© 2017 Amber Waves All Rights Reserved

Here are some general and answers about Pygmy Goats and goats in general

It is always better to know some pygmy goat facts, before learning some pygmy goat info related to their care. Pygmy goats have originated in Africa and made their way as pets in American homes during the 1950's. Pygmy goats as pets for children are very popular today. There are two pygmy goat breeds that are registered as dwarf breeds. These include the Nigerian Dwarf and the African pygmy goat. The African pygmy goat is the common member of petting zoos. They are about 20 to 25 inches tall and weigh about 50 to 60 pounds. Their milk contains about 6% more butterfat than any other goat milk. The Nigerian dwarf goat is only 17 to 20 inches tall and weighs around 75 pounds. They can produce one quart milk every day and are happy in 1/3rd of the living space that is basically required for any other full size goat breed.The pygmy goats have a herd mentality and what more can you expect out of an IQ of just 60? If you bring home just one goat, it will become sad and lonely, bleat constantly and try to run away at all times. So, it is always better you bring home a pair, for their peace of mind as well as yours. They are very easy to care for, playful and lovable pets. Q. How long do they live? A. Approximately 8 to 12 years. Goats which are well cared for live past 15 years. Q. When do you wean their young? A.  Ideally between around 8-12 weeks... Some breeders wean as young as 4 weeks. Q. Can they kid okay? A. A goat giving birth is called "kidding". Pygmies are more prone to problems than other goat breeds, especially first time moms. Make sure someone is there when she goes into labor and keep a close eye on her. Be ready to call the vet if necessary. Q. How old are they when you breed them for the first time? A.  Some breeders will say 1 year, 14 months is even better so that mom is more mature and less likely to experience kidding problems. In any case it is a good idea if you plan to breed them to do it before they turn 2 years of age. Q. Do they have heat cycles or do they just get pregnant at any time? A. They have heat cycles approximately every 3 weeks (will vary). Some goat breeds only have heat cycles during certain seasons, but pygmies will have heat cycles every few weeks, year round. Q. After they have babies how long before they can breed again? A. They *can* and will breed within days or weeks. Many breeders feel it is  better to give them some time off and only breed them once per year, again to avoid problems for the doe and kids. Pygmies can have two kidding's a year. Q. How soon are pygmy bucks fertile? A: Pygmy buckling’s can be fertile as early as 8 weeks and some have impregnated their mothers at this young age. It's important to wether them before this age if they are not going to be used as breeders. If they are going to be breeders, they need to be separated from mom and all other does at 8 weeks except for supervised feedings. Q. How soon do females start to come into heat? A. Doelings (females) usually have their first heat around 5 months of age, but there have been reports of 2 month olds getting pregnant. Q. How can I tell when my doe is in heat? A.  Signs of estrus are numerous, some obvious, some more discreet. The doe usually flags her tail side-to-side when around a buck, presumably to send attractive pheromones from her reproductive tract into the environment that a buck finds attractive. Her vulva may be more pink than normal, appear swollen, and have some clear or white-colored discharge with the consistency of egg white. This discharge usually starts clear and becomes whiter as the heat progresses. Others signs include more frequent urination and restless behavior. She may also talk more than usual, sometimes bleating very loudly at the edge of the fence line nearest the buck. Decreased appetite and milk production are also reported. The doe is in a standing heat when she stands willingly and lets a buck mount. Standing heat usually lasts from 1-24 hours. If a buck is not present, does often mount their herd mates or stand for other does to mount them. Q. What is a Pygmy Goats personality like? A. Pygmy Goats are friendly when they want to be and always comical if you have a good sense of humor. Sometimes they will do things that you don't necessarily think is cute but it is rather difficult to train them to stop doing goat things, but it is not impossible, because after all a goat does have an I.Q. of 60. By goat things I mean, like jumping on your car, pulling your clothes off your clothes line, or eating your favorite rose bush. Of course they do these things only because they are curious, not because they don't like you. You can however; goat-proof your yard and everyone will be happy. All in all goats do make really nice