Anglo-Nubian Goats. Everything you need to know about the Nubian Goat.
If you’re looking for an all-around breed of goat that can be used multiple ways, then the Nubian just might be for you. Nubian goats are really pretty and come in a wide range of colors. They’re easy to find since they’re one of the most common goat breeds out there.
Learn everything that you need to know about Nubian goats below.
Nubian Goat History and Origins
Today’s Nubian goat is the result of crossing the Old English Milch Goat with goats that were imported from India, Russia and Egypt. The imported goats were Zariby and Nubian goats.
The English goats were productive milk goats and were crossed with the larger imported goats to create a larger framed milk goat.
Nubian goats can be called Anglo-Nubians, but in the U.S., they are most commonly referred to simply as Nubians. Nubians were brought to America with English settlers. They were used as a source of both meat and milk during the settler’s travels and colonization.
The breed wasn’t officially established in the U.S. until 1913, when the breed was recognized.
Nubian goats are named after the Nubian desert in northern Sudan. Some of the original Nubian bucks that were imported to create the breed had long lop ears like the Nubian today. Since much of the breed’s foundation came from the hot and arid desert, Nubians today are quite heat-tolerant.
One of the first things that you’ll notice about Nubians is their long ears. Nubian ears hang down from the face. They are not erect. The ears point outward at the tips, keeping the ears off of the face.
Nubian ears are long. If you hold them flat to the face along the muzzle, they will generally extend past the mouth.
You’ll also notice the distinct Roman nose on Nubians. The Roman nose produces a rounded, convex face. This is more noticeable and pronounced in males than females.
The Roman nose and floppy ears make Nubians easy to identify, even for the novice goat-owner.
Are Nubian goats friendly?
Nubians are known for being extremely docile and friendly. They love affection and are quick to seek out human companionship.
We have a couple of Nubian crosses that are extremely sweet. They’re always the first at the gate, wanting to see what we’re doing. They’re curious and really enjoy spending time with us. When we are out in the pasture with them, they’ll just come hang out where we are and are perfectly content.
I’ve also noticed that they’re the more docile goats at feeding time. Even sweet goats can become aggressive at feeding time. Goats will often head butt each other to try to fight over feed. Our Nubian crosses are the only two goats that we own that are content to share feed with anyone and rarely get aggressive over feed.
How big is a Nubian goat?
It’s important to note that there is a large variance in the size of Nubians. Anglo-Nubians are very popular and are widely kept. This has led to a massive population and not all breeders hold the same standards of what a Nubian goat ‘should’ be.
Some populations of Nubians fall on the smaller side, weighing between 130-175 pounds. These Nubians are usually around 30-35 inches tall at the shoulder.
Other Nubian goats are quite large, weighing between 240-300 pounds. The Anglo-Nubian Goat Society states that Nubian goats should be larger framed and heavier.
Males tend to be larger and taller than females. When Nubians are raised primarily for milk, they tend to weigh less, even if they are large framed. When Nubians are bred more for meat, they are fleshier and weigh more.
All Nubians have fast growth rates and will reach their mature size faster than other breeds.
Nubian Goat Colors
It’s possible to get nearly any color or color combination in Nubians. Most Nubians have some red coloring or mottling, but it’s not a requirement by far. The breed can come in just about any color imaginable.
The coat is made up of short and fine hairs. These short, fine hairs are glossy and sleek. They don’t get long hair in the winter like some other goat breeds, but you may notice them develop a thick undercoat in the winter.
The hair on does is very soft and sleek while the hair on bucks tends to be a little harsher, but still short and sleek.
Do Nubian goats have horns?
Yes and no. Many dairy goat breeders prefer to raise polled (hornless) goats since they are safer to handle and easier to manage. If you’ve had goats that have horns, you’ll know how much of a pain it can be when they get their heads caught in the fence.
If you haven’t had goats, trust me when I say that it’s a pain! Goats will stick their heads through the fence if they can to eat on the other side of it. They’ll do this even if they have horns. Since goat horns curl back over their head, they can usually get their heads through the fence with ease, but then find their heads caught when they try to pull them back out.
Goats without horns are so much easier to manage. You won’t have to worry about Nubians getting their heads caught in the fence, which can make them easy targets for predators. A goat that gets its head caught in the fence is vulnerable to being attacked. It will make a fuss until you come get its head out, which can attract predators. And, since its head is stuck, it can’t run away or defend itself.
Thankfully, since many Nubians are polled, you won’t have that problem. Nubians can safely keep both sides of your fence cleaned up without getting their heads caught.
If you happen to get Nubians that do have horns, you can disbud baby goats to prevent them from growing horns.
My advice to you when looking at Nubian goats: look for ones that are naturally polled. It will make your life so much easier!
How long do Nubian goats live?
Nubian goats are long-lived. On average, they’ll live 15-18 years.
Don’t be surprised if the occasional Nubian lives for 20 years or more.
What are Nubian goats good for?
Nubians are a dual-purpose breed. They can be used for both meat and milk production. They are also used to produce hides and are used as the occasional pack animal.
