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Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats

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Top 9 reasons why you DON'T want Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Before you start shooting the messenger and accuse me of wrecking your homesteading dream or saying I’m a goat-hater, let me explain myself.
I love goats. More importantly, I love Nigerian Dwarf Goats. I own Nigerian Dwarf Goats, and I will probably own them the rest of my life. There are several reasons why you DON’T want Nigerian Dwarf Goats, here are my Top 9 Reasons.

Top 9 Reasons Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats

I LOVE GOATS! But, BUT (add more buts if needed), there are many people adding NDG’s to their homesteads or backyards because they are the ‘it’ livestock, without giving it any thought or prior goat experience. In addition, many of these unwanted goats end up homeless and in rescue because the previous owners didn’t know what to expect going in.
Because I LOVE goats, I’m writing this article so that people who are considering adding a Nigerian Dwarf Goat, or some other breed of goat, to their homestead will consider all of the pros AND the cons.

#1 Reason Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats: Space

Although Nigerian Dwarf Goats are one of the smallest breeds, (standing at just 22″ shoulder height) they still require ample space.
The minimum square footage recommended for goats is 250 sq ft per goat, this is the minimum recommendation.
They will also need shelter, a milking station, birthing station, place to store the hay, and play area.
If you don’t have the adequate space, consider getting a smaller livestock like chickens or rabbits.

Males and Females

Male and female goats should not be kept together.

  • You can not control breeding or know when to expect kids.
  • The bucks will continue to try to mate with pregnant does, thus injuring the does and risk losing the pregnancy.
  • Bucks can become aggressive and they are very stinky (very).
  • You will need separate living quarters for bucks and does, and they each need a goat companion.
  • That is a minimum of four goats if you want both male and female, for a total of 1000 sq ft minimum.

#2 Laws

Laws, they are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? Well, they can be. But sometimes for the person trying to become self-sufficient, not so much.
Make sure you check with your Homeowners Association and County/City Laws before you bring home goats.
This is not a situation where you want to ask for forgiveness later instead of permission now.
Adapting to a new home can be stressful on the goats and the family members. You want to minimize rehoming the goats so check the laws first.

#3 Reason Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats: Heat Cycles

Most goat breeds only come into heat one season a year, generally in the fall season.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats come into heat every month.
Meaning you will have a goat in heat, wanting a mate every month throughout the year.
Goats in heat are loud (see “noise” below), can be aggressive, want attention, try to escape, personality changes, and they will try to mate anything and everything.
Males and females should not be kept together unless the male is fixed.

#4 Milk Production

Nigerian Dwarf Goats have the highest level of butterfat content of all the other milking breeds.
The high butterfat lends to it’s a rich, creamy and sweet taste that people love.
However, they are not heavy producers.
A NIgerian Dwarf doe in milk could yield one quart per day (sometimes more).
You have to milk the goats at least twice per day unless you keep a kid on them.
If you desire gallon(s) of milk, you will want a larger goat breed, like Nubian’s.

#5 Reason Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats: Fencing

Goats are jumpers and climbers. If you do not have proper fencing, you can say goodbye to your goats.
We have 6 ft fencing and have come home more than once to our neighbors kindly bringing our girls home.
Generally, our fence was sufficient to keep them on our property, but when something spooks them- watch out.
They become half goat, half jumping bean. Thank God we have great neighbors.

#6 Reason Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats: Landscaping

Goats do not graze and they won’t replace your lawnmower. They will, however, eat everything else in sight.
They will eat your: gardens, trees, bushes, flowers, siding on your house, shoes (we still can’t find the other flip-flop), and anything else they can get their mouths on.
So if you plan on keeping your goats in the same area as your prized petunias, I would strongly reconsider.

Many plants are toxic to goats, click here to see the full list to make sure you don’t have any of the listed items on your property before getting goats.

#7 Time

Goats are loving animals. They crave attention and interaction. They also require care like: feeding, trimming hooves, oral care, brushing, worming, giving treats, milking, supplements, vet checks, and special care during pregnancy and birthing.

If you don’t have a lot of free time to spend with them, you may want to look into livestock that requires less hands-on.

