Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Goats at Kids' Farm

Kids' Farm is home to Nigerian dwarf goats and San Clemente Island goats.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats


The face is straight or slightly dished. The ears are alert and upright. The coat is straight with short to medium length hair. Dwarf goats come in many colors, with the main color families being black, brown, and gold.

Most animals are horned and a few bloodlines are polled. Newborn kids average about two pounds at birth, but grow quickly. The average adult weight is 75 pounds. Nigerian dwarfs live between 15 and 20 years.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy listed Nigerian dwarf goats as rare in 2000, but they are now in the "recovering" category, thanks to so many new breeders.

Interesting Information

  • Dwarfs can also provide a surprising amount of milk for their size. A good doe can produce from one-quarter to half a gallon (one to two quarts) of milk a day.
  • Although the Nigerian dwarf is of African origin, it is considered an American breed.
  • When the Kids' Farm goats get excited or playful, the hair down their backs stands on end.
  • The Kids' Farm goats nibble on everything they can reach and require constant attention when in the Caring Corral to prevent escapes or eaten shoelaces and clothing.
    Please note:
    the Caring Corral hours vary depending on weather and staffing. Hours are limited.

San Clemente Island Goats

There are two San Clemente Island goats at Kids' Farm. Their mother, Jackie, came to the Zoo in April 2008, when she was pregnant. Her two kids, a male and a female, are named Mortimer and Marla. Mortimer has a white spot on the top of his head. Both kids have been dehorned. After they were weaned, Jackie was returned to her owner.

Nubian goat Names: Mortimer and Marla
Born: The kids were born May 30, 2008
Color: Tan with dark markings 


The San Clemente Island goat is a small breed, with bucks averaging at a height of 24 inches, and does reaching a height of about 22 inches. This small size is most likely a result of insular dwarfism, an adaptation to living on an island with limited resources. Coloration patterns are consistent among these goats—all individuals have a tan to dark-red base color with black markings. These goats are lean and considered to be deer-like because of their graceful movements. Both males and females have horns and it is not uncommon for females to have supernumerary teats (extra teats on udder, typically having four in total).

Interesting Information

  • Like Ossabaw Island hogs, which be also seen at Kids' Farm, the small size of San Clemente Island goats can be attributed to the process of insular dwarfism.