right decision? I would honestly have to say probably not - we should have waited until we had more knowledge and experience about raising goats before keeping a buck from our herd of 3 does at that time. As stated above, we were fortunate that this breeding did produce a good herdsire that corrects toplines, front ends and produces great length and dairy character.

As a new breeder, you play russian roulette if you keep a buck from your herd if you don't know the traits or faults in your does well enough. Saving money this way as a new breeder could cost you in the long term. We have since purchased bucks with traits that will continue to improve our line and the Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat as a breed.

The knowledge gained as to what is a good buck can only come by time and experience in raising goats. Don't be in a rush to buy a buck, remember a buck is half your herd and purchasing the wrong one can have devastating results years down the road. If this is the year you have decided to purchase that herdsire for breeding, remember that breed improvement should always be the determining factor in your selection.

You should know the faults and positive traits in your does prior to your quest for finding that buck. This way you will know what you need to improve or enhance in your does. Another important factor to bear in mind with the purchase of a buck is his housing. Bucks need to be housed and penned separately from your does so unexpected breedings do not take place. If you milk your goats, leaving the bucks in with your does will also taint the flavor and smell of your milk and cheeses. Make sure housing is taken care of before bringing the buck home. Fencing for bucks need to be 5 feet in height so as to prevent escapes into the doe area.

What to look for in a buck, whether for service or purchase : determine what qualities in your does you are trying to strengthen or eliminate. Look for these traits in a buck in order to improve your herd by choosing a herdsire that is strong in the points you need for your breeding program. Decide what you want to breed for; a specific conformation attribute, color, size, etc. Look at the bucks dam or daughters, if available, at the breeder to see if the traits he is passing on are desirable for your needs.

Ask for pedigrees to see the lines you are buying into or to see if inbreeding will be a problem. You need to be knowledgeable with this breeding method, which can only come with time. Always breed back for exceptional points when line or inbreeding, because the counter can happen to bring out weaknesses faster.

Some lines to look for to accentuate the good points: 1. Wide ribbing, 2. Long muscular necks, 3. Deep chest, 4.

Bestselling Series

Dairy character, 5. Coat texture, 6. Wedges in body head, body capacity - top and side , 7. Smooth blending of shoulders, yet sharp, 8. Straight front legs with wide arching rear legs not posty , 9. Mammary system on dam or daughters, Straight, close toes. Check testicles to make sure they are pliable and move freely in the scrotum sack. Check the testicles for any odd lumps that are either soft or hard and question the breeder.

If their answer is not satisfactory, look for another buck. These are only some of the characteristics you should evaluate in a buck. There are so many others. Keep your bucks in top condition well before breeding season. They expend a lot of energy even without the actual breeding as they go into a "rut-type" period.

With some bucks, they can go "off-feed" during breeding season, so feed them well so as not to lose condition. Do not over breed bucks to does as this can also cause them to lose condition. Once you've made your choice to either service or purchase a buck, breed your does - then sit and wait those 5 months for kidding season.

Pamper yourself and your does during this time and prepare for those sleepless nights when the kids are due. Heat Hints Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats go into heat, or experience an estrus cycle approximately every 21 to 28 days. Therefore they can be bred all year round. Most breeders prefer the fall for breeding as Spring allows for the optimum in kidding temperatures. There is no fear of kids freezing in winter cold and no pests such as flies during summer heat to spread disease.

This is not to say you can't breed all year, it just means more precautions need to be taken into account. The heat cycle in Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats as in all goat breeds, lasts for 1 to 3 days on average with the doe in a standing heat to accept the buck during that time. The standing heat is a very short duration of the heat cycle standing heat can be anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days and the owner needs to be alert as to when this time occurs for breeding to be successful.

A standing heat means a doe will stand for a buck and not run from him to be bred. Procreation will not take place generally outside of this time. Things to look for in a heat cycle: If you have a buck on premise, most does will spend their heat cycle trying to get to the buck. If a buck in not on premise, use of a buck rag can determine estrus. A buck rag is a piece of fabric that is rubbed over the facial scent glands of any mature buck. It is then placed in air-tight container. If you think your doe may be in heat, open container when and place opened container under does nose to observe reaction to buck scent.

