If you are thinking of having a unique pet that is small and friendly, pygmy goats are one of the most viable options. They are playful and fun.
In addition to making lovable pets, they provide milk rich in high-fat content. Pygmy goats are a hardy but docile breed, very much capable of adapting to varying climates.
These goats can turn out to be a perfect pet for anyone who can take care and put an effort to raise them. They need reasonable shelter and care. These little bundles of joy offer never-ending fun as they are adorable and love to play. Pygmies get along with chickens and livestock.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about the pygmy goats, including how to raise and train them.
Table of Contents
Origin of Pygmy Goats
The breed originated from the Cameron Valley, West Africa. It is one of the most productive and hardiest goat breeds.
Apart from offering milk, these goats serve as great pet as they are responsive, cooperative, and lovely companions. Homesteaders can raise them for meat as well, though they are selected more for their milk. Hence, pygmy goats are highly suitable for commercial purposes and as pets.
Pygmy Goats Characteristics
Pygmy goats offer a wide range of characteristics, including their adaptability. They are considered as an asset in various aspects.
This breed provides great resilience when it comes to the climate and environment.
Being one of the smallest goats, they range between 15 to 20 inches in their height. The average weight of a pygmy goat may range from 40 to 50 pounds. Their physical structure is compact.
These goats have different colors, patterns, and shades. Their coats are medium long and straight. The density of their coats depends on the weather and climate.
Moreover, adult males have beards while this feature lacks in female pygmies.
Apart from being the most lovable pet, these goats are also known for their highly nutritious milk production. On average, a pygmy goat tends to produce one to two liters of milk depending on the age of the female breed.
Although the milk comprises of 4.5% to 11% of butterfat, the milking period is relatively short. They continue to produce milk for almost 4 to 6 months after giving birth to a baby.
These goats are non-seasonal breeders and can give birth to their young ones during practically any time of the year.
They attain puberty after 4 to 5 months of their birth. However, it is advisable to breed them after they reach the age of 9 to 10 months.
The average lifespan of pygmy goats is 10 – 15 years.
Size of Pygmy Goats
Pygmy goats look like dwarfs, as they have short legs and a stocky body. Their limbs are relatively short as compared to the body length.
The salient appearance features include a broad forehead, short horns, erect ears, a small nose, and rounded muzzle. The male goats are slightly different in appearance due to the presence of a long beard.
As a whole, this breed looks adorable and friendly. Kids will find them to be approachable.
Feeding Pygmy Goats
Just like other breeds, pygmy goats are ruminant animals. They stay healthy and productive if appropriately fed.
When feeding these goats, you need to consider their age, sex, and individual circumstance. Typically, pygmy goats are less demanding when it comes to their food.
They can feed on simply green grasses, corn, and other types of grains. It would be great if you offer them a natural grazing area. In addition, have plenty of hay for them to feed as they wish. Roughage will help with rumen function for digestion.
In addition, you can also feed them supplementary feeds. Make sure to offer a balanced amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Proper Housing for Pygmy Goats
In order to keep your pygmy goat safe and healthy, you need to provide it with proper goat housing. The primary focus needs to be able to keep the goats safely contained and away from predators.
A clean and cozy environment can help to protect these goats from seasonal or viral diseases. If you have plenty of space, make a fence around a reasonable area with plenty of grass.
During summer, it is essential to provide them good shade if there aren’t enough trees around. The goat house should have adequate set up for drainage. If you live in a hot climate, you may consider running a misting system in the afternoons.
Shelter in the winter is also important to keep them warm and dry.
How Many Babies Do Pygmy Goats Have?
Depending on the breed, pygmy goats typically have two babies per pregnancy. However, some breeds have 2 – 5 kids at a time. A baby goat is called a kid.
Breeding Season for Pygmy Goats
It’s important to know that some types of pygmy goats have a mating season. The typical breeding season for pygmy goats is the months of September through March.
There are some pygmy goats, however, that can breed all year.
How Long Does It Take for a Pygmy Goat to Have a Baby?
