The Pygmy Goat is a hardy, good-natured animal; a gentle and responsive pet. Pygmy goats are not a dairy breed and most owners do not milk their female goats. Pygmy Goats need the company of their own kind and should not be kept alone.


HOUSING REQUIREMENTS

Modest; an 8' x 6' (2.4 x 1.8m) shed, furnished with benches and hay rack, being suitable for two pets. Electric light should be provided well out of reach of the goats. If planning to breed, it is as well to be aware of the captivating qualities of these very special animals and to provide housing in excess of that initially required. Pygmy goats should not be kept as house pets and do not need to wear coats. Access from the shed to a well-fenced area will provide space for exercise and fresh air, both essential for the fun loving Pygmy Goat. Tethering is not a suitable means of restraint.


DIET

A basic diet of hay and clean drinking water should be supplemented by 2-8 oz of concentrates a day, depending on age and condition. Pygmy goats are “browsers” not grazers - they should not be considered as lawnmowers. Vegetables and fruit should be added to their diet. Twigs, leaves, bark and some 'weeds' are the natural food of the goat and will be welcomed as a great treat. Care must be taken not to allow access to poisonous plants such as alder, yew, rhododendron, laurel, privet, laburnum, honeysuckle, walnut, evergreen shrubs, green-stuff from flowers including delphiniums, hellebores or any bulbous plants such as daffodils or tulips. New foods should be introduced gradually. All food must be clean and untainted. 


BREEDING

It is now thought best to leave goats until 14-18 months of age before having them served. The gestation period is approximately 5 months. As matings earlier than this age are possible but undesirable, entire male kids should be separated from females at 10 weeks of age. Kiddings are usually uncomplicated, but it is advisable for owners to be present. Kids may be weaned at 12-14 weeks if they are taking a good ration of concentrates, but left with their mothers they may continue to suckle for seven months or more.


HEALTH

To keep your Pygmy goats healthy they should be provided with a yellow mineral lick in the goat shed. Their hooves will need trimming every 4-6 weeks. They will also need to be wormed at least twice a year, and should be treated against lice during the autumn and spring. Vaccinations will be required against enterotoxaemia. Your vet will advise you on this matter.Owners not wishing to breed should chose two wethers. These castrated males make excellent pets, with none of the drawbacks associated with the entire (stud) male. Care should be taken to avoid obesity, which can cause stones in the urethra. The purchase of an entire male kid or adult should only be considered if owners have several females and a long term breeding programme.


LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

All goat-keepers are required by law to register a holding number and a herd number. This applies even if only 2 goats are kept in the back garden. To register, contact your local DEFRA office (Deptartment for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) All goats must now be identified by two forms of identification. One must be an ear tag but the second may be either a tag OR a tattoo.  The numbers on both must be identical.  Any goat movement between properties must be accompanied by an official movement licence. The breeder will advise you and comply with these regulations.


FURTHER INFORMATION

Further information concerning all aspects of Pygmy Goat-keeping can be found in the P.G.C. Booklet "Pygmy Goats" And the DVD “An Introduction to Pygmy Goat Keeping” available to members and non members. The booklet is packed with practical hints and useful information on care and breeding of Pygmy Goats. The video highlights key points from the booklet, and the review in “Country Smallholding” Magazine said:

"This is an ideal basic introduction for anyone thinking about keeping pygmy goats. It covers all the basic information including feeding, general husbandry, healthcare and management, and shows pygmies at a number of locations, including back gardens, smallholdings and farms. There is also a section on shows and Pygmy Goat Club meetings. The standard of filming is good, showing a wide variety of goats and kids being enjoyed by all members of the family, including children."