If excitement is seen wagging of tail, becomes alert, talky, etc , doe is probably in heat and the service of a buck should be rendered quickly. Some does become very vocal and will voice that they are in heat. Silent heats do occur, careful observation of other heat signs is then needed. A mucus discharge from the vulva which gets into the tail webbing and mats the feathers will sometimes be visable.

Mounting trying to breed other does , courting like a buck to other does, growling, rapid, excited tail wagging when they hear or smell a buck are some other more obvious signs of a doe in heat. Milk production may drop off. Does can also go off feed during this time - make sure this is estrus related and not a sign of another disease condition that can be overlooked and not properly treated.

If you observe a combination of these signs, this is the time breeding is most successful. Any or all of these can be evidenced in your doe during heat. There are also those does that won't cooperate at all and not show you even the smallest of signs. Sometimes with these does the best thing to do is put them with the buck for at least a month.


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The buck will know when she comes into heat and you can get a succussful breeding. False heats can occur. It looks like everything is fine, and then in a week the doe comes back into a real heat. The second heat cycle is generally the true heat and you should breed your doe again. Make sure you mark your calendars and calculate the delivery dates on all breedings so you won't be surprised. You will never know if the doe was a day, or day, or late, or early on delivery.

It is not recommended to leave does with a buck for extended periods of time as the energy expended on the buck will not keep him in condition for multiple doe breedings.

A breeding is extremely short so don't blink or turn away, as you may miss it. After a successful breeding the doe will hunch her back, this is a good sign that the buck has bred her. After breeding, mark your calendar with date, buck name, and doe name. If doe does not go into heat again, you will join the ranks of the sleepless in 5 months for you now have a pregnant doe to care for and kidding time is soon.

Gestation Table The table below is an easy to use gestation calculator based on a day gestatation period. Take the day that you bred the doe indicated in column Month Bred , subtract the number of days from the column marked Days. This will due you the day of the month indicated in column Month Due. Let's go through the math.

Goats As Pets - Everything you need to know to get a goat

For a leap year freshening, subtract one more day between October 4th and February 28 for the due date. Hoof Trimming Regular hoof trimming, about every 4 - 6 weeks is needed to prevent lameness or infection to the hoof. A correctly trimmed hoof should have the same shape as a kid's hoof. We use hoof trimmers purchased from a goat supply catalog. Utility knives can also be used, but I am too big of a sissy to take my chances with knives. Ask the breeder you purchased your goat from to show you the proper way to trim a hoof.

If the breeder can not do this, find an experienced goat breeder that is willing to help you out.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats Care : Taylor David :

This acitivity takes a lot of time and experience depending on the size of your herd. Most goats like it as much as we enjoy going to the dentist. Goats will generally fuss while having their hoofs trimmed, bucks are notorious for making the task even more formidable. Patience and sharp tools help in getting through this every month. The tools need to be in proper condition to trim hoofs.

Blunt instruments that won't cut through the hard "leathery" hoof can cause cuts to you or the goat. It is recommended to wear gloves while trimming. Many a hand has been pierced or cut while holding on to a struggling hoof. Rusty instruments should never be used to trim hoofs.

Be sure to have bloodstop on hand when trimming hoofs, as an accidental cut into the quick of the hoof may occur. Clean the wound and place bloodstop on the wound. Apply pressure if needed to make sure bleeding will stop. If a deep wound - clean wound well, pack with powdered bloodstop, bandage and secure the bandage on the hoof.

Isolate the goat from the herd to prevent abuse from the other goats. Wait for a few hours until it stops and release goat back into herd after removing bandages. If the wound does not stop bleeding after a prolonged period, call your veterinarian. Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shots! After you have completed the major trimming of the hoof, a hoof plane could be used to plane off any bumps or rough edges left by the trimmers.

Give your goat a treat for being so good while you trimmed their hoofs. If hoofs have grown so badly and long that they look like little elf shoes, more care is needed to trim away the excess hoof. Sometimes, depending on the length of hoof, the hoof can become so hardened that normal trimming techniques will not work. Standing the goat on wet straw for an hour prior to trimming will help soften the hoofs for cutting.

