STATUS IN THE WILD: Domesticated, but the breed is considered rare
RANGE: West Africa, found worldwide
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
This breed of goats stands seventeen to twenty-one inches tall and averages forty to seventy-five pounds. They have rectangular-shaped pupils, which increases peripheral perception. Both males and females can grow horns and beards. They are ruminant animals with four-chambered stomachs, and grow no upper teeth in the fronts of their mouths.
The scientific name for goat, “Capra,” is the root of the word “capricious,” meaning whimsical, mischievous, and quirky. They are also quite hardy, possessing the ability to survive, adapt, and reproduce in the harsh African environment.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
A male goat, called a buck or billy, can reach puberty by three months of age. A female, called a doe or nanny, typically reaches puberty between four and eight months of age. The gestation period in females is between 145 and 150 days, so two deliveries a year is possible. Litter size is between one and five kids, with typically two to three kids. Milk production ranges between one to eight pounds a day. The average lifespan of the Nigerian Dwarf Goat is ten to fifteen years.
Goats are social animals and live in herds. They establish a hierarchy by continually testing each other, which rarely results in injury.
The Nigerian Dwarf Goat originated in West Africa, but domesticated herds can be found worldwide. They are presently uncommon in wild herds.
For survival, goats have adapted to rocky terrain, lowland plains, and alpine regions.
Their natural diet is grasses and brush. They are NOT able to eat tin cans, a common but false myth.