The Nubian is a large breed of dairy goat. Nubians have long, bell-shaped ears that extend an inch beyond the face, and small upturned tails. Their fur is short and glossy and can come in a variety of colors including black, tan and red.
Mature Nubians weigh between 100 and 250 pounds and can stand up to 30 inches high at the withers (shoulders).
- As ruminants, goats have four-chambered stomachs that allow them to chew their food quickly and then store it for further chewing and digestion later. This gives them the ability to eat quickly in an area where they may have to watch for predators.
- Goats have horizontal pupils in their eyes that allow them to have a wider range of peripheral vision to watch for predators.
- The long ears of the Nubian Goat helped it to keep cool in the warm climate of Africa, where it originated.
At Cosley Zoo, the goats are fed a diet of commercial livestock grain and hay.
Goats can become sexually mature as early as 6 months of age. Male goats produce a very potent musk-like odor during the breeding season to attract females. Female goats are pregnant for 140-160 days. Goats give birth once a year during late winter or spring. Twins are common, but single and triplet births are not rare.
Shelter and Space Needs
At Cosley Zoo, the goats inhabit a stall in the barn. The back of the stall has a door that opens during the day into the goats’ outdoor yard. The yard contains a large wooden structure for the goats to climb on.
The life expectancy of a Nubian goat is 10-15 years.
Importance to Man
Nubian Goats produce a high-quality, high-butterfat milk, which can be drunk or used to make ice cream, yogurt, cheese and butter. Many people who are allergic to cows’ milk can better tolerate the milk of a goat. Goats can also be raised for their meat and their hides.
- This breed is named for the country of its origin in the upper Nile Valley (Nubia). The Nubian is the most popular breed of dairy goat in the United States. Nubians were first brought to this country in 1896.
- Males goats are called bucks, females are does, and young goats are kids.
- Goats are sometimes allowed to graze in wetlands and other environmentally monitored areas in order to decrease the number of invasive species or other unwanted plants such as poison ivy.
- A dairy goat can produce about one gallon of milk a day, about 1/4 the amount a dairy cow can produce.