Use of shrubbery pruning shears that are stronger may need to be used. With these goats the assistance of another person to help would be greatly appreciated. If hoofs are grossly overgrown, take caution to remove small quantities of hoof over time this may take weeks to get the hoof back into shape. Remember, it has taken a long time for the hoof to get in bad condition and it takes time to bring it back to normal. Shelter Goats should be housed in clean, damp free shelters, not air-tight buildings; they also need to be well ventilated.

A sixteen foot square enclosed area per goat is adequate. Goats need an excerise yard as well measuring at least square feet per goat. They are mountain animals and enjoy obstacles to climb on. Goats should have sufficient shelter for their size to protect them from the elements. Shade should be provided in summer and protection from winter winds. Remember that goats hate to have rain or snow fall on them. Always provide a way out of bad weather to your goats.

These shelters should be bright, airy and clean. Your veterinarian can help in setting up a schedule for your herd. Annual vacinations recommended by your veterinarian for your local area should be administered to keep your goat healthy and in top condination.

Make sure your feed is specific for goats as many other livestock feeds are toxic to goats. The quantity of grain feed is in proportion to the size, age and condition of a particular goat and should be fed accordingly. Bucks and wethers should be given special attention with their grain feed intake to help prevent urinary calculi. A feed containing ammonium chloride is recommended as their grain feed source.

What to Feed a Nigerian Dwarf Goat

If this is not available then top dressing their grain with the proper amount of ammonium cholride. Adding vinegar to their water helps in keeping the acid levels in control also. Goats need plenty of fresh water to keep them healthy. This is especially true of the pregnant and nursing doe.

Water is critical to bucks and wethers also for proper maintenance of their urinary tracts. The following are some seasonal watering tips: Winter: bringing warm water out to your goats in winter is well worth the effort. They love it and drink more. This is very important for those bucks and wethers that need to consume more water. Milking does need the replenishment of fluids lost in providing that fresh milk we so enjoy.

So go ahead and spoil them, they not only need it, but deserve it. Electric stock heaters can be used as well; making sure all wires are protected from goats having access. Summer : keeping cool clean water outside all day is essential. Again for bucks, wethers and milking does water intake is needed to keep them healthy and in top shape. Changing water periodically during the day will provide them what is needed.

In extreme hot weather conditions, ice or ice packs in buckets is an option if you will be away during long periods of time during a day. Spray or dust for lice only if seen.

The Basics:

Remove any ticks. Ivermectin ingestable not only works on internal parasites, but external as well. Use of any medication should be cleared through your local veterinarian before administration for dose and safety. There are many types of fly repellents on the market. I have listed a few here. Trap-n-toss - attracts flies, and when full you just throw away. Fly strips - hang from above, when filled with flies remove and throw away.

Be careful when handling, these strips are very tacky. A must for all barns. Make sure strips are away from where goats can grab and ingest. Fly bottles - hang around barn area. These may come with a solution that attracts flies. If it does not come with an attractant, canned cat food mixed with enough water to cover works great. As this becomes full - empty, clean and re-start. This is a bit messier then the other options, but less costly. To be used directly on goats to repel flies on animals.

Make sure spray does not get onto face of goats. Use towel to gently cover head area. We have just started using DE this year and have found it to be a long-lasting treatment for insects. It can be dusted or diluted in water and sprayed in the area. I do not use it on my goats as either a dust or give it internally for parasites. It is supposed to be safe for them, but I use the paste de-wormers at this time. Repellents and insecticides are a help in maintaining the amount of insects and pests that will hazzle your herd, but again it gets down to your overall management practises as well.

As my brother always says, "minimum, effort - maximum enjoyment" - if you take care in maintaining a clean, healthy environment you will have less to worry about in the long term. Milking Supplies:. Why Milk?? Milking Advantages: You know how much milk each kid is consuming. Udder infections can be checked and corrected promptly. Prevents some milk diseases from spreading to kids. Milk is used for cheesemaking and other recipes containing milk and it just tastes great!. Milking goats is a good stress reliever from our hectic daily schedules.

If goats are shown, it keeps does accustomed to being milked on show days. Bottle fed kids are calmed down and bond to their goatherder if sufficient time is not invested with dam raised kids. Milking Disadvantages: It is a commitment to milk every day twice a day.