The gestation period for pgymy goats is approximately 150 days, roughly five months.
Whether Pygmy Goats are a Good Pets
No doubt, pygmy goats are good pets in most of the cases. The reason for this is the fact that they are friendly, easy to handle, social, and love to play.
They can also be trained, just like any other pet. Moreover, they are the best companions for the kids and elderly alike.
When it comes to feeding, they don’t eat anything that falls on the ground. Hence, you need to use a specific utensil for them to feed and make sure they drop less while eating.
As a whole, pygmy goats serve as the best pet if you know how to take care of them and give them due attention.
Taking Care of Your Pygmy Goat
When you own a pygmy goat or want to have one, the first thing to consider is knowing what it takes to raise it as a pet. You need to focus on a wide range of aspects, including housing, feeding, cleaning, and other similar factors.
Things to pay attention to when raising a pygmy goat as a pet:
Pygmy Goat Shed
- Make a shed that is 10 feet by 10 feet, offering a spacious area for the goat to sit and sleep
- It should be properly ventilated
- It must have a heating facility during winters
- The floor must have spaces for the urine to drop down and keep the area dry
- Make fences around the shed
- Keep them safe and offer the necessary protection against predator attacks
Proper Shelter for a Pygmy
They are cold hardy with proper shelter. It’s essential to keep them warm and dry in the winter. While the shelter should be well-ventilated, there shouldn’t be drafts.
Take care to ensure they can drink from water stations without tipping them over and becoming wet.
In farm settings, providing a perfect shelter for a pygmy isn’t an issue, as this breed loves the company of other animals. However, when you are raising a pygmy goat as a pet, you need to pay much attention to the proper housing.
Usually, pygmies need a simple housing setup. They will be more than happy if you offer them an easy-to-build three-sided enclosure.
The house should be well ventilated and provide a nice cozy place for the goat to sit and relax. Besides, try to build a secure and robust enclosure for the pygmies, as they love to jump around.
It will not only offer required protection against the predators but also prevent their escape during the night. We prefer a good fenced-in area.
Moreover, pygmies love to sleep in relatively higher places. Therefore, it would be better to build their house slightly above the ground. Make sure to keep it dry and clean.
Remember to put something in the house that your pygmy loves to play with. It will help your pygmy goat to build a connection with the housing.
Feeding Schedule for a Pygmy Goat
- A natural diet like grass and small plants provide the best nutrition
- Supplementary hay also serves the purpose well when fresh fonder isn’t available
- Pygmy goats love fruits and vegetables
- They need Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Therefore, make sure to use such foods that offer these vitamins.
- Offer a quarter cup of grains every day
- Pygmies love to graze in the open fields, allow them to graze freely in a small patch of land having lush green grass
- The feeding requirement of pygmy goats is less than other goats. Hence, avoid overfeeding them.
How to Feed a Pygmy
If you are looking forward to raising a pygmy goat, it is highly recommended to learn how to feed them. Although this breed isn’t choosy about the food, you must offer them nutritious food depending on their daily needs.
The feed for pygmy goats is relatively different from that of other commercial goats. It is possible to supplement the regular goat chow, but fresh grass is the most desirable food for these goats.
Don’t offer alfalfa hay regularly, as this diet may result in urinary calculi. To build an affectionate relationship with your pygmy goat, it would be better to welcome it with a handful of grains two to three times a day.
It would also be appropriate to offer fruits and vegetables as treats. It is beneficial to feed them goat mix not more than twice a day for better growth.
Since pygmies can have a tendency to become overweight without ample space to play, it is necessary to control this issue by providing them with a moderate feed.
Make sure to keep them away from poisonous and allergic herbs and plants such as Japanese yew, azaleas, laburnum, and rhododendrons.
In addition, don’t feed them with food wastes or leftovers from other farm animals. You should always provide them with a fresh and adequate amount of food and fresh water.
