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Please note: On Wednesday April 24 at Franklin Park Zoo and Thursday, April 25 at Stone Zoo, volunteers, zoo employees and local emergency responders will take part in routine animal escape exercises. While the exercise is occurring, guests have the opportunity to participate in the evacuation portion, and may be asked to move to certain areas within the Zoo for a brief period of time (not to exceed 10 minutes). These exercises are an important part of our preparedness training, and we appreciate your participation and understanding. If you have any questions about what to expect, please don't hesitate to contact us at 617-989-2000 or

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Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Capra hircus

Goats Gallery

About the Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Class: Mammalia  
Order: Artiodactyla  
Family: Bovidae

Nigerian dwarf goats are noted for their wide range of color patterns, which include combinations of black, brown or gold mixed with white, as well as for their easy-going temperaments. These herbivorous miniature goats are of West African descent. They have been domesticated as dairy goats and can be found all over the world. Highly adaptable, Nigerian dwarf goats can live in climates ranging from cold to hot and dry.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat Facts

Nigerian dwarf goats are miniature goats that are found in a large variety of colors, with any combination of black, white, brown and silver. Coloration of offspring may vary from its parents. They have short tails, upward facing ears, and short to medium length hair.

Males and females are similar in size. Reaching an average of 20 inches, and weighing 75 pounds.

Goats mostly eat grasses, plants and parts of small shrubs or trees. These browsers can even eat poison ivy or poison oak. Goat owners take advantage of this, letting goats clear plants that other animals won’t eat. They can improve pastures by removing weedy undergrowth and invasive plant species.

Nigerian dwarf goats don’t have a specific breeding season; they mate at various times throughout the year. Males reach sexual maturity before females, maturing as soon as three months after birth. Females can start breeding at seven to eight months after birth. 

145-153 days
Number of offspring: One to four kids, weighing roughly two pounds each at birth.

Nigerian dwarf goats are raised for milk production but also kept as pets. They are sociable, friendly, and can thrive in almost any place. These goats are herd animals and can readily share space with other farm animals. Because of this, they tend to be friendly towards humans.

Role in their habitat:
In captivity they are often used for milk production.

Nigerian dwarf goats are originally from western Africa, but the breed has largely been developed in the United States. Today they can be found in wooded pastures and domestic farmland worldwide.

Median Life Expectancy:

15 years

Fun Facts:

  • Nigerian dwarf goats are raised for milk production but also as pets. If properly cared for, they are sociable and can thrive in most places.
  • They produce up to two quarts of milk per day. Nigerian dwarf goat milk is popular due to its high butterfat content. 
  • Poison ivy and poison oak do not affect them and they will readily eat it, along with many invasive plant species.