2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mini Dairy Goats Catching On Fast
Because they produce 2/3 to 3/4 the milk that standard dairy goats produce and only eat about half as much feed, miniature goats are ideal for families with small acreages that just want enough milk for their own use. They also take up less room and are easier on terrain.
All miniature goat breeds start with a Nigerian Dwarf (17 to 21 in. tall) bred to a standard dairy goat.
“Genetics and management play important roles in milk production. The influence of Nigerian Dwarf genetics may help with the increase of butterfat in the milk miniature dairy goats produce,” Kirby says. High butterfat results in a rich, creamy milk to drink or make into cheese, ice cream, yogurt and butter. Goat milk is also often used to make soap.
The standard for miniatures is that they are at least 2 in. shorter than the minimum height requirement for the standard breed of the parent. For example, mini Nubians range from 24 to 28 in. compared to standard Nubians that start at 30 in. Weights average 120 to 130 lbs. for the minis and 200 lbs. for the standards.
While Nubian/Nigerian crosses are common, goat breeders have crossed Nigerian Dwarfs with a variety of standard dairy goats to create many minis - Alpine, Guernsey, LaMancha, Nubian, Saanen, Toggenburg and Oberhasli, for example.
Kirby raises standard and mini LaMancha goats that are distinct with very tiny ears.
Miniatures pricing starts at around $300, depending on breed, quality and generation.
Kirby and Wilcox belong to the Miniature Dairy Goat Association (www.miniaturedairygoats.net), which has more than 1,000 members.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Carla Kirby (www.winginitfarms.com; email@example.com) or Jacqui Wilcox (firstname.lastname@example.org; www.daystarsfarm.com).
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