Although the Nigerian Dwarf Goat is used today primarily as a dairy goat, it was originally a dual purpose breed. They were imported to the U.S. from Africa between the 1930s and 1950s.
Several reasons have been given as to why they were originally brought here, aside from the uses of dairy and meat:
They are small and hardy with a gentle disposition and due to their lovable personalities, many people breed their goats for the companionship and pleasure these little fellows offer. Nigerians have a calm, even temperament making them ideal for children, the elderly, and disabled. Even breeding bucks can be handled with ease.
The Nigerian Dwarf can give 1 -2 quarts per day of high (5% to 6%) butterfat content milk. This is good not only for drinking, but also for cheeses, butter, and soap. They are perfect for small scale production where a year-round supply of a moderate amount of milk is the goal because they can be milked for up to 10 months.
Newborns weigh about 2 pounds and grow to about 75 pounds as an adult. These “knee-high” miniatures do not require the space their larger counterpart dairy goats need, making the care for them practical for the small farm owner. There are currently about 3,500 registered with the American Goat Society and are listed as “recovering” on the American Livestock Breed conservancy list.
The goats of GHR are not disbudded (having their horns removed) and are not given vaccines.
One of our goat breeds is the highly intelligent and good natured San Clemente Island (SCI) goat. They are a critically endangered feral breed on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy list. We keep them for their sweet milk and to preserve the Ahrensberg bloodline. Although they have a good deal of excellent tasting meat, with so few left, the primary goal is preserving the breed. The SCI goats have had a sad history, but we hope to be part of a brighter future.
San Clemente Island is comprised of 57 square miles and located off the coast of California. It was taken over by the U.S. Navy in 1934 as a training base and a place for an airstrip. The goat population had been thriving on the island since around 1875, when in the 1950s and 1960s deer and pigs were imported for hunting. In the 1970s these animals crossed the line into overpopulation and the island began to turn desolate. Here’s a brief history of the goats’ struggle for survival:
Currently – Several states in the U.S. and a handful of breeders in Canada are home to the remaining worldwide population of less than 500 goats.
Our donkeys are not an endangered heritage breed, but they are truly a blessing. Not only are they great companions for us because of their wonderful personalities, but they have also provided protection to our goats by keeping predators at bay. They have really bonded with our goat herds and become part of our family; guarding us as well as the goats.
We currently have 5 donkeys whose names are Faith, Hope, Love, Mercy, and Justice. Grace, our blind namesake donkey, passed away in early 2012 from cancer.
Strange Fact: Did you know that a mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse? And if it’s reversed, a male horse crossed with a female donkey, the resulting foal is called a hinny. Both mules and hinnies are born sterile, meaning they can’t reproduce.