Coyote Creek Dairy

Breeding Quality Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats Since 2006
Getting your goat...
Owning goats can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding hobbies a person can get into. There are however some things you shoud consider before you buy a goat. Goats can be challenging and miscihivious, and while we don't want to discourage anyone from getting a goat, it's a huge resposiblity you need to be prepared for.  Any animal will take a large investment of time, energy and resourses. Our goal is to help others over some of the fisrt hurdles we encountered early on. Here we hope you can find some tips and tricks, and some basic information that is useful in your endovors in a caprine lifestyle!

Nigerian Dwarf VS. Pygmy 

Nigerians and Pygmy’s have similar genetic origins. They were both imported to the US from West Africa around the 1950’s but distinct differences became apparent and farms selectively bred them for specific traits thus creating two very different goats.
Nigerians are bred to have the same proportions as standard dairy goats. Long, smooth, angular and open. Emphasis is placed on high milk capacity and production. A variety of color or colors is acceptable with standard pygmy markings being less desirable. Max height for bucks 23 ½” and does 22 ½” at the top of withers.
Pygmy goats have rounder, thicker bones. Bred to be meaty and stocky. Breed standards calls for animals that are muscular, coby and compact. Wide body with proportionally short limbs and neck. Typically agouti colored, black or caramel, may have waddles. Max height for bucks 23 ⅝” does 22 ⅜” shorter height being prefered. 
Nigerians may seem taller because of their long graceful necks, but it is an optical illusion, they are often the same height at the withers as Pygmy goats. When determining breeds you have to look at the basic body types and shapes. Quality pure-breeds will have outstanding differences.

Blue eyes is a trait unique to Nigerian's. No other large breed has it and it is considered a disqualification in the show ring for Pygmy's. If you come across blue-eyed Pygmy, it is likley has some Nigerian in its liniage. 
Thinngs to consider when looking at herd sires
If you are looking at a new buck or possibly considering buying a buck kid, there are many things to consider for what is best for your herd.
Many people will sell buck kids because of fancy herd names in the linage or flashy cosmetics, but many lack the substance to really merit breeding.​
We believe kids only from the top Senior does should be kept intact and that is only if they have met the performance standards for our herd goals.
We do not want to sell inferior herd sires, we want to help improve the breed.

It is better to take your time to make the right decision for YOU  than be sold a flashy new car with mice under the hood!
Below is a simple outline originally put together for 4-H youth to help with their breeding projects. We hope you find this information helpful as well!

Steps To Help Improve Your Dairy Herd
​Finding the right match for your herd can be as easy as 1.2.3!

1) Have A Clear Goal For Your Herd

Goats are a huge investment. You put time, money and hard work into taking care of them. It is very important to know what YOU want from raising them. If your goal is learning how to make cheese, you will need lots of milk so it makes sense to have a good milk producer. Taking care of one goat that gives you 2 gallons a day is easier than 3 that only give you a ½ gallon. If all you want is a pet, keeping weathers to go hiking with you is a great option but you’ll want an athletic goat with strong legs and feet. The point is to know what you want so you can align your efforts to meet those goals.

2)Know Your Dairy Scorecard

The goal of the unified scorecard is to aid in the selection of the type of dairy goat that can function over a long productive lifetime.
                    -ADGA Handbook

If you know what is on a dairy scorecard, you will have a better understanding of what a show judge looks at and why. The scorecard breaks the animals down into parts that are each worth a percent of the whole goat. Most associations compare these categories:
  • General Appearance
  • Dairy Strength
  • Body Capacity
  • Mammary System

Sr. does, Jr. does and bucks are all judged slightly different based on gender and age. Obviously bucks don’t have mammary systems, so more emphasis is placed on their front end assembly, correct structure of legs and feet, and smoothness in movement. Likewise for Jr. does since their mammary has not yet developed. In Sr. does the mammary is worth 35 points on the scorecard. The mammary is worth more since the whole purpose of breeding the animal is to produce milk.

Click here to view ADGA's Dari y Score Card

3) Keep Detailed Records

The smallest detail can make a huge difference in breeding programs. Records are important to have so you know what each animal is producing. For keeping track of vaccinations and medical needs and knowing what animals are related to each other and how closely. When you have to make the tough decisions to cull a herd, it makes it easier to know what the value of each animal is and get rid of the ones that don’t help you reach your herd goal.

Suggestions for Dairy Records:
  • Breeding Charts - If your goats are registered or not, it’s important to map out who is bred to who, how many kids come in each breeding and any difficulties during pregnancy or birth.
  • Milk Production - Measuring how much milk a doe gives per milking, per day. How long is the doe in lactation? This allows you to chart a does peak production and better judge when to re-breed her or not if she dosen’t meet your goals for milk production. Kids being sold will go for a higher dollar when their dam is an excellent producer.
  • Feeding Charts - It’s important to know how much feed costs and how much each animal consumes. You can determine the ratio of feed consumed to milk produced and see if a higher quality or different type improves production without increasing amount fed or cost.  
  • Shows and Show Results - Keeping track of how well your goats do compared to other herds is good to see how “on track” you are for meeting breed standards and your goals for your herd. If you are selling animals, a higher price can be put on a kid if it’s parents and siblings have proven themselves in the show ring and in the milk pail.

***How much and what kind of competition a goat has is important. A grand champion doe in a ring of 45 goats is more likely to be higher quality than a GC of only 5 competitors. Something to consider when you are buying a goat from breeders who advertise “winners”, was it a local fair or a larger sanctioned show?

4) Research Prospect Herd Sires

In short when you’re looking for a new herd sire, go through steps 1-3 with every prospect buck. Ask yourself these important questions:

1) What are your herd goals?

2) What are your herd strengths and weaknesses?
What areas in your herd need the most improvement?
Is your prospect buck correct in his conformation?
Are his strengths complementary to the improvements you want to make in your herd?

3) What kind of records are available on the prospect buck?
Is he healthy?
Is he registered? 
What kind of producer is his dam?
What does his sire's dam look like?
If he is a Sr. buck, what does his progeny look like?
If he has siblings, are they quality producers?

Knowing the answer to all or at least most of these questions can help you narrow down the choices for a new herd sire that will continue improving your herd letting you grow as a breeder.