pets, and I know that you would enjoy having some. I say some because goats are herd animals and are not happy unless they have a friend. Does not necessarily have to be another goat but they do prefer them. Q. What type of housing do they need? A. A sturdy, well ventilated, draft-free barn is a must for your pygmy goat. They really hate to sleep outside in the cold months and they actually panic if it rains on them. Without these qualities in your barn there is a chance that your animal will become ill. Q. What type of fencing should I have? A. I use 6-foot stud panels which is over kill but I like stud panels. Standard woven livestock fencing--47 inches high with openings smaller on the bottom (4"x6") and larger on top (6"x6"). If you have babies younger than 3 months, you may have to keep a cardboard collar on them until they grow too large to squeeze through the holes. If you have bucks, you may need to run a strand of hot wire about 12" off the ground to keep them from tearing down the fence or use heavy duty cattle panels. Q. Can I get only one Pygmy goat? A. Goats are herd animals and are happiest with other goats. A minimum number is two goats, and I personally feel that three is a better number. Q. Can I keep a buck as a pet? A. An unneutered male is a smelly animal. In order to make themselves attractive to females, they urinate on themselves. They also grow long hair and exhibit 'odd' behavior--blubbering, snorting. Etc. This is normal for a buck. Bucks do not make good pets. Often, bucks that are treated as a pet become aggressive as adults. If you need a buck for breeding purposes, provide a separate pen and a wether as a companion and do not treat it as a pet! Neutered males, called wethers, however, make wonderful pets. They will look very similar to a doe, won't smell and can have wonderful temperaments. Q. Can Bucks and Does Live Together? A. Bucks should be kept in a separate pen. If housed together with does, the buck will breed the does anytime they come into heat. This can result in does being bred too early (you wouldn't breed your 12-year-old daughter just because she is 'old enough', would you?) or too frequently. Q. Do Pygmy Goats get along with other animals? A. Pygmy goats have a good-natured personality and get along well with other livestock. I have mine in with a horse, chickens and rabbits and have had sheep with them. The key is the temperament of the other livestock. I have sold goats to people with one horse who want companions for their horse and don't want to care for another large animal. Q. How expensive are Pygmy Goats to keep? A. Pygmy goats are inexpensive animals to keep, especially wethers or does not being freshened. I feed my non-breeding animals only 1/2 to one cup of feed per day and grass hay. Does that are nursing get 4 cups of feed a day and alfalfa mixed with their grass hay and growing kids get alfalfa in a creep feeder. They also have access to loose mineral salt and get selenium crumbles on their feed every day. Pygmy goats are very healthy animals for the most part and I have rarely had to take them to the vet. Q. Why does it seem that there are different types of Pygmy Goats? Some are taller and have different heads than others I have seen? A. Just as in any animal, let the buyer beware. I have seen many smaller goats sold as "pygmy" goats that are actually Pygora goats or some mixture of Pygmy and other goat breeds. Pygmy goats are a distinct breed of goat, and the only way to be sure that you are getting a true Pygmy goat is to buy registered goats from a reputable breeder. Also, within Pygmy goats, there are many different- looking goats, depending on the quality of breeding stock and how much effort the breeder is making to breed animals that look like the breed standard established by the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA). Q. Can a Pygmy goat be housebroken? A. Pygmy goats are a great, exotic animal. Though they're best kept in a wide roaming area, such as on an acreage or farm, pygmy goats are a great domesticated pet and a fun addition to any family. Females grow to around 60 pounds and males grow to around 80 pounds. They grow to an average of 23 inches. This makes it feasible for a pygmy goat to live in a home. Unfortunately, goat feces have a pungent aroma, and goats often drop feces where they stand. This cannot be avoided, but urination can be trained. Training should start with a new baby goat for the best circumstances. Read more: How to Potty Train a Pygmy Goat | eHow.co.uk  http://www.ehow.co.uk/how_5703986_potty-train-pygmy-goat.html#ixzz10Fjsg0ak Q. Are there regulations to keep pygmy goats? A. Pygmies are considered livestock. You can't necessarily stick one in your backyard. First check with your county's regulations office to see if you can legally own them. Q. Do Pygmy goats