Why Choose a Mini-Nubian Goat & Understanding Generations

Why choose a Mini Nubian? It’s the fabulous milk, the vast array of colors, those adorable long ears, Roman noses, inquisitive personalities, and (I’ll say it again) the FABULOUS milk!!! Lots and lots of sweet, creamy and delicious milk from a medium sized goat that requires less room to house, consumes less feed than a full sized goat, is easier to handle, is easy to milk, and are absolutely adorable! Who wouldn’t want that, right? In most cases, I find them to be easier to hand milk than my lovely little Nigerian Dwarf goats, and I get almost as much milk from my Mini Nubians as I do from my full sized goats. Although many official websites tout you’ll get two thirds (2/3) the milk of a full size goat on half (1/2) the feed cost, I’ve got some petite little gals that produce every bit as much as our full sized goats, and have sweet personalities, too!

There are a lot of wonderful breeds out there, and to be honest I own several breeds – all with the end result purpose of breeding the best mini’s around. There’s a reason I own so many, you’ll understand that more when you understand how new lines of minis are developed.

So, how do you choose what’s right for you? Is a Mini Nubian in your future?

Here’s a quick rundown of why I love Mini Nubians, how to understand the generations, and what to look for depending upon your personal wants and needs.

6 week old F6 Purebred Mini Nubian Buckling

F5 Dulce de Leche’s unshaven udder prior to her morning milking. She typically gives us 1/2 gallon every morning before feeding her kids. We’ll get double that once her kids are weaned. Dulce is one of our smallest, sweetest and most productive goats.
F1 Diamond’s Gem’s unshaven udder, also on a 12 hour fill, also producing about a half gallon each morning and will double once her kids are weaned and she’s milked twice per day. Does tend to hold back their milk when they hear the kids calling for breakfast, and most of our kids are dam raised. Gem has a higher percentage of Nubian, so is quite a bit larger than some of our other minis, and is also the most vocal.

What IS a Mini Nubian, and What’s the Difference Between an Experimental, American, or Purebred, Anyway?

A Mini Nubian is dairy goat breed that’s recognized by The Miniature Goat Registry (TMGR) and Miniature Dairy Goat Association (MDGA), both of which we’re members of and highly recommend you get to know them if you embark on the journey of miniature breed goat ownership. Registration assures you of a recorded, verified lineage, and often provides a track record of their ancestral performance in terms of milk production. Not everyone wants or cares about registration, it’s a personal choice we all make, but I’ve found that the careful evaluation of my goat’s lineage shows up in the quality of kids they produce, the amount of milk they produce, and a healthy, strong, productive herd. So for our farm, we’re willing to do the research and invest up front to get the best breeding stock we can.

Mini Nubians begin as a cross between a Nigerian Dwarf buck, and a Nubian doe (not the other way around, as the size of the kids could pose a serious health threat to the doe) which produces the first in a line of generations that ultimately lead to “purebred” minis. We only use registered dairy goats with top quality genetics, proven milk production histories, and excellent breed standard conformation as our farm’s foundation breeders. The offspring of this first pairing are referred to as F1. To achieve an F2 mini, you breed two Mini Nubians, F1 to another F1 (or higher). To achieve an F3, you breed an F2 to an F2 (or higher), and so on up through the generational levels. In any given breeding, the kid will be one generation higher than the lowest of the two parents.

Example: F2 Sire + F6 Dam = F3 Kid or F6 Sire + F4 Dam = F5 Kid etc…

When registered with either TMGR or MDGA, photographs are submitted along with a series of questions that are answered by the registrant, confirming the traits of the doe or buck, and how closely they conform to the breed standard.

Registered F1 and F2’s are placed in the “Experimental Herdbook”. When registered, F3’s, F4’s, and F5’s that meet the breed standard as defined by the registries are listed in the “American Herdbook”. Once the F6 generation is achieved the photos are carefully reviewed upon application for the “Purebred Herdbook” and if the goat conforms to the breed standard, it will be registered as a Purebred pedigree.

Here are a few things we recommend you consider when evaluating this breed as a possible new addition to your farm or family.

  • What generation (F1 through F6+) is right for you? A lower generation doesn’t mean lower quality per se, they can produce just as much milk as the higher generations do and can be just as adorable. They often won’t have the full breed standard conformation (having airplane ears instead of pendulous ears, or a straight nose instead of a Roman nose are great examples and commonly found in lower generations). If comparing apples-to-apples genetically, you’ll often spend less on a lower generation Experimental or American and get a fabulous goat that can even be show quality, so don’t let the generation labels fool you.
  • Is your priority milk production? Breed conformation? Superior genetics? Do you want the temperament of a pet or one that’s feisty and wild? Is the size and feed efficiency important to you? How about ease of handling? Does your goat need to be sized well for small children? Are you looking for a little “goat bling” with fun colors, moonspots, polled or wattles? Budget consciousness? Just looking for a great pet or brush eater and don’t care about milk? Mini Nubians can fit the bill for any of these areas if you ask the questions to select the right fit. If I could go back to my first purchase, the biggest thing I would do differently would be to prioritize these items and choose accordingly.
  • Horns or no horns? Mini Nubians can naturally be polled (without horns) or will grow horns if not disbudded. We were really on the fence about this one initially. We were concerned about defending themselves against wildlife, temperature management, and of course, the pain of disbudding – or much worse, dehorning later in life. We choose to disbud our goats that are not polled within 2 weeks of birth because horns on dairy goats (in our opinion) are far more hazardous than the momentary pain they endure having the horns removed early in life. We strive to do this as humanely as possible, giving them pain meds ahead of the procedure and taking care to minimize any discomfort. Our Vet agrees that it’s in their best interest health-wise, and we know that in the long term goats that have horns are too often hard to rehome so may have a higher incidence of ending up in less than ideal homes or circumstances. Too many goats die from getting their horns stuck in fences, accidentally gouge caretakers, other animals, or small children – most often without malice, but a quick motion of a friendly goat rearing up their head can be the difference between keeping your eye and losing it. Please know, we respect your opinion if you feel differently, but having worked with as many goats as we do, I can assure you that accidents can happen and we love our goats too much to put them, or ourselves, at risk.

So, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right breed of goat. We have a variety of dairy goat breeds, including Nubian, LaMancha, Mini Nubian, (Mini LaManchas coming soon!), and Nigerian Dwarf. We love each breed for different reasons, just like we love each goat for it’s own uniqueness, and have this variety so we can produce our beloved Minis and Dwarfs, and keep our state licensed Creamery going producing artisan cheeses for our customers throughout Idaho! Whatever breed you choose, we’re happy you stopped by our page and hope this information helped you understand just a little more about these wonderful animals!

Published by Eagle's Dell Farm

We're foodies, homesteaders, small farmers, Mini-Nubian and Nigerian Dwarf goat breeders, dog-chicken-duck-and-geese raisers, organic gardeners, cheese makers, soap makers, bakers, bottlers of good things, and preservers of good food! We grow most of what we eat, and share our farm fresh goods at the farmers markets, local specialty stores, and online. Come join us for this ever changing journey as we learn and grow each step of the way!

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