Their usefulness makes them a perfect candidate for almost any situation.
Nubians are extremely friendly and fond of their owners. Their love of human affection makes them wonderful goats to keep if you have small children or just want to keep a couple of goats around as pets and brush control.
How much milk does a Nubian goat produce?
Since Nubians have been bred to produce both meat and milk, they aren’t the most productive dairy goat breed out there. With that being said, they still produce a large amount of milk.
Nubians will produce about 5 pounds of milk per day. (Milk is usually measured in pounds rather than gallons) One gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 pounds. Therefore, Nubians produce a little over half a gallon of milk per day.
The milk from Nubian goats is rich, which makes up for the lesser quantity. Nubian milk has more butterfat in it than most other dairy goat breeds. Nubian does will have anywhere from 4-5% butterfat in their milk, with some does producing even more butterfat.
The richness of the milk gives it a better flavor and makes it more suitable for making dairy products like butter and cheese.
Nubian Goats Pros and Cons
There are many reasons to own Nubian goats, and not very many reasons not to! Anglo-Nubians are hardy and well suited to many uses. If you’re looking for an all-around breed that can check boxes for meat production, milk production, friendliness and beauty, then the Nubian is the goat for the job.
Anglo-Nubian does are very prolific and will produce babies like nobody’s business. Most Nubian does will have twins or triplets, with some does being overachievers and having quadruplets. It’s rare for them to have singles, so be prepared for multiples.
One of the best traits of the breed can also be one of it’s downfalls. Nubians are very friendly and love attention from you. It’s great when you’re out there with them since they’re over the top sweet. However, they can be vocal when they aren’t getting attention from you.
They may stand at the gate and scream for you to come love on them. It can sound endearing that they want so much attention, but it’s a trait that can quickly become annoying. If you’re raising goats with neighbors close by, consider asking breeders if their Nubians are vocal. If they are, keep looking. You and your neighbors will thank me.
Another positive trait of the breed is that they are very tolerant of warm climates. Many dairy goat breeds are better suited to cold climates, so if you live somewhere warm and still want to raise dairy goats, Nubians will fit the bill. Their long ears help them to shed body heat, but they are also more sensitive to cold temperatures.
If you live somewhere where temperatures get cold frequently, make sure that you have somewhere warm for your goats to go. Nubians won’t get a long, thick coat in the winter to help them stay warm and their ears can become damaged by cold air.
Breeding Nubian Goats
Both bucks and does mature quickly and can reproduce as early as seven weeks. Of course, breeding at this age is not a good idea. Does should be 8 months old before they are bred to make sure that their body can handle the pregnancy.
Breeding does too young will stunt their growth and can lead to problems during pregnancy that can injure the developing kids or the mom (or both).
Although breeding bucks young doesn’t come with the same problems as breeding does too young, it’s still a good idea to hold off until they are 8 months old as well. Bucks that are bred too early will have reduced fertility rates and it can stunt their growth also.
Nubians are very fertile and easy breeders. Most Nubians don’t require assistance and natural mating can occur successfully, with many does breeding successfully the first cycle.
The breed is known to remain fertile long after many other goat breeds are too old to breed.
Nubian Goat Breeding Season
The breeding season will vary somewhat depending on the climate, but generally Nubians are short day breeders. This means that as the amount of daylight starts to lessen, they will start to come into heat.
Expect does to come into heat at the end of summer and continue to cycle through mid-winter.
Nubian Goat Price
Nubians are easy to find since they are such a popular breed. Since they’re so popular, there’s a big difference in the prices that you’ll see Nubians fetching. Some goats will be as cheap as $100, while others can cost $300+.
The better quality the goat is, the more you can expect to pay for it. Reputable breeders will make sure that their goats are well-bred, healthy, vaccinated and registered. All of this costs them, and therefore raises the price of their goats.
It’s always a good idea to purchase the best quality goat that you can afford. The better quality the goat is, the less likely that you’ll be spending money on vet bills and having health issues with your goat.
When you’re looking at Nubians to buy, look for the following signs that the goat isn’t healthy:
- a dull coat
- disinterest in humans
All of these are signs that there may be an underlying health problem. If you notice any of these, stay away. It’s much better to purchase a healthy goat than to try to doctor up one that has health problems. You also don’t want to bring an unhealthy goat home to an existing goat herd, where it can spread the illness to other goats.
Raising Nubian Goats
Raising Nubians is straightforward. They enjoy your company and attention, which makes handling them easy, even if they are big. They’re willing to please and intelligent, making them easy to train.
I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating. Polled Nubians don have horns, so you won’t have to worry about them getting their heads caught in fences. Trust me when I say that this makes raising goats so. much. easier. Hornless Nubians will be able to keep your fence row nice and tidy without getting their heads hung up every hour.
It’s a really great all-purpose breed. If you want to raise goats that you can both milk and use for meat, then Nubians are the perfect fit. Their docile temperaments make them perfect for novice goat owners.
