Pygmy Goats were introduced to the United States some 50 years ago. They were described as a particularly small breed of goats that were ideally domesticated. Although they can produce quite a volume of milk, and they can also be eaten, pygmy goats are now raised as pets, much like cats and dogs. A herd of pygmy goats in your farm can surely give you and your family a lot of enjoyment for years. Some families in suburban areas even keep pygmy goats in their backyards!
Pygmy Goats weren’t originally from the United States. They were shipped from Camarcon Valley in Africa to the zoos of Europe, and the breed’s official name is African Pygmy Goats. They were them imported from these zoos to the USA as research animals, and were eventually adopted as farm animals. They gained popularity because they’re a hardy lot, and they had good temperament, which made them perfect pets for families who have little children. A Pygmy Goat can supply up to ½ gallon of milk a day, and are usually kept as show animals in most states. If you’re interested in keeping Pygmy Goats as pets, below are some Pygmy Goat Care tips. Pygmy Goat Fences
Unlike bigger farm grazers, Pygmy Goats don’t need acres of pasture land. If you keep does, you can fence them in ¾ of an acre, and then keep the bucks in a larger, separate pen. It is necessary for you to buy the best pen you can find. This is not only to make sure that you keep your goat in the fences, but to keep dogs out of the fence as well. Like lambs and sheep, Pygmy goats are prey to wild canines, and you might lose some of them at night if you purchase cheap fences.
The most ideal fences to keep Pygmy Goats in are non-climb 2”x2” fencing. If you can’t find this, 4’ high fences are also good options. Just make sure that you line the top of the fences with two strands of barbed wire. This should keep the dogs and coyotes from touching your Pygmy Goats.
You also have to make sure that the smaller goats don’t slip out on you through the holes in the fences. Goats are extremely intelligent animals, and they’re nearly as cunning and smart as dogs. To keep baby Pygmy goats in the fence, you need to put a cardboard collar around their neck until they’re too big to slip through the holes of your fences. Pygmy Goat Shelter
While Pygmy Goats aren’t picky animals when it comes to their lodgings, they also hate to get wet. You will have to make sure that you have sheds available during the rainy season. A lean-to or an 8’x10’ shed will do the job. Just make sure that your pet’s lodgings are dry. You should also have a hay rack to make sure that their feed is off the ground. Goats are very fussy when it comes to the cleanliness of their feed. They would never eat feed off the ground unless they’re starving, so be a responsible owner and put up a hay rack to feed them with. Pygmy Goat feeding tips
Although they’re a hardy lot, you still have to make sure that your Pygmy Goats are getting the right nutrition. And when we mean “right”, we mean just enough. Overfeeding can be very fatal for your pet goats. They can get urinary calculi (or calcium stones blocking the urinary tract) if you overfeed them.
Baby whethers should be fed only 1 cup of COB (Corn, Oats, Barley, or Dry Rolled Ration) once a day. You can also give them alfalfa or grass hay on the side, and always have a trace mineral salt lick for them. Does, on the other hand, should get dairy goat feed instead of dry COB. This will help them keep up with their iron and calcium once they’re bearing baby Pygmy goats. You can also plant blueberries and brush around your farm because goats would love to nibble on these. They’re not grazers like cows and sheep, so they’re least likely to feed on your grass. Make sure that you don’t have poisonous plants/brushes around your farm like rhododendron. They can be fatal for your goats, and they won’t survive when poisoned with this plant unless you get immediate vet care. Shots
As with any of your farm pets, your Pygmy goats also need their shots. On their birthdays, you should give your goats their yearly Tetanus C and D shots. This will guard them not only from Tetanus but also from Enterotoxama or overeating disease. If you’re in the Northwest, and your soil lacks selenium, you should also give your goats BoSe shots every six months to guard them against diseases, particularly white muscle disease. You also need to ask your vet about wormers as goats are prone to worms as much as other mammals. Symptoms of worm in your goats include a rough coat, a “ratty” appearance, and weight loss despite of their good appetite. To confirm if your pet goats have worms or not, you just need to take a sample of their stool to the vet. Grooming
You will also have to trim the hoofs of your Pygmy goats. Some farmers have special stanchions made to hold their goats while these are being given shots and/or groomed. To take good care of their coats, you just have to brush them regularly. Brushes can be bought at the local feed store. Goats love it when you brush their coat, so this should be a fun task.Health check ups
Checking up on the health of your pet goat should be easy. Aside from your regular visits from the vet, you can also observe the behavior of your goats as well. The signs of sickness in goats are pretty obvious, especially in Pygmy Goats because they’re a very hardy breed. When they’re acting strange, you should call up your vet right away.
Some symptoms of possible sickness include:
1. Lack of appetite. When your goat doesn’t touch his feed for two whole days, there’s something wrong.
2. Inactivity. Goats are very active animals and whey they’re not running and playing, they’re probably not feeling well.
3. Standing all hunched up with its tail drooping. This is usually a sign of weakness or discomfort.
4. Loose stool which may have mucous in it.
5. A high temperature. The normal temperature of goats is about 102.5 F.