play?A. YES! Pygmies are absolutely the clowns of the barnyard. They will stand up on their hind legs and simultaneously come down and head butt each other. They talk to each other constantly. Provide them with benches to climb on or wooden cable spools and they will hop up and down on them. A bored goat is not a happy goat, so be sure to provide a stimulating environment. For us, pygmy goats make great pets. They can be loud, however, so be a good neighbour and communicate with the people around you. We went to our immediate neighbors and asked if they would object to our having goats, and they all gave us the green light. Since ours are the only ones on the block, so to speak, they're celebrities in their own right. Our neighbors bring them treats and little kids love to come to our very own petting zoo. Do your research and find out if pygmy goats would be the right pets for your family. It's a big commitment, so be sure your entire family is on board. I guarantee though, that at minimum, they will make you laugh. Q. What is CAE and why is it important to buy from a tested herd? A. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against most common ailments. CAE is the bane of many goat producers and much emphasis is placed on raising "CAE free" goats. Q. What is Johne’s disease and what causes it and why it is important to buy from a tested herd? A.  Johne's disease is a serious wasting disease of goats, which can lead to loss of production and death. The disease affects animals by causing thickening of the intestinal wall resulting in a reduction in the normal absorption of food. The disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that lives mainly in animal intestines, but can also survive in the outside environment for several months. The disease is seen more often in dairy goats than meat or fibre goats, but all breeds may be infected if they come into contact with the bacterium. Goats acquire infection at an early age through eating contaminated pasture, or drinking contaminated milk or water. The signs of disease develop slowly and the disease is rarely seen in young animals. Q. What is CL and why should I buy from a tested herd ? A.   The   disease   is   infectious   and,   under   certain   circumstances,   can   spread   quickly   through   your   herd.   Not   all   abscesses   are   caused   by this   bacteria!   In   fact,   relatively   few   abscesses   are   actually   C.L.   In   order   for   the   disease   to   be   present,   you   must   first   have   the   bacteria in   your   herd   or   on   your   ranch.   This   usually   occurs   when   an   infected   animal   is   brought   into   the   herd.   Secondly,   there   must   be   an entrance   wound   for   the   animal   to   get   the   bacteria   into   their   systems.   It   is   not   necessarily   true   that   an   animal   with   no   abscesses   will not   be   carrying   the   bacteria,   because   the   lesions   can   be   on   any   part   of   the   body   including   the   internal   organs.   Usually   the   disease   is diagnosed   when   several   animals   in   the   herd   are   noticed   to   have   a   lump   or   string   of   lumps   in   the   area   of   the   lymph   nodes.   Abscesses can   be   removed   or   carefully   cleaned   out   and,   if   there   is   no   lymph   node   involvement,   may   not   return.   A   sample   of   the   pus   in   the abscess   or   of   the   animal's   blood   can   be   sent   to   one   of   the   laboratories,   which   specialize   in   diagnosing   this   type   of   disease,   for analysis.   Pus   from   draining   abscesses   contains   very   large   numbers   of   bacteria   and   the   organism   can   survive   for   long   periods (months)   in   the   environment.   This   disease   is   transmittable   (although   cases   are   rare)   to   humans!   So   if   you   suspect   C.L.,   let   your veterinarian be the one to handle the abscess. Q.  How much should I pay for a pygmy goat? A.      Goats   are   like   anything   else   –   you   get   what   you   pay   for.      Many   things   influence   the   price   of   an   animal,   color,   pedigree,   age,   if bred   or   open,   progeny   record,   breeders   support,   if   herd   are   tested   yearly   for   CAE,   CL   and   Johnes   and   reputation.   