Tips for Nubian Goat Care
Nubian goats are hardy, but they still require care and attention from you to thrive. The most productive Nubians are well taken care of and healthy. If you have experience raising goats, then Anglo-Nubians won’t likely be much different than what you’ve raised previously.
If you’re looking to raise goats for the first time, then there are some quick tips that I’m going to share with you that will make raising goats much easier.
Goats of all breeds need to have a dry shelter to escape the elements from. Most goats don’t really like to get wet and will seek out a dry place to hang out during rain. This is good for you, considering goats can develop feet problems if they are in muddy pastures too long (more on that below).
Make sure that the shelter has at least three sides and protects them from wind and rain. The floor of the shelter also needs to be dry even if there are heavy downpours outside. A wet floor defeats the purpose of having a goat shelter.
The shelter also needs to be large enough to provide each goat enough room to lay down and move around comfortably in the shelter.
Nubians are very heat tolerant, but they may need some help staying warm in the winter. If temperatures get too cool in the winter, add some heat to your shelter. You can add heat lamps to provide some additional warmth. Remember, they won’t get long hair in the winter and their ears are prone to injury if they get too cold.
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Buy heat lamps for your shelter here
Luckily, Nubians are a little bit easier to contain than some other breeds. They are large enough that they wont squeeze through every small hole in the fence like pygmy goats. They will still test your fences regularly, so keeping fences in good shape is a must-do. A fallen tree or a hole in a fence will be discovered almost immediately, and will result in escaped goats.
For horned goats, I would recommend a V fence that has holes small enough that goats can’t get their heads through it. This fence will save you time and stress if you have horned goats, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
If you’re raising polled Nubians, you can have plain livestock fencing with larger square holes. Your goats will be able to get their heads through the fence, but you won’t have to worry about them getting their heads caught.
I don’t recommend using barbed wire to create fencing for goats. Goats will squeeze through all sorts of gaps, including barbed wire. I recently read an extension article where they tested out using various combinations of fencing for goats. In the article, it mentioned using 9 strands of barbed wire for goats. 9 strands! And to top it off, they reported that goats still managed to get out of it occasionally.
For the price of running 9 strands of barbed wire, you can easily purchase a sturdier fencing option. I get that hilly land is hard to fence in with goat fencing or livestock fencing. For land that is excessively hilly, consider running electric wire fencing. It’s safer than barbed wire, easy to run and your goats will be much less likely to try to squeeze through it.
Buy electric fencing supplies here
Goats are browsers, which means that they prefer to consume broad-leafed plants over grasses. Goats will eat pasture grass though if it’s available to them.
You may have heard that ‘goats will eat anything’ and that’s not true. Their upper lip is split and is prehensile. Goats can ‘grab’ and feel things with their lips, which is how they explore the world. That’s probably part of where the saying they’ll eat anything comes from. They don’t actually eat anything.
In fact, goats can be quite picky when it comes to what they’ll eat. Goats will choose the most nutritious parts of a plant to eat and then move on to the next plant. If they’re raised with sheep or other grazing livestock, they’ll eat the shrubby plants in the pasture that grazing animals pass up.
Goats love to eat feed, but this should only be provided to them in moderation. The majority of their diet needs to come from grasses, forages and hay.
Always provide a fresh source of water and loose goat minerals for your goats.
Buy goat minerals and mineral feeders here
Nubians are a healthy breed, but they can develop health problems just like other goat breeds. Thankfully, most health problems can be avoided with proper care.
I mentioned that you should always keep loose goat minerals out for your goats. Goats require minerals in different amounts than other livestock species. They can develop copper and selenium deficiencies if you don’t provide them with these minerals.
Don’t set out a general salt block that’s intended for any livestock for your goats. Although they will more than likely use it, it won’t provide them with the right mineral blend and can lead to deficiencies. Only give them mineral blends that are developed specifically for goats.
Nubians can develop hoof rot, a condition commonly seen in goats raised in the U.S. Nubians thrive in hot and dry climates and much of the U.S. is cooler and wetter than where they would naturally thrive. Hoof rot is an infection that is caused by microorganisms that live in wet soils. These microorganisms get in between the toes of the goat and cause problems.
Luckily, hoof rot is easy to prevent and treat.
Nubians are also susceptible to barber pole worm infestations. It’s a good idea to check your goats for barber pole worms frequently with a quick FAMACHA score. Don’t worm your goats as a precaution since this can lead to resistant populations of the worm.
Monitor your goats for overall health. Nubians should be active with shiny coats. If you notice a goat that is lethargic, limping or having other issues, try to determine the cause and treat it as quickly as possible. Goats are good at hiding when there is an issue and won’t show signs of being ill until they are pretty bad off.
Nubian Breed Associations
For more information about the Nubian breed or to locate good breeders, look up the following organizations. You can find more detailed information about the breed and find registered Nubian breeders near you.
International Nubian Breeders Association
American Dairy Goat Association
You might also be interested in:
Dairy Goat Breeds
Meat Goat Breeds
Creating a Goat Kidding Kit
Raising Goats: A Beginner’s Guide
Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Do you raise Nubian goats? What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about the Anglo-Nubian goat? Let me know below!
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