Maintaining your Pygmy’s Health
- Get the Pygmy goats dropping tested twice a year for worms
- Check regularly for lice infection
- Trim the hooves after 3 to 4 weeks
- Provide yellow mineral lick
- Regular vaccinations
Breeding Pygmy Goats
- Pygmy goats reach sexual maturity early, almost at the age of 4 months
- Avoid breeding them early
- Keep them away from bucks for at least a year
- The gestation period takes approximately 5 months.
- Pygmy goats give birth to 2 – 4 kids after every 9 to 12 months
- Consult a veterinarian for breeding advice based on the goat’s health
How to Raise Pygmy Goats
Raising pygmy goats as pets and for farming purposes is quite popular these days. People love them due to their small size and unique body structure.
Besides their attractive appearance, they are friendly too. There are different opinions about raising a pygmy goat, which depends on the purpose for which you are going to raise it.
Things to Consider When Raising Pygmy Goats
Before starting raising a pygmy goat, it is essential to keep a few things in mind. These include the knowledge about the behavior, habits, and temperament of these goats.
This is necessary to offer your goat a suitable and highly favorable environment. No one wants an unhappy pet; hence, you need to make sure that you are well prepared to bring a pygmy goat to your home.
For this purpose, you must know about the typical characteristics of this breed. If these specifications match with the facilities you can provide, pygmy goats can serve as the best pet you ever had.
Pygmy Goat Mood and Temperament
Just like any other pet, pygmy goats may have their distinctive personality and behavior traits. They require some specific treatment.
However, as a whole, these goats are typically friendly and behave well while in the company of humans and other animals. Most of these goats are docile and congenial; especially, female pygmy goats are of good nature.
They will turn out to be a perfect pet for you when you pick them during the early months of their lives. They will adapt to the environment without any issue.
One thing you should keep in mind about the behavior and mood of pygmy goats is their intolerance towards getting wet. If you want them to be happy and behave well, keep them dry.
Sharing Pygmy Goat’s Emotions
Usually, the pygmy goats are responsive, friendly, and gentle to humans. They also are social animals. This means, if you want to raise pygmy goats, get more than one. They seek attention and are playful.
Pygmies can be active and somewhat loud when showing their displeasure and demanding something. Pygmy goats as pets are faithful and loyal, which suggests that they would serve as a good companion.
Pygmy’s Daily Activities
Generally, pygmy goats love to play, and they spend a lot of time running, jumping, and romping about.
Especially, baby pygmy goats are simply unstoppable once they are active. This means you need to provide enough clearance on your property for such activities.
Young pygmy goats are in the habit of having mock fights, yet they are occasional, and things settle down after a few minutes.
Besides, feeding them properly, it is equally essential to give them a proper environment that helps to stimulate their growth and physical abilities.
Give them enough space for running, jumping, and climbing over small heights. To keep them active, engaged, and happy, provide areas for them to jump on and off. This can be as simple as hay bales to play on. Change them up occasionally to keep their playing facilities interesting.
Baby Pygmy Goats
You may choose to start with baby pygmy goats or choose adults to breed your own. If the mother is present and hasn’t abandoned the kids, there isn’t much you need to do to care for newborn pygmy goats.
However, if for whatever reason the baby goats aren’t nursing or if the mother refuses to nurse, you need to intervene.
Bottle feed the pygmies warm, not cold, fluids. In the beginning days, the babies need colostrum. Thereafter, you can bottle feed pygmy goat babies goats’ milk.
This is a good reason to always have frozen milk from your other goats if you don’t have a regular milk producer at all times.
Tips for Raising Pygmy Goats
No doubt, pygmies are amazing pets, and if you consider raising them, it won’t be a difficult task altogether. Hence, if you think that you can take care of them and provide them with all the essentials, go ahead and bring one to your backyard.
Tips for raising a pygmy goat as your pet:
- Before considering raising pygmies as a pet, it would be appropriate to consult the livestock regulations of your state or county
- Since bucks smell horrible, don’t consider them raising as pets. On the contrary, female pygmies are more appropriate for this purpose
- Disbudding is a great option in order to avoid getting your pet hurt if you are raising two or more of them
- You also need to trim the hoofs regularly after every 3 to 5 weeks
- Don’t forget to vaccinate them timely and take them to vet regularly
- Regular worming tests are also necessary for the pygmy goats
- Try to buy pygmy babies from a registered breeder
Is it Possible to House Train a Pygmy Goat?
