Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Nigerian Goats?

Why did I choose to go with Nigerians? Fair question. There are plenty of goat breeds that produce a heck of a lot more milk than Nigerians. So little Nigerians are a poor choice for milk production and feed conversation. But have you noticed that they have short legs? I consider that to be a major plus! 

Around here, I use standard 4' high field fencing. I tend to rotate the livestock through the pastures, so I want an economical fencing that will hold in all my livestock. Fencing sold here for sheep is too short for goats. And anything over 4' high gets pricy. So 4' is my best compromise. 

Now....4' isn't high enough to keep in a curious standard sized goat. While I see plenty of goats behind 4' fences, I also hear plenty of tales of owners chasing wayward goats......gardens and prized shrubs getting eaten....goats getting onto the highway and causing accidents. I've had my own incidents of my own goat, Bucky, hopping my fence and eating almost my entire garden by morning! 

Building a goat-only pasture system wasn't appealing. Having to go to the expense of 5' or 6' fencing plus all those extra long t-posts wasn't in my budget. And the thought of having to pound in 8' t-posts sounded way too painful. Remember, I'm doing most everything by human power, not farm machinery. 

Nigerians are also known for having sweet milk. Among my Alpines, while most had decent tasting milk, I often had to cull out those that had a strong goaty flavored milk. And even their best milk had that slight goaty undertone. I thought that off flavored milk was due to having a buck around or by letting them eat strong tasting foods, but that wasn't the case with my does. They all ate the exact same diet and sometimes I'd get a new doe with strong, objectionable milk. So there must be a genetic factor involved. Nigerians supposedly don't have this problem. We shall see. 

Nigerians have nice personalities. Every person I've talked with who has or had Nigerians say that they liked them. That's a plus. I can't say that for some breeds. Even my own Bucky, a Nubian wether, isn't all that pleasant to be around. Some Nubians can be a challenge to handle......and those make nice smoked meat, sausage, dog food.

So I'm on a quest to find a few nice goats that are all or mostly Nigerian. Around here, purebred anything is difficult to find, so I'm willing to consider goats that are high percentage Nigerian. As long as they have short legs and sweet milk! 

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