Its been a while since we’ve talked goats on here, so I figured I should break this long-running oversight with a profile of one of my favorite breeds: Nubians! A hardy dairy option, Nubians have more going on than meets the eye. Read on for more.
To start, the name Nubian is actually a tiny bit misleading. This breed actually originated in 19th century England, but garnered its name from the original parentage. The first Nubians stemmed from a cross between Old English Milch (Milk) goat does, and Zariby, Jamnapari and Nubian bucks, usually imported from Egypt, India or in the former case, Russia.
The easiest way to distinguish a Nubian is to look at the head. The nose has a large lump halfway down, giving them a distinctively Roman look. Bell-shaped ears are wide, long and floppy, hanging down almost past their noses when they bend to graze or drink. Hair is short and fine, ranging from reddish brown to black, often with spots or mottling.
One thing the name Nubian does get right, is the breed’s resilience to hot weather. Thanks to their Middle Eastern heritage, the goats can live in hot weather–one of the reasons they have become a favorite in the Southern United States. This characteristic also seems to affect their breeding season, making it exceptionally lengthy.
Nubians are a solidly dual-purpose breed, known both for their milk production, and their meat. In terms of milk, the breed has an almost unrivaled butterfat content, sitting around 5-percent. This is rivaled only by Nigerian Dwarfs, Pigmies and Boers. The trick is though, the higher the butterfat content, the more flavorful the milk, but the less that is produced, meaning Nubians offer a sweet spot between flavor and capacity. This makes them a favorite of small-farm milk producers.
For meat producers, Nubians are a muscular, well-statured breed. Does sit around 30-inches at the withers weighing around 135-pounds, while bucks tower to 35-inches and 175 pounds.
And of course, if your homestead includes kids of the non-hoofed variety, Nubians also make great pets–particularly if you’re keeping them primarily for milk anyway. Outgoing and social, Nubians love being around humans, and will let them know, quite vocally. With an excited bleat, Nubians will greet you on your way to the pen, and run over for a greeting as soon as you enter. Most don’t like their ears touched, but will respond well to pets on the neck and sides.
If this sounds like a breed you’d like to make a farmyard companion, check out blueskyorganicfarms.com for some great options. Do note, however, that goats are herd animals and need companionship. This is why Blue Sky Organic Farms will only sell the goats in pairs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this breed profile–goat rearing is one of my favorite parts of homesteading. For more articles on rearing, what to do with goat milk, and anything else, check out our livestock section here.
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”