House training a pygmy goat is easy and hassle-free. The process is similar to that you follow while training other goats.
In fact, these goats are so loving and adorable, that it is actually fun to train them. Besides potty and urinating training, you can also train pygmy goats to restrict their movement in a particular area of the house.
It is also possible to train them to stop biting, chewing, and eating such things other than food, especially clothes.
Learning Abilities of Pigmy Goat
If you have a pigmy goat and want to train it, the first thing that may come to your mind is to what extent you can train your goat. It’s good to know, you can train your pygmy for several things. For instance, it is possible to teach your pygmy to come back up on command and heel like a dog.
You can also train your goat to pull a cart or wagon and to carry some load. Teaching it good manners while living in a camp may also prove handy.
Here are a few other learning abilities of a pygmy goat and tips to train them properly.
Training Pygmy Goat to Develop Good Habits
Apart from teaching tricks, you can also train your pygmy goat to learn good habits. Although some traits and characteristics of pygmy goats may turn out to be destructive, you can alter them by merely training your goat.
While you will be raising them outdoors, you’ll want to teach them to avoid lawn furniture such as cozy sofas and cushions. Goats may jump over them but you can teach them to stay away from the area entirely.
Similarly, chewing pillows, sheets, and curtains is another issue that you may face when raising pygmy goat as a pet. You can also resolve this issue by teaching the goat how to behave.
To accomplish the task of teaching good habits and eliminating the bad ones, the first thing you need is to establish a strong bond with your pet.
In addition, you also need to make the environment more suitable for the pet. This will eradicate bad habits of your pygmy. Moreover, chances are also there that the pet could hurt itself or cause damage to your household or other elements of your property.
You can train your pygmy goat not to misbehave by giving it an alternate way to utilize its energy. Spend some good time with it in the outdoors and allow the goat to stretch its legs.
Try to feed the goat after regular intervals. In addition, offer it gourmet treats when it performs well and obeys your orders.
House Training a Pygmy Goat
House training is essential, as it includes some basic elements like urinating and outdoor potty training. These are the two of the most critical parts of any house training when you are raising a four-legged pet.
This is because, with this type of training, you can ensure the required cleaning and sanitation conditions in your home. Normally, goats are wise and intelligent creatures, as they can perform numerous tasks when trained.
This also applies to potty training and urinating habits. However, you can’t train a goat overnight, as it requires some time, patience, lots of affection.
Pygmy goats love to be treated like a kid. They tap or scratch their ears when they perform a trick or obey your order. What you need to do is appreciate your pet every time it does something right. Also, you should reward the goat with a handful of grains.
Tricks to Teach a Pygmy Goats
In order to teach new and interesting tricks to your pygmy, you need to focus on its habits. It is necessary to take a young pygmy of at least 3 to 4 months old if you want to teach it different tricks.
At this age, the goat will learn more quickly and remember all the ticks for an extended time. Before training your goat, it is essential to analyze whether you have the time and patience to accomplish it.
Moreover, you also need to consider whether you have got the patience and tolerance to train your pygmy.
Tricks that you can teach to your pygm goats:
Targeting and Cue Sticks
One of the easiest ways to train your goat is to start with a cue stick. A cue stick has a tiny tip on its end, similar to a magic wand.
It may have different colors, but a black stick with a white tip is typically what you will find. The idea behind the white tip is to draw the attention of your pet pygmy goat and allow it to focus on the movement of the stick.
With this prop, you can direct your pet to go in a particular direction or perform an action. To familiarize the goat with this stick, allow it to touch the wand’s tip with its nose.
This procedure helps in different types of training, but it works perfectly well when you are teaching a particular trick to your goat. Also, you can use your index finger, but a cue stick will keep you at a reasonable distance from the goat.