It   does   you   little good   to   buy   an   animal   from   a   backyard   breeder   who   does   not   keep   health   records,   does   not   blood   test   and   when   you   have questions they will not return your phone calls. Q. How tall do pygmy goats get? A: DOES: 16-22 3/8" at the withers and bucks Bucks 16-23 5/8" at the withers Q. What do Pygmy goats weight? A. Females called does, 51-75 pounds and males called bucks weight 60- 85 lbs. Q. Where did Pygmy goats come from? A. Pygmy goats originated in the Cameroon Valley of West Africa. They were imported into the United States from European zoos in the 1950s for use in zoos as well as research animals. They were eventually acquired by private breeders and quickly gained popularity as pets and exhibition animals due to their good-natured personalities, friendliness and hardy constitution. Today you can find them as house pets and at petting zoos. Q. What general information is available on Pygmy goats? A: Average lifespan 10-15 years Normal body temperature 102-104°f (39.1 - 40°c) Normal pulse rate 70-95 beats per minute (faster for kids) Normal respiration rate 20-24 per minute Rumen movement 1-1.5 per minute Gestation period 145-157 days (average 150 days) Heat (estrus)cycle 18-24 days (average 21 days) Length of heat 12-48 hours (average 1 day) Weaning age (recommended) 6 - 12 weeks Males sexually mature 10-12 weeks Females onset of heat 7-12 months* Dehorning (by veterinary surgeon) By 7 days Castration; Using elastrator ring 7 days Surgical method (by vet) No age limit Q. What about Odor and Cleanliness? A. Because their diet contains no meat, goat “droppings” do not have the unpleasant odor that other pets’ manure has. Goat droppings are small pellets that can easily be raked or swept and disposed of or used as fertilizer for your garden or flower box. Pygmy goats prefer to be clean and dry and will seek out those places to rest; they do not like rain and will run for shelter when the first drops fall. Although uncastrated males can have an unpleasant smell about them, neutered males (wethers) and females have no such odor at all. A single pygmy goat kept as a pet has none of the objectionable odors typically associated with livestock simply because they are so small and are not kept in a barnyard environment with large numbers of other animals. Q.  What about noise? A.  Pygmy goats normally are not noisy animals; they may “baaa” once in a while when they see someone, but it’s a pleasant, “down home” sound. They won’ t keep your neighbors awake like a barking dog or a yowling tomcat. When darkness falls, pygmy goats go to their houses and quietly chew their cud or go to sleep. On dreary or rainy days, they prefer to stay in their houses and relax and chew their cud; and on bright, sunny days, they like to lie outside and sun bathe. Pygmies are very peaceful animals and do well in either residential or agricultural surroundings. Q. What about territory A. Pygmy goats are creatures of routine. Once they learn their “territory”, they normally are content to stay within it and do not tend to run off and annoy the neighbors. A fenced backyard is sufficient as long as the fence meets the ground so the goat cannot slip under it to sample the neighbor’s flowers. Pygmies are not great fence jumpers but do like to jump on top of doghouses or other structures to experience the “view from the top”. Be sure no such structures are next to the fence, as your goat may jump down from the structure on the wrong side of the fence and not be able to get back. Car hoods are tempting as well; so if you don’t want little hoof tracks on your shiny new car, park it somewhere else! Q.  What about space requirements? A.  A single pygmy goat kept as a pet needs relatively little space. A nice backyard is more than sufficient for a little goat. Goats are browsers rather than grazers and do not decimate your lawn; they prefer to pick the tasty clover, dandelions or broadleaf weeds and let the nice green grass grow. A common saying among goat breeders is that a goat would starve to death on a golf course —  because there are no weeds to eat! If you have a thorny patch to clean up, a pygmy goat will do the work of that expensive weed killer for you. NOTE: Should you decide to invest in more than one pygmy goat, the space requirements are still very reasonable Q. Residential Zoning? A. Many residential areas that have zoning restrictions on agricultural animals will allow a pygmy goat to be kept as a pet as long as it can be shown that the goat is not being kept for agricultural purposes. In other words, the goat is not being used for meat, milk production, fiber (wool) or commercial breeding. A pygmy goat, therefore, would meet the “pet” requirement; if you choose a male, however, we recommend neutering only because the male smell may be objectionable to your neighbors. And of course if your little goat is neutered, there can be no doubt he’s not being used for breeding.  