#8 Reason Why You DON’T Want Nigerian Dwarf Goats: You Can Only Get One

Goats (all goats) are herd animals. Which means you can’t have just one.
That doesn’t mean you can place a goat with a horse or a dog and it will be okay, they need another goat companion.
A single goat will get bored and lonely, very lonely. Yes, even if you love it, hug it and call it George. It needs a goat buddy.
You can place two does together, a doe and a wether (a neutered male), two bucks together, a buck and a wether, or two wethers.

#9 Noise

Oh, my goaty’ goodness are they loud.
Most of the time you wouldn’t even know you have goats, but when they want something (generally your attention) or they are in heat? WOWZA.
I once had a neighbor across the street call and ask if one of our daughters were injured. They sound like screaming girls.
Their bleating is like none other.
Because we live in a development with relatively close neighbors, we needed to stay outside with them during every heat cycle from sun up to sun down to keep the noise at bay and the cops from visiting us.
They are loud.
If you have the acreage, this should not be a problem for you. But if you live in a community like me? Bring a good book and a chair because you will be pulling noise control once a month.

#10 Bonus Reason- More for Me

I do adore Nigerian Dwarf Goats, and in my opinion, the good far outweighs the bad.
But, they are a huge responsibility and one that deserves a great deal of consideration before jumping right in.
It’s okay if goats aren’t right for you, you can still be a homesteader, you can still be self-sufficient.
Owning goats don’t define your independence- but they do add a nice touch.

Ready To Start Your Goat Herd?

If you’re ready to get your goat on, you’re going to need some names! We have a GREAT list of goat names for you to choose from here. 

Top 9 reasons why you don't want Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

If you’re ready to add Nigerian Dwarf Goats to your farm or homestead, read my article about 6 mistakes to avoid when buying goats.

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Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Do u have to separate male and female nigerian dwarf goats

Amber Bradshaw

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Yes and no. No if he is fixed, yes if he is otherwise you;ll have uncontrolled breeding. But the male still needs to have another goat buddy.

Mahmudul Hasan

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Amazing blog, I'm very happy to read this blog. Basically, I know new many things to read this blog. I strongly believe that the blog delivers the best information to its audience.

Emily Stotter

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

just a quick note of thanks for all your info! coming in handy as we look into getting goats!


Friday 12th of June 2020

Wow, I feel ridiculous for taking the time to comment but I just had to thank you for your honest, in depth look into these guys! I grew up riding horses and my husband and I plan on buying acreage in the next few years with plans of buying a couple of horses, and (maybe) goats! I saw these cuties and totally fell in love, but in all the research I did I couldn’t find anything that gave me as much useful information! I really don’t think I could handle the maintenance that these guys seem to come with, but I’m excited to keep looking for a better suited breed! Truly a big thank you for posting such an informative look into their needs, without making us humans feel bad for not knowing everything!


Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Hi Amber, Thank you for this article. I have been enamored with the IDEA of getting NDG to complement my ever-growing farm of small livestock. We have plenty of space for NDG's, and according to all of the ooey-gooey FB posts and random articles I have read, I thought that adding NDG's to our homestead would be fun and easy. I appreciate your honesty and transparency, and especially the info regarding what I would REALLY need to house and care for the NGD's. As cute as they are, and probably as easy as they might be to care for, I am quickly realizing that I do not want to deal with the mating, or the going into heat each month, the milking, etc. PSA - FOR ALL OF THE HATERS OUT THERE -- don't leave me any nasty comments. Seriously. I don't care what you think about me or my "lack of knowledge/my opinion/or whatever. I appreciate the straight-talk that Amber has provided, and therefore, will continue to nurture and love my current fur/feathered/scaled-babies and leave the NGD's to someone else. ~ #content

Shivani Arjuna

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

We have had Nigerian dwarfs since 2012 and have never had a doe that comes into heat monthly. My friends with them have not, either. Ours come into heat in the fall when the weather gets cool, just as our sheep do. And sometimes they are so subtle about it that we are not sure just when to breed them, as "standing heat" does not last long. Some does are vocal when they are in heat, but not loud enough for neighbors to hear. In breeding season in fall, the bucks are indeed loud, but one need not keep bucks. You can take your doe to someone else's buck to be bred. If you don't want milk, just pets, keep wethers. They make wonderful pets.


Wednesday 13th of May 2020

So... get wethers, they never go into heat, you don’t have to milk them. (You don’t have to milk does, either, if you don’t breed them!). The are less expensive to buy (or even free), easier to keep, less maintenance.