The Amazing Mini-Alpine
The mini-alpine is a relatively new breed that is obtained by breeding a standard alpine doe (female) to a nigerian dwarf buck (male). Both the alpine and nigerian dwarf are dairy breeds so the mini-alpine is in fact still a dairy goat. It is best to use registered animals so that you can keep track of the genes that you are working with. If you are looking for a goat that is small but still has the ability to produce nearly the same amount of milk content as a standard sized goat then the mini-alpine may be just what you are looking for. The mini-alpine is in between the size of a standard alpine and a nigerian dwarf. A mini-alpine eats less than a standard alpine and yet produces nearly the same amount of milk. In addition to that they don't need as much space to live in although giving them plenty of room and pasture space will keep them healthy and happy. Also, there is the bonus of multiple kids at birth since the nigerian dwarf gene is now included. The mini-alpine has erect ears, straight nose, and a very dairy character. Many mini-alpines still hold the traditional markings of the standard alpines but with the added nigerian dwarf gene kids also are born with some very interesting, flashy markings.
Would you consider raising/breeding Mini-alpines?
Generations & Purebred Status
Mini-alpines will start at the beginning as all new/experimental breeds do. When your first kid is born from a nigerian/alpine breeding that kid is a first generation mini-alpine. If the kid is from registered parents the kid is also eligible to be registered in a mini-goat registry. A breeder must go through six generations of mini-alpine to finally reach purebred status. Below is a link of breeding's that show how to get to the next step in your breeding program. In order to achieve the next generation you as the breeder must breed the same generations together or breed back a generation or two to get the quality you want in your herd.
Breeding an F1 to an F1 makes the kid that is born an F2
However breeding an F4 to an F3 makes the kid an F4
Any breeding's that do not go "forward" stay at the highest generation parent. So if you have a doe that is a 2nd or F2 and she is bred to a 1st or F1 then the kid that is born will be an F2 as well.
- Breed Standards
This link gives the breed standards on all mini-goats and how to achieve breeding up in your herd.
Mini-Alpines Are Fun!
Besides all of the great benefits of this breed and the fun challenges of producing quality animals, mini-alpines are fun! They are social, loving animals that enjoy human contact and attention. They are smart and each one has his/her own individuality. I have owned one that would nuzzle me every time she saw me, another who liked to nibble on my clothes, and yet another who would wait her exact turn in the milking order I had them used to, even though she could have pushed past the others to get on the stand first. Goats are not dumb animals and anyone who thinks they are has not had much experience with them.
Another avenue for new breeders is a fun thing called v-shows or virtual shows. MDGA and TMGR both have v-shows a couple times a year. This is showing, without all the traveling around with your goats which makes them more prone to getting sick or catching contagious illnesses or diseases from other goats not in your herd while at a show. V-shows are a lot of fun and are getting quite popular with the mini breeds due to the fact that there are still so few breeders that getting enough people together for a live show is difficult. With a v-show you take your goat out on a nice sunny day and take pictures of his/her head from the front, one of the back (standing right above the goat and looking down), one of his/her backside, and one from the side. Also if you are showing a goat that is fresh (in milk) then you would also take a picture of the udder from behind as well as one from the side showing the teats. There are many different age groups to show in, from juniors all the way to 5 years and up. This is a great way to get your herd name out there and to be known by other breeders!
© 2013 Jamie Butler