How We Chose Our Nigerian Dwarf Goats
We were wanting our own source of milk to drink, make butter, make candies, make cheeses, lotions and soaps for our homestead. We looked for registered stock, with strong milk lines and they had to have been from a tested herd.
Additionally, we wanted to start with stock we felt would be as close to the "ideal" standard as we could find and afford. What we learned that in reality, accomplishing this is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of time and work!
In a perfect world, it would be so much easier to buy a fully grown goat. You could see their udder, their teats and attachments, judge their conformation, taste their milk, see how they milk, and to be able to see all of the other preferable and not-so preferable traits before deciding on buying a particular goat. That would make things so much easier!
Just because a goat's pedigrees look good on paper, that does not always mean they will pass on all of those desirable traits to their offspring. We can only hope they will. It's something like a box of chocolates - you never are quite sure of what you'll get.
We want to breed for traits that will improve our herd based upon the strengths and weaknesses we can see. We hope to either enhance or correct the traits through selectively breeding the does to bucks that have lineage that may correct or enhance certain traits. (We are looking at linear appraisals for 2020 to get an idea of where we are at with our foundation Nigerian Dwarf Does and our Nigerian Dwarf Bucks.)
Our first goal is to produce healthy kids. Secondly, we are breeding for strong milkers with good udders and attachments, that meet the ideals and standards of the Nigerian Dwarf that also have good temperaments. (We don't want much do we?)
In 2018, we began owning and breeding Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We are in no means experts or even close to it. I have spent considerable time reading and researching goats and the Nigerian Dwarf Goat breed. I've taken courses through Langston University and I am a Certified Producer for both Dairy Goats and Meat Goats. (I have enough book knowledge to be dangerous!) Everyday is a new experience with Nigerian Dwarf goats!
We are members of the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA), the American Goat Society (AGS), the Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association (ADGA), and the Michigan Dairy Goat Society (MDGS). Each group provides access to a lot of sound information that pertains to raising, milking, showing, genetics, and so much more. We subscribe to a couple of goat publications, we observe our goats, watch videos and when the opportunity presents itself, we talk with other goat owners in addition to our veterinarian's advice and our direct knowledge of raising goats.
We are striving to earn a reputation within the industry as being an honest, knowledgeable, fair-minded breeder of Nigerian Dwarfs who strive to produce healthy, disease-free, quality stock that is of strong milk lines and of which meets show-quality standards.
At this time, we have a closed herd and do not offer buck services. We are looking into the future possibility of providing AI services.
When we chose to raise these sweet little creatures, our main concern in starting our herd was to begin with Nigerian Dwarfs kids that were healthy. We wanted to be sure all of our herd was tested and were negative for CL, CAE, Johne's, TB and Brucellosis.
Swallow Hill Farm, where we purchased our first doe kids, were tested for Johnes and CAE. Bramblestone Farm, where we purchased our buck kids, tested for Johnes, Brucellosis, TB, CAE, and CL.
We had our vet test the kid does we purchased for the additional diseases before bringing the bucks to our herd. We wanted to start our herd with healthy, disease-free stock. All of our herd tested clean in 2018.