Mini Homestead Goat? Let's discuss goat breeds.


11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
Okay, this thread is about a project I'm working on. It involves using animals for the best of their ability, and eating is a possibility. So you have been warned, so you are more than welcome to suggest alternatives but please don't chide me about the ethics about homesteading animals, which includes eating them if the time comes. Now that this is out of the way, let's get down to business.

We're(those working on this experiment) are thinking about having a goat for milk. At first Nigerian Dwarfs were the goats that came to mind. Since space is limited to a single pen of a chainlink dog kennel. Browsing would be done on a tether under immediate supervision. Since the pen was only a dog kennel, I thought the smaller breed would be better.

I want the goat's first purpose would be drinking milk and maybe cheese. Then any extra would be turned into nonperishable items as soap, lotion, and whatnot to be sold.

We assumed we would breed the single doe and allow her to raise a single kid. Any multiple kids would be rehomed as bottled babes or eaten. I figured it would be more profiteable for the homestead for a single kid and let it share the milk with the table.

So this lead me to realize, that I had just assumed that the Nigerian Dwarf would be the ideal goat. This made me wonder if perhaps that I had made the decision to hastily.

Now that you know the circumstances, what are you opinions?

The Nigerian Dwarfs are small but quite compact and I've noticed that they are quite plump, which would be decent meat if the occasion arose.

The Nubians I know are a popular milk goat, but as with any dairy animal, they seem almost anorexic. At least the ones I've seen. I've also heard that they like to TALK. Which wouldn't be an issue on an actual homestead, but an experiment in the backyard I don't need complaints, ya know? At least with a Nubian doe, I would probably be able to breed her to a Boer goat and get well rounded young.

I'm not familiar with the other breeds. So let the information and education roll in. Please keep in mind, I am not wealthy by any means, so a rare, heritage goat that costs $$$ and has to be transported across the country is out of the question. LOL
If you're looking for mini goats that provide milk, then no...I don't think you were hasty in going with a Nigerian Dwarf. That's kinda what they are...tiny milk goats.

Kinders and mini-nubians are other options, sure, but you gotta find one first.. And once you find it, you gotta breed it at some point...which means finding a buck. What are your chances of finding a Kinder or mini-nubian buck in your area that aren't related to the doe you just bought? You could cross breed it to a Nigerian Dwarf buck, but then you've got cross kids that likely won't bring as much $$$ as purebred Nigerian Dwarves.

I dunno...I guess I'd say that if you're looking for a homestead utility goat that's not going to cause you big headaches to find and have bred and whatnot, I'd go with a Nigerian Dwarf.

Just my $.02.
The only reason I picked Nigerian Dwarves was that there is a breeder right down the street from us. She sells them for crazy prices, but had a couple of does that she was going to sell as "Brush" goats. So I figured they were Nigerians with or without papers and would be fine for what I wanted them for.

I don't have any personal experience with goats, with the exception of being around her's from time to time. What are the pros of Nigerians?

I was thinking mini goat simply because of the size of the pen available, a chainlink dog kennel. Would a full sized goat be more economical in that space? Would a full sized goat be louder? I know that chances are they'll eat more than a mini, but they should produce more milk as well.

Edited to add this great link for woman who was searching for the perfect milk/meat goat:

my search for my first goats that will be pets, brush eaters, and then maybe milk later - I have been doing A LOT of reading, visiting the local fairs, joined Backyard Herds, talking to breeders in my area.

For milk and/or meat 1st, small to medium size, great pets, easy care, eat less - I came to the conclusion that the Kinders are best for all of the above 2nd by the Nigerian Dwarfs.
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I like the Nigerians, but am much more of a fan of the standard sized goat breeds, especially the LaManchas, closely followed by the Alpines.

My concern with what you are talking about with the Nigerian is you have plans for a LOT of milk, and you're talking about a small goat breed. To have a doe nurse one kid, then plan to use the milk yourself, plus have enough left over for soap and lotions--I think you are guessing at a lot more production than will actually occur.

Also, if you want to get that kind of milk, you're going to have to put grain and hay into that doe along with the brush, or she won't be able to come close to your expectations.

It has been my personal experience that with goats, the larger the goat, the more quiet and gentle the disposition, so I personally would go with a standard sized goat over a smaller breed any day.

The only breed I personally have not had a lot of luck with are the Oberhaslis--I had five I was milking at one point, and just didn't get on with those does. I'm down to one, and would part with her in a heartbeat if an offer came along. That said, most Ober people adore their Obers, so maybe it's just me.

Also, remember that when you're looking for a meat goat, 'plump' has to do with the belly--there isn't much meat in that area, so you need to be more concerned with the shoulders and haunches in that regard. It has been our experience that the dairy whethers, if allowed to grow up some, do fill out nicely--but that's the other advantage to going with a standard doe is if you cross her with a boer buck she should produce some pretty nice meat kids for you.

I have to admit that I have had absolutely zero luck putting any of our kids in our freezer--which was certainly the intention at the beginning of the goat thing, but man, kids are some of the cutest baby animals on the planet, so most of ours have been given away as pasture trimmers to friends and family (who know scream and run away from, not toward, when I start to head their way!

Hope that helps,

FYI = Fainters are meat goats and as far as cross breeding goes would have a lot to offer. They are easy to house...they don't jump fences like bucks of other breeds might. Fainters can't jump...are very quite, non agressive peaceful goats. They are not nearly as large as boer goats so it may work out really well for a person with space limitations.
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I like both of the nigerian and the pygmy. The nigerian does talk a little more but gives better milk and is meatier. But I also like a boermy (boer-pygmy). But those dont milk well
I understood that when the doe had the kid, there wouldn't be any "extra" milk. The extra would come in when it was just us milking her and we ran out of room to keep "perishable" milk, so to keep from wasting, we would turn it into nonperishables like soap and lotion. That's be quite the goat to handle a kid, table milk, and soap/lotion all at the same time. LOL

Well, I guess I started the post because I was taking the larger breeds into consideration. I just didn't want a very LOUD goat, like I've seen threads posted about. I wanted drinking milk and not cheese milk like I've read some breeds are more apt to.

The goat would be a loner, and someone posted saying their two Nubians were driving her insane with their talking. Do they really talk that loud?
One flaw I see in the plan is the brush eating if you're wanting to drink the milk. Some weeds will impart a dreadful taste in the milk. I don't think it's possible to completely supervise a goat while it eats all the browse necessary; they eat constantly.

I'm not sure at what age you were planning on eating the extra kids, but if you're looking for a primarily dairy goat it is going to take at least a few months for them to grow to 'eating size'.

A lone goat is a bad idea, that will almost guarantee you end up with a 'screamer'. I had one Nubian/Sable cross that I ended up selling because of the noise. It was as if she was being attacked all day long, not your usual bleating but full on bawling. The others were and are perfectly tolerable other than at feeding time.

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