DNA drama

Discussion in 'The Chatter Box' started by Goatzrule, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. AlabamaGirl

    AlabamaGirl Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2020
    I Pm'd you.

    That milk must be very sweet!

    Still shocking to hear! I'm glad I joined this forum, or else I would've thought ND's weren't worth milking!

    This would be very exciting! I think it would be nice to have a little ring for the miniature breeds! That'd be cute!

  2. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    It has nothing to do with breed "newness". I got into dairy goats long after Nigies were already well-established, so to me all breeds have the same seniority and I arrived at my opinions without any outside influence from other show people (in fact most of the people I know show Nigerians!). If Golden Guernseys ever get added to the ADGA herd books, I don't expect too see much prejudice against them for being "new". It's just that miniature and standard dairy goats are very different animals and the difference is obvious even to amateurs.

    I would love to see proof because outside of the elite show goats, Nigerians just can't keep up production. I've yet to meet a "backyard" Nigie that could produce enough milk to supply a family or stay in lactation over an entire winter, whereas I've met many subpar backyard milkers from every standard breed that could do both of those things. If Nigies are to earn respect as serious dairy animals, then even the subpar backyard specimens need to generally be capable of maintaining this bare minimum standard of milk production. So far I just haven't seen it, but maybe someday I will.
    AlabamaGirl likes this.

  3. Morning Star Farm

    Morning Star Farm Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2018
    Yes, I have seen many Nigerians who weren't "name brand" but still produced a good 4-6lbs each day. Some of them do very well in shows against the higher priced goats while others aren't very pretty to look at, but are still dependable milkers. On the flip side, I've seen many purebred standard breed does who can't milk enough to feed their own kids, let alone produce larger quantities. A lot of it is genetics, but a great part of it also depends on how the goat is managed.
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  4. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Yes, it's true that there are exceptionally good and exceptionally bad animals in any breed. I'm not disputing that. What I AM disputing is the idea that the majority of Nigerian Dwarfs are capable of producing 4-6 lbs/day (which in my opinion is still too paltry to be considered a proper working animal) year round. If the majority of Nigerians are not capable of that bare minimum then I personally consider them a hobby or toy breed until such time as the majority of them are up to par on production. There are many standard dairy goats who aren't up to par either, but I'd say the majority are quite capable of producing at least 6-8 lbs/day (bare minimum) without the need for re-freshening every fall. I call this a working animal. There's a reason ranchers don't buy Nigerian Dwarfs to nurse orphaned calves. Yet they can pick up almost any lactating standard breed from the sale barn and she'll be up to the task. I think I trust the cattle ranchers' experience on this one!

    Don't get me wrong--I like Nigerians and I wish they were everything people tell me they are. They're adorably cute and as common as dirt around here so if I thought they were excellent homestead goats I'd be the first to recommend them to beginners trying their hand at dairy goats for the first time. Unfortunately the pie-in-the-sky super-milker stories have burned a lot of beginners who ended up having to buy supplemental milk from people like me. I only keep one goat at a time in lactation over the winter and I always cut her back to once/day milking, yet I still have enough left over to sell. This level of performance is the minimum for what I consider to be a "working animal". When it comes to breed expectations, it's all about what the majority is capable of, not about what the exceptional individuals can do, and this is where I think Nigerian aficionados rather overestimate their breed's capabilities. I don't necessarily think it's intentional. After all, love is just a little bit blind. ;)

    (I hope I'm not stepping on too many toes here. I like Nigerian Dwarfs and I've even seen some outstanding Nigie/standard crosses that I thought would make phenomenal pack or harness goats, and I'm sure many of those crosses would be excellent homestead milkers. I have nothing against the breed, but I don't think they belong in the same class as standard breeds at dairy goat shows. Dairy showing is all about performance, and animals should show against like animals. You can't put a miniature horse in a Grand Prix jumping class even if for his size he jumps higher than a full-sized horse. There's a very real proportional difference that can't be ignored. Showing standard and miniature breeds against each other is a disservice to both types and I believe competition between the two is partly to blame for Nigie breeders' tendency to exaggerate their goats' abilities. If they didn't have to rate their goats against standard breeds, perhaps it would be easier to evaluate them honestly and appreciate them for what they are and not for what they are compared to Saanens or Alpines or LaManchas.)
  5. wheel-bear-o

    wheel-bear-o Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2020
    I am not sure what you would need to hear to consider them adequate homestead animals by your sensibilities (and I'm not offended!!) but my first year with goats on our homestead we milked one single Nigerian doe and had all the milk we wanted for three hard-working adult people, plus cheese, yogurt, and soap. They are excellent homestead animals in my opinion, and even moreso for those who have physical limitations or space difficulties for handling full-sized stock, but I will say the main reason they're not for everyone is because the butterfat is actually a little high for those whole primarily need fluid milk. (My goats are capable of milking through, but I do dry them off in the winter because I personally don't like milking when it is subzero.)

