Basic Care Requirements
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. 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.
Modest; an 8' x 6' (2.4 x 1.8m) shed, furnished with benches and hay rack, being suitable for two pets. The shed should have ventilation but must not be draughty. If there is a glass window it should be replaced with perspex OR protected with mesh to prevent accidental breakage. A stable (two piece) door is useful. A concrete or slab path or area of hard standing adjacent to the house will be useful and appreciated by the goats. Electric lights should be provided - well out of reach of the goats. 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. Fencing should be a minimum of 4' high. Hedges will not be a sufficient boundary.
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.
A basic diet of hay and clean drinking water should be supplemented with 2-8 oz of goat mix and/or a roughage based feed such as alfalfa or chaff each day. Quantity of feed depends on age, sex 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 always be introduced gradually. All food must be clean and untainted.
HEALTHTo 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 tested for worms (via a Faecal Egg Count) twice a year, and should be routinely treated against lice during the autumn and spring. Vaccinations will be required against enterotoxaemia. Your vet will advise you on these matters.
It is now thought best to wait until a minimum of 18 months of age before having your female pygmy goats served. Matings earlier than this age are possible but undesirable. Entire male kids should be separated from females at 10/11 weeks of age.
The gestation period is approximately 5 months. Kiddings are usually uncomplicated, but it is advisable for owners to be present. Here are some tips on kidding. Kids may be weaned at 12-14 weeks if they are taking a good ration of hay and concentrates, but left with their mothers they may continue to suckle for seven months or more.
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 (Department 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 concerning all aspects of Pygmy Goat-keeping can be found in the two booklets (see Shop page) which are available to members and non members. The booklets are packed with practical hints and more detailed information on care, breeding, showing etc