May 26, 2022

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Watch now: Nigerian dwarf goat turns out five healthy kids on Nebraska farm | Agriculture

9 min read

SCOTTSBLUFF — The owner of a Nigerian dwarf goat found herself handling the rare birth of quintuplets this spring.

Mabel, a Nigerian dwarf nanny, successfully delivered five healthy kids March 19, a feat so unusual it occurs once in every 10,000 births.

Mabel’s owner, Sanna Loukonen of Minatare, started keeping watch on her a month before the kids arrived because of the nanny goat’s “alarming size.” Previously, Mabel had successfully delivered twins, which is an extremely common practice for the Nigerian dwarf breed.







Rare quintuplet Nigerian dwarf kids were born on Sanna Loukonen’s farm near Lake Minatare. The nanny, Mabel, delivered three billies and two does March 19.




After throwing twins, Nigerian dwarf nannies are prone to having three or even four kids at a time. However, five healthy kids is a rare occurrence.

“She (Mabel) just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger,” Loukonen said.

Just as Mabel’s discomfort and size were becoming a real concern, the nanny went into labor, with Loukonen keeping watch.

“So she started having them and I thought we would have triplets at the most, but they just kept coming,” Loukonen said.

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She said that in her experience raising Nigerian dwarf goats, she has only ever seen twins born.

Loukonen’s veterinarian, Travis Van Anne, said that he has never experienced quintuplets born successfully. He said it is far more likely that if the nanny is carrying that many kids, there will be complications.

“When these five are born, there’s usually one or two stillborn or smaller ones,” Van Anne said. “And the fact that they’re all fairly sizable, the fact that they’re all still alive, it’s amazing.”


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Mabel delivered the healthy kids that were normal to the breed’s size in two placentas, “so the egg must have split a couple times,” Van Anne said. “She (Mabel) had twins and then that egg kept splitting. So that’s even more rare.”

Loukonen realized the importance of stepping in to aid the growing quintuplet kids by giving additional bottle feedings four or five times a day and keeping the group housed separate from the herd with access to heat lamps. She has also made it a priority to have plenty of feed and extra nutritional supplements for Mabel.

There has been a growing demand for Nigerian dwarfs as pets because the breed is smaller in stature and personable, but they are also valued for their superior milk production. Though Mabel may have plenty of milk, she has only two teats to feed five kids so feeding time gets a little complicated.

The quintuplets — three billies and two does — are rambunctiously exploring when they aren’t eating or sleeping and Mabel is working tirelessly to keep tabs on the bunch.