Pygmy goats are an African breed that are actually a miniature version of the regular ones. Although today they are considered a domestic breed, they can be used for other purposes as well, although there is little chance that you’ll want to use the best goat milking machine for profit purposes in this case.
These animals are actually strong and can adapt to a wide range of climates, which makes them a suitable pet choice no matter where you live. This breed is genetically dwarfed and most of the times its representatives are kept for companionship and entertainment. In terms of personality, they are mischievous and don’t differ very much from regular goats.
If you are planning on keeping these goats as pets, you need to remember that they are herd animals, which means that you should get at least two, for them to have a proper development. With this being said, let’s take a look at what makes people call them dwarf goats.
When it comes to their size, does weigh around 53 to 57 pounds, while bucks are a little bigger (as it usually happens with most species) with a weight that ranges between 60 and 68 pounds. In terms of height, this is measured at the wither and it ranges from 16 to 23 inches.
Just to use this for comparison, large breeds such as Boer goats can weigh up to 300 pounds. Of course, there are many different types of goats in the world, but pygmy ones are definitely at the bottom of the sizing chart.
In terms of appearance, pygmy goats come in various colors. In the United States, for example, there are seven approved colors within the breed’s standard guideline. These are categorized into caramel with brown marking, caramel with black markings, brown agouti, black agouti, grey agouti, black with white marking, as well as solid black.
Not all pygmy goats can fall into those exact guidelines, so a faulting matrix that allows for random white markings was established. This is used to determine the range of faults from moderate all the way to very serious ones. White bellies, however, are not considered faulty random markings.
Since their appearance can differ between areas, there are various organizations across the world that set standards as well. For example, there is a British Goat Society that has established standards for this breed and that also organizes shows.
Things such as registering a goat with a pedigree are not unknown to those who are fans of this breed. Just as for show dogs, these measures ensure that the breed is improved through selection.
In the case of the British Goat Society, pygmy male adult representatives have to have a maximum height of 22 inches, measured at the withers. For does, this should be lower.
Moreover, they have to have short legs as well as cobby bodies, meaning that they look like they are pregnant all the time. In terms of colors, this organization doesn’t come with rules that are as strict, and the pygmy goats can come in any color except from completely white.
These adorable animals can be kept as pets, as many people already do. However, if you decide to do this, there are several things you need to consider before actually purchasing two pygmy goats.
One common practice you might want to be aware of is that of disbudding baby goats, meaning that their horns are removed when they are very young. This can make a significant difference for the owner, since all goats are known to butt, but even if they are playful, they are still strong animals and might injure you in the process.
On the other hand, it’s true that this is not the most humane practice you can think of. If you have children and other pets in your home, then you need to carefully consider whether pygmy goats are a good choice and what you need to do in order to ensure a great environment for everyone.
Moreover, when it comes to disbudding, you might also need to check with local animal protection authorities and see if there are any particular regulations on this matter that you need to be aware of beforehand.
Since we’ve mentioned ensuring the right environment for these lovely animals, then it’s a good moment to talk about what they eat. Their diet consists of pasture, vines, as well as brush. If you don’t have pasture during winter, then you might want to stock up on high-quality grass and timothy hay as suitable alternatives.
As it’s the case with pretty much any living creature in this world, you also need to make sure that your pygmy goats have constant access to clean, fresh water. Another ingredient that should not be missing from their diets is a block of iodized salt that they can simply lick when they feel the need to.
As you can see, things are not very different from full-size goats when it comes to ensuring their proper care.
This is where things are a little different compared to the needs of regular goats. The latter use larger shelters, but that is not the case for pygmies. If you are planning on keeping a couple of these dwarf goats in a suburban backyard, then a bigger dog house can do the job just fine.
In the end, you will know for yourself how much space they need, based on their habits and development, so this is not something you need to worry about. They can face colder weathers and climates as well, and usually a shed or a small barn will suffice for pygmies to be comfortable.
However, you do need to provide some entertainment for them, and their favorite pastime is climbing and jumping. Therefore, if you have older picnic tables or tires, they can be put to good use, provided that you securely attach them to the ground. Earth mounds can also be a good addition to their space.