    That said, I stand by my statement that they do have a different range of strengths and weaknesses than a standard dairy breed and probably shouldn't be measured by the same metrics.
    Damfino, HMNS, Feira426 and 2 others like this.
  6. Morning Star Farm

    Morning Star Farm Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2018
    No, I would not recommend Nigerians for orphaned calves! Though I wouldn't call that a true test of a dairy goat, I think it all depends on what you want. Some people want dairy goats, but wouldn't know what to do with 2 gallons per day from a Nubian. So a Nigerian is a perfect dairy goat for them. With their size, they tend to be easier to handle. Any goat can have a stubborn streak. Unfortunately, their size has also helped to mar their reputation. You are right when you say a lot of Nigerians aren't good producers. Because they are so easy and popular as pets, there are a lot more backyard Nigerian breeders than for the standard breeds. And they are mostly concerned only with making money from kids not breeding for good production. I see a lot of those. I'm not trying to knock people who only have a few goats for milk and kids, I'm talking about the ones who are just in it for $$. That is why it is more important to have registered, proven animals if you want milk, than it would be for a standard breed. In that, the Nigerian is inferior to a larger goat where you have a better chance of milk production from an unregistered goat. But there are still many, many affordable quality Nigerians who I consider great homestead goats.
    And BTW, I would love to compete in a Grand Prix with my minis!! I think we'd have a good chance! ;) Just don't call them ponies, lol.
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  7. Calistar

    Calistar Well-Known Member

    So I don't understand where the disdain towards Nigerians in the show ring is coming from, or the opinion that they don't belong there because they can't keep up with the production of a full sized doe. Now, I am a performance herd but I do DHI and LA, no showing, so maybe I have it wrong. But isn't the point of a show to judge conformation? Obviously udder is a huge part of that but udder size/quality does not necessarily always reflect production. Why is it unacceptable for an exceptional ND to place higher than conformationally inferior standard breed, even if the standard may produce more? Don't we have the DHI program to judge their production?
  8. Goat Whisperer

    Goat Whisperer Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2018

    That's why judging is based on the ADGA scorecard. ;)

    Having won BSDIS, BJDIS, and BUIS with my Nigerians, I HIGHLY disagree.

    I should mention, these shows are rather large shows, several with 600+ goats entered with herds that have produced National Champions.

    I worked my rear-end off to get where I am at. ADGA has a unified scorecard. All the breeds are judged with this scorecard. I can tell you; the Nigerian breed has had nothing handed to them.

    Since ALL the goats are judges against the unified scorecard, why should my doe not be eligible to compete for BIS? The Nigerian breed has grown leaps and bounds. I have seen herds make more progress in a short period than standard breeders who have been at it 20+ years.

    Of course the majority of the other breeds will out-milk a Nigerian. I will not argue that.

    However, if that is your criteria shouldn’t Saanens win every BIS? The are the most productive breed after all. I have seen a many does with horribly attached udders from carrying too much milk. Your best udder is not necessarily the one that produces the most milk. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a 11 year old Saanen in the ring. I have seen some spectacular Nigerians in the ring at that age, some even winning BIS. I have also seen Nubians sweep the show ring. Absolutely stunning animals. However I’ve also seen milk records of these animals only producing 7# of milk a day. Production records are important.

    Lets not forget that it’s been shown that Nigerians tend to have a lower SCC than the larger breeds. Hypercalcemia, toxemia/ketosis are also far rarer in Nigerians VS the larger breeds.

    Every breed is different and has its advantages and disadvantages. The Nigerian Dwarf breeders have done a remarkable job, even well renowned judges have said the same thing. Yes, there are some issues right now but I can assure you it is not a representation of the breed. If people think Nigerians are the only breed with DNA issues popping up, they are lying to themselves. The other breeds tend to have a quieter crowd and honestly it’s easier for a “breeder” to refund a $500 goat than a $5000 goat.
  9. Sfgwife

    Sfgwife Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2018
    North Cakalaki

    To me... i have mini nubians and a pb nubian and had a fb nigi... the nigi was more difficult to handle for me when she did not want to do something i asked of her. She was so small that it was hard to me to hold her after i had caught her. Then to get her to wherever was a pita for me. I have neck and back degenerative disease and my minis and pb nubian are by far easier for me to handle than the nigi was. Even though they are bigger animals. Even sometimes one of my minis is a grump and she is hard to get to go where i need her to. The height is what made it hard for me with the bending.
    Damfino and AlabamaGirl like this.
  10. Nommie Bringeruvda Noms