With the help of a cue stick, you can easily teach the ‘targeting’ trick. When the goat tries to approach the tip of the stick, you can divert it to any other target or area.
This would help to divert the attention to any other thing that you want the goat to focus on. For instance, you can teach a goat to open the door with this method. Just ask you goat to touch the sick and then say ‘touch’.
After this, say open the door, which is the cue word that your goat would remember and act accordingly when you say it.
After some time, the goat will memorize the cue word, and you don’t have to use the cue stick for this purpose.
Teaching your Pygmy to Respond to its Name
This is the first thing that you may try to teach your goat. Typically, pets learn to respond to their names quickly.
By just saying the name of your goat every time you talk to it is the simplest way to teach your goat its name.
Especially, calling your goat by its name is essential when you are offering it the treat. It would help your goat to remember its name much quickly.
This is because the goats or any other pet relate their name to the food you offer to them. Hence, goats respond to their name instantly when you call them.
If you haven’t named your goat yet, you can try a few simple things. First, you need to give it a name that doesn’t rhyme with any other words that you use for the training.
For instance, if you use names like “Snow”, it would be confusing for the pet, as it rhymes with the word “no”.
The reason for this type of selection is the ability of an animal to learn the harder sounding names much quickly. In this way, other words won’t blend in with your goat’s name. This rule also applies if you have more than one pet goat.
Try to give them such names that are different and easy to distinguish. This would help the goats to respond to their own name, rather than responding to you on call when communicating with another goat.
Leash Training a Pygmy Goat
Leash training is relatively tough, especially when you have a doe fed goat. Therefore, make sure that you are dealing with a bottle-fed goat.
Basic tips to offer leash training to your goat:
- The younger your goat, the better it is to start the training
- Work one goat at a time if you are training a bunch of goats
- Allow them to bond with you instead of having a connection with other goats
- Divide your training into different short sessions by choosing different times
- Be patient, loving and kind while training your goats
- Use a soft brush to offer a soothing brushing session before and after the session. It will help the goat to develop a relationship with you and show confidence when in your company
- Tapping and moving fingers on the head and back will make your goat comfortable and relaxed. It gives them the required feeling of motherly grooming and affection.
- Be slightly firm when teaching your goat. However, don’t be too strict or choke your goat when teaching the leashing trick
Pygm Goat or Pygym Goat and Pygny Goat
Another interesting fact is it is difficult to spell Pygmy Goat. Many want to spell it phonetically, as in pig me goat.
This makes sense as this is a different letter combination than most animals have and most English words in general.
Other spellings include pugmy goat and goat pigmy. Just like the animals themselves, these are all cute. We love pigmi goat as well. No matter which you decide on, they are livestock which you might want to consider raising for milk and as a pet.
Keeping Pygmy Goats with Chickens
Think of the compost opportunities you will have by keeping pygmy goats and chickens!
Letting them free range together is fine as chickens and goats generally get along well together.
However, they should also have their own spaces, including shelter. Chickens should have a coop that the pygme goats can’t enter.
Likewise, these miniature goats should have their own shelter. It’s also important to not let the goats eat the poultry feed which is also known as chook feed. You should keep this inside the coop. As you may know, pygmy goats will eat anything!
Pygmy Goat Guide
After going through this extensive pygmy goat guide, you are now in a position to buy this animal and raise it as a pet. You may also want to raise pygmies for milk or to breed.
Although pygmy goats serve as great pets, it is essential to make sure that you have the patience to deal with these animals. This is because these pets require regular attention and care. Just like any other pet, you can train a pygmy goat to learn different tricks and obey your orders.
Similarly, by spending some time with the pygmy goat, you also create a connection and strong bond, which would help you to enjoy the companionship of your pet.
Before buying a pygmy goat, it is recommended that you must check the veterinary regulations for your state or county. If there aren’t strict regulations, ordinances, or legal hurdles, buying a pygmy goat would be a perfect option.
Especially, kids and the elderly love the company of a pet, and if it is a pygmy goat, the level of fun and enjoyment would definitely be at another level.
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