How to Choose The Right Small Goat Breed For You

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Looking to get goats? Here are some helpful tips for deciding which small goat breed is right for your homestead.

Homesteaders often choose goats over cows when starting to raise animals. Goats are smaller and easier to handle, require less food and space, and are great at keeping down brush and weeds. They are also naturally friendly and make great companions! When bred, they can provide both milk and meat.

Two popular goat breeds for new homesteaders are the smaller Pygmy and Dwarf Nigerian, which consume even less feed, and still are great producers of milk or meat.

So which of these two small goat breeds is better? It depends on what you are looking for. There are a few significant differences between the two breeds, as this helpful article from WeedEmAndReep.com discusses:

The differences between a Nigerian and a Pygmy goat:

Size and Color

To a newbie, Nigerian Dwarfs and Pygmy goats can look very similar. They can, many times, be the same height and weight, but pygmy goats tend to be stockier, and have shorter legs. Pygmy goat’s genetics are designed for meat production, so they tend to have a much thicker build in general. Nigerian Dwarf goats have a more slender neck, and thinner, longer legs.
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Behavior

…Both are hilarious as babies as they jump and run around with surprising agility, but they also are sneaky, can climb fences, and jump long distances….

Nigerian and Pygmy goats are as friendly as their mother is, so if you’d like a more friendly goat, I’d recommend bottle feeding instead of letting the mother raise….

Milking production

Here’s where you’ll see a stark difference between Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goats. Pygmy goats have smaller teats and smaller udders. Their energy production goes into their thick muscles and not into their milk. Some people do try to milk them, but honestly, the small teat size and short legs makes it much more difficult.

Nigerian dwarf goats, on the other hand, are milking stars! They can produce as much as 2-3 quarts a day, though most produce about 1-1.5 quarts per day on average. Also, another little fun thing about Nigerian goats is the TASTE of their milk. It is known as the best tasting goat’s milk around. It’s sweet and creamy and nothing like any other goat’s milk you’ve ever tasted. If you usually don’t like the taste of goat’s milk, get a Nigerian….

Meat Production

Pygmy goats are primarily meat goats…. Pygmy goats have thick muscles, and that produces great meat production.

Nigerian vs. Pygmy Goats: Which is best?

If you’re looking for a great milking goat that is smaller in size but is great for production, go with a Nigerian Dwarf goat!

If you’re looking for a meat goat that is smaller, then go with a Pygmy goat!

If you’re looking for a pet, you can choose either a Pygmy or a Nigerian, because they both have great (albeit naughty) behaviors.

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Learn More About Both Goat Breeds at WeedEmAndReap.com

 

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