    Nommie Bringeruvda Noms Active Member

    Nov 7, 2019
    Oh, boy. Mine are Nigoras. In order get the breed to qualify, we have to get them to F6. All this mess with the ND DNA mess is quite possibly going to completely screw the pooch, for us too, isn't it?
    AlabamaGirl likes this.
  11. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    That is where the responsible breeder will shine- he (she) will further the Nigerians to become consistently good milkers, not just be a cute ornament in the barn. If they are messing with the registrations, that is slapping the responsible breeders in the face.
    Damfino, HMNS and AlabamaGirl like this.
  12. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    The last show I was at all the Nigerian goats looked like fat dachshunds. Now that the breed is so concerned with body capacity, they are losing their length of leg.
    They are required to have enough clearance to put a milking machine under them. So,don't do that anymore.
    There were beautiful delicate nigies 20 years ago that truly reflected a miniature dairy goat. I haven't seen that much lately.

    The main thing about creating a breed is that they have to breed true within reasonable expectations. I would suggest backtracking to those older sires again and bringing the dairy quality back to the breed.
  13. HMNS

    HMNS Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2019
    Brown County, Ohio
    The Ripple Effect is crazy!!!

    I will be getting ours tested for peace of mind...better to know where we stand sooner than later. Glad ADGA has finally started DNA-ing...better late than never!!

    I hope ADGA can come up with some type of solution in the near future, tho' I have no idea what that would be, for those animals/people that are affected.

    Good Luck Everyone!!
    Goatzrule and AlabamaGirl like this.
  14. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Well, I tumped over the hornets nest and no mistake! Since I'm already in trouble anyway I might as well poke it a few more times. ;)

    What I need to hear is that MOST (as in the MAJORITY) of Nigerians are capable of doing what yours did--produce 3-4 quarts/day (my estimation of the quantity requirements for 3 people) for as long as you needed milk. I'm glad you had a goat like that! I wish more people around here could find something that could even come close.

    I think this is up for debate! The bending over gets old fast for people with back problems! :p

    There's no such thing as too much butterfat! People who don't like rich milk are weird anyway--we won't count that as a legitimate reason to not want Nigerians. :)
    AlabamaGirl likes this.
  15. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Why not? If they're as excellent producers as everyone keeps telling me (a gallon/day!) then why wouldn't the average Nigerian be just as good as any cast-off Alpine or Nubian from the sale barn? If they're to be considered a true working breed then they need to be able to keep up with actual, you know... work. That's just my opinion.

    This is true. I've had a couple of 2 gallon/day milkers and I didn't like them. I prefer the nice 1 gallon/day milkers who I then cut back to ~2 quarts/day so I can be lazy and only milk in the morning (I hate twice/day milking schedules!). I don't have huge milk needs myself, yet the Nigerians I've encountered can't even keep up with that piffling little amount. I'd be lucky to get 1 quart/day from a single milking and that's just not adequate reward for the bother. If any of my girls dries up to 1 quart/day I give up and dry her off. If she does it again I'll sell her and keep one that can do better. So even though most people don't want a 2 gallon/day milker, it doesn't mean a Nigerian is automatically the perfect goat for them.

    This is a very astute observation. Unfortunately that practice mars not only the breed's reputation but their actual ability as well. This is possibly where the disconnect occurs between breeders who sing the praises of the Nigerian super-milker and those who actually buy them and have to deal with tiny, unmilkable teats, low production, and short lactation.

    I agree with the first part, but I would really like to see proof of the last sentence. So far all the people I've known who purchased Nigies as homestead milkers have ended up having to either buy a lot more of them than they originally planned, or buy extra milk.

    So why haven't you? There are no breed restrictions in Grand Prix. If your minis can jump a full course of 5'3" fences, not only do I want to SEE it, but it's way past time to get on the phone with Guiness Book of World Records and start getting some TV slots! I want video!!! :D
  16. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I don't have any disdain toward Nigerians, I just think they're too different from standard breeds and they deserve their own division. Conformation is vitally important and I've never said otherwise, but actual working ability is vital to be considered a working animal. I'm very tired of hearing about the exceptions that prove the rule. Yes, there are exceptional Nigerians, and apparently 1 gallon/day is pretty exceptional for a Nigerian. I do not consider that exceptional for a working dairy animal. I consider it a baseline minimum (and it typically is for a standard breed). Before I personally would consider Nigerians to be a working dairy breed, I would have to see the average Nigerian delivering that amount. Until then, they are, in my opinion, a toy or hobby breed.

