A Gold Coast art director says he’s “not kidding” because he’s leading the charge to improve the genetics of the Nigerian dwarf goat, which first arrived in Australia seven years ago.
Rodney Surawski runs an international company that designs and installs works of art and sculptures inside royal palaces, luxury hotels and mega mansions.
But he became interested in primary production when his 13-year-old granddaughter wanted to buy and show miniature goats.
The owner of Guanaba bought one of the first Nigerian dwarf dollars when they arrived in Australia in 2014.
“They are like a dog. They will follow you everywhere, ”he says.
“There are a lot of them in Australia now. They are in all states.
“Due to their size and large personality, good temperament, they are easy to handle for the elderly and for children.”
Mr Surawski, who owns Stoney Creek Farm in the Gold Coast hinterland, said they were popular pets, but were also known for producing high-quality milk.
“They classify them as a mini milker,” he said.
“They have the best quality milk of any dairy goat. They have the highest fat content, which is ideal for cheeses.
“It’s much creamier, much tastier than your normal goat milk.”
Mr Surawski said milk is sought after by people who are allergic or intolerant to lactose.
The president of the Dairy Goat Society of Australia, Ian Tyers, said goat’s milk is measured by volume, percentage of body fat and percentage of protein.
“With the Nigerians [goats], we find that they represent about a third of the production of a standard-sized goat, ”he said.
“A standard-sized goat, you’d expect 3.5 percent to maybe 4.5 percent fat depending on the time of year.
“A purebred Nigerian should start at 6 percent fat and quite often is found higher than that.”
Mr Tyers said Nigerian dwarves produce less milk than standard goats and their small size could make them difficult to milk in traditional goat dairy facilities.
The starting price for a de-aroused male goat, or whatever, is around $ 400, while a doe costs $ 1,000 to $ 15,000.
The Nigerian dwarf breeder said he is now trying to improve the breed’s genetics by importing high-quality sperm and embryos.
“We are about to have 15 new dollars [sperm] arrive in Australia from America and embryos of five females, ”he said.
“We will go directly into an embryo implantation program. We have about 50 embryos to implant.
“So that will give us a 100% Nigerian dwarf on the pitch, among the best poles in America.”
Mr Surawski said there was unprecedented demand for the Nigerian dwarf breed.
“Right now for larger sized dairy goats, the price range would be up to $ 1,000, and that’s a starting price for a Nigerian dwarf,” he said.
“So there is a big difference in the real cost.
“Everything in a big dairy goat is now compacted into a smaller animal that takes less to feed, they are easier to handle, and on top of that you have the greatest fat content. .
The Nigerian dwarf doe can produce between one and two liters of milk per day.
The Nigerian dwarf is originally from West Africa and the breed was developed in the United States, where it has been recognized as a breed for 15 years.
“In America, Nigerian dwarves are the most popular of all goat breeds,” Mr. Surawski said.
“They have an incredible movement there. They have thousands of dwarf goat exhibits. It’s a huge industry in America. “
Mr Tyers said there was speculation as to whether the goats originated in Nigeria.
He said some people suspected it was a small crossbreed of a Spanish goat that traveled to Mexico and then the United States.
Regardless, he said reactions from goat farmers in Australia were mixed.
“Some of my members frankly hate Nigerians [goats]. But I am of the opinion, so what? A lot of people love them, ”he said.
“Based on the American experience, they are probably going to become the most dominant breed in Australia.
“We have to follow this bandwagon.”
Mr Surawski, who is also a member of the Miniature Goat Breeders Association of Australia (MGBAA), said the Nigerian dwarf was accepted as a category at next year’s Royal Easter Show in Sydney.
“We have shows all over Australia,” he said.
“We’re doing the Toowoomba Royal, and they all have their classes under the MGBAA.”
Stoney Creek Farm Herd Manager Tracy Guest said goats are self-sufficient when they live in the wild because they crave the nutrients and minerals they need.
“They require a little more nutritional balance [in captivity]. Being a small ruminant animal, their stomachs are mostly grass-based, ”she said.
“Since the base breed is African, they tend to need a lot more tree grazing, so we’ll be looking for acacia trees and various varieties to allow them to graze.
“Basically we base their diet on hay, a little alfalfa and supplements.”