While I was in the Charlottesville area recently, I had the opportunity to visit some Dwarf Nigerian Dairy Goats at Timberwood Farm. The photo above is the current crop of babies, ranging from 9 weeks to 14 weeks old. They were so cute, I could have brought them all home!
Of course, I am not ready for any backyard farm animals yet. I need to build housing and fencing, and because of problems (expense) of fencing up the hill, I am considering smaller animals. Of the smaller milk goats I have seen so far, these seem the most likely in terms of temperament and care. I would want to get one (and a neutered male for a companion) at a young age like these so they become people-friendly.
However, that means feeding them for 2 years before breeding the doe, and another 6 months' gestation. They typically throw twins, so I might get another doe... or maybe not. Then a time lag while the babies nurse, so it would be close to 3 years before I could actually have goat milk. If the doe threw just bucks, they would have to be sold as I don't want one on the premises. (I can take a doe to be bred.) They do not make good meat goats, so either sell, or castrate and feed as pets.
The mature milking does (above) average around 28" tall, and give about a pint of milk each, twice a day.
Lots to consider, and I am far from making a decision! However, it was a fun visit, and the owners were quite helpful and gracious.