    And there's absolutely nothing wrong with toy/hobby breeds! How many of you folks own pet dogs? Probably most of you! And there is nothing wrong with that. It's not an insult. It's just a different type, with perhaps a different purpose and different strengths. So what's wrong with having separate divisions for separate types? Once again, I'd love to expand miniature dairy breed participation by seeing mini Alpines, Nubians, LaManchas, etc. added to the ADGA herd book. Those breeds are gaining in popularity and I think that's wonderful! I think they need to be recognized and allowed to compete in ADGA shows, but this is where I think it would be very helpful to have separate divisions for mini and standard breeds.
    AlabamaGirl likes this.
  17. Morning Star Farm

    Morning Star Farm Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2018
    Don't give me any new ideas!! We are already approved by Guinness to set two World Jumping Records! If you want to see pictures and videos, feel free to PM me! I have plenty!
    So what I meant by this is, there are some dairies around us who use dairy goats for orphaned calves and what they do is graft the calf right onto the goat. So, obviously a Nigerian would not be tall enough unless they were on a stand. Production wise, I'm not at all familiar with how much calves require, but good Nigerians should be fine there.
    I totally agree with you here. I would not own a Nigerian who gave that little. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with any of those once I got beyond pet quality.
    Yes!! I think too many people are told how wonderful the Nigerian is, then sold a pet quality goat. It happened to me when I got started and I had to learn that not all Nigerians are like that. The good Nigerians are like a different breed and they are the truly wonderful milk producers.
    AlabamaGirl, HMNS and Damfino like this.
  18. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    By that argument, good milking Boers could be worked into the ADGA scorecard and that would make it "fair". But would adding Boers to the scorecard automatically make them comparable to other goats in the show? I don't think so. Most Boers can produce as much milk as a Nigerian, and a few can even rival the large dairy breeds. Does that put Boers on equal competitive footing with dairy goats? In my opinion, no.

    I would never dispute this (and I haven't!). Honestly, I think most champions in the dairy goat world have worked their butts off regardless of breed. And I don't remotely think the Nigerian breed has had anything "handed" to them. If anything, they've had to work harder than anyone because there was no doubt a lot of prejudice against them in the beginning. The hard work is great and I wish I could personally observe that it has paid off for the breed as a whole, including the ones that trickle down to families who just need milk.

    That's actually my entire argument. They are in a different league and should be judged differently as a result. (Just my opinion of course)

    It's telling to me when I walk down the barn aisles after the show while people are milking out. Someone will milk two Nigerians into a pail before dumping, but the other breeds all fill the bucket or even need to have it dumped twice for one goat.

    No, and that would be ridiculous. I never said production was the only criteria, nor did I even say anything close to that. I simply believe that production is a vital sticking point if we're talking about working dairy goats.

    Of course it's not. But, you have to admit that it's much easier to carry around 2-4 lbs. of milk than 8-10 lbs. so observing the true test of the attachments can be rather difficult on a lower-production breed. Carrying weight is the true test of the attachments--not just their appearance. A weak ligament may not show unless you get that high production to test it.

    And you probably won't see one unless they can improve those feet and pasterns! People love the tall, laid-back Saanens for packgoats, but I'm always telling them, "Look at the feet!!"

    I've seen most other breeds at one time or another still producing and even showing and winning well into their teens, but not Saanens. There is definitely more to a dairy goat than just the production and I hope no one gets the impression that that's all I care about, because it's absolutely not!

    Those are excellent traits.

    I can't dispute that!

    I am not really interested in the Nigerian DNA issues. I didn't even know it was a particular problem in that breed. I assumed it was an issue with all the breeds. The representation I haven't liked in the Nigerian breed specifically is the proliferation of pet goats being sold as "dairy". It burns me up that this could be a problem with any breed that people consider "dairy". If the Nigerian breed is going to step up and claim the title of "dairy goat" then a strong majority of them need to actually deliver on that claim.
    AlabamaGirl likes this.
  19. NDinKY

    NDinKY Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    If Nigerians are 1/3 the size of a standard dairy goat, eat 1/3 the feed of a standard dairy goat, and take up 1/3 the space of a standard dairy goat then why in the heck would you expect them to produce the same amount of milk as a standard dairy goat??? That’s just not a fair comparison.

    There are definitely a lot of pet quality NDs. We’ve not milk tested yet (hope to next year) but we have so much milk that a lot of it goes to our pigs. We simply cannot drink it all from our small herd.
  20. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    When I was young my dad had a girl that had a single buck kid and then milked for 9 years. She ranged just below or above a gallon a day depending on the time of year and she never saw a speck of grain in her entire life.

    I have one right now that I could start milking and she would produce well without ever kidding.

    I've never seen a Nigerian that can milk though more than 8 months...
    Damfino likes this.