Q. Why do you want to get goat(s)? A. This is the first question we ask people who want to buy goats from us, and this is the most important thing to ask yourself before you get your goats. The answer to this question will help you decide which type of goat that would be suit your needs and which sex would be best for you. First, you need to know that goats are not lawnmowers with legs. Although a goat's digestive system is similar to that of other ruminants, such as cattle and sheep, who are "grazers" and eat grass, goats are more related to deer, who are "browsers". As browsers, goats are designed to eat, and prefer, brush and trees more than grass. Though goats will eat grass, if you are considering getting goats to be lawnmowers, you are going to be sorely disappointed, because they will eat your trees and roses before they will work on the lawn. Goats could be used to help reclaim grasslands that have been overgrown with brush. If you want to clear brushy land, a goat will be happy to help you with this project; if you want a lawnmower with legs, get a sheep, though a sheep probably will not be as loving and as smart of a pet as a goat will be. Q. What about horns? A. You do not want a goat with horns. It is your decision to make, of course, but I'm talking to you now as a friend, let me say that, from personal experience, and knowing human nature, goats and goat behavior very well, please, do not get a goat with horns or you may regret it later. If your goats have kids, please be responsible and disbud them at the proper time. Yes, horns can be very beautiful, but they are also very dangerous, to you, your family and other goats. Even if the goat is a pet, and friendly, he/she can accidentally, or on purpose, seriously injure other goats, animals and humans. Goats learn to use their horns; they can, and will, use them on their herd mates (goat can, at times, be very violent with each other: it is their natural way). I know of a goat that gored her herd mate through the chest. A loving pet goat with horns could easily, even if accentually, injure a child- it's just not worth the risk to your children. I hate to see a pet goat end up in the auction barn because they hurt their owner, their ownerschildren, or their fellow herd mate. Horns can, and do, get caught in fences, which can be very dangerous for the goat, causing her to strangle him or herself, or leaving him/her open to attack by predators. I knew a goat that got their horns caught is a low basketball net. Don't think that if your goat has horns, he can/will defend himself against dogs (no matter what someone told you). If a dog wants to kill a goat, and he can get through your fence, he will kill the goat, with or without horns. If you are going to show your goat, or the goat is a 4-H project, he/she must be disbudded. Read more about this subject here. If you get a goat with horns over 1/2 - 3/4 inch long... you are stuck with having horns. (read this link) Q. Goat names and terminology? A. You will often hear goats referred to by the following: "Buck or Billy" - a male goat. "Doe or Nanny" - a female goat. "Kid" - a young goat. "Wether" - a castrated male goat. "Herd" - a group of goats. "Wattles" - little round balls of fur on a goats' neck close to its chin. Not all goats have wattles.  Q.  What is the origins of the goat? A. Goats were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans and were being herded 9,000 years ago. They are a member of the cattle family and are believed to be descended from the wild goat, bezoar. Q. How many breeds of goats are there? A. There are over 210 breeds of goats with an estimated 450 million goats in the world (2001). Of the 450 million goats in the world, it is estimated that approximately 6 to 8 % of them are in North America (2001). The majority of the world goat population can be found in the Mideast and Asia. Q. What are a goats eating habits? A.  Goats are ruminants or cud chewing animals that eat cracked or ground corn mixed with oats, hay and grass. Most breeders and producers prefer to limit the amount of corn in a goat's diet, preferring to feed specialized goat feed mixes with the majority of the diet being made up in a mixed, grassy alfalfa and other weeds, browse and shrubs known to be compatible with a goat's nutritional needs.Goats also have specific mineral and vitamin requirements that determine their overall health and production. These requirements often vary between breeds of goats and coloration of the goat. Most people believe that goats will eat almost anything and this is simply not true. The goat has very sensitive lips and their natural curiosity gives them a habit of "mouthing" and "smelling" for food that is clean and tasty. Goats will not eat soiled food (unless they are pushed to the point of starvation - often preferring to starve). Q. Can goats bite? A. Goats have a lower set of teeth which meet a hard pad in the upper jaw, and 24 molars on the top and bottom in the back of their mouths. Kids have 8 small, sharp teeth in their lower front jaw, and like children, when their baby teeth fall out they are replaced by permanent teeth. The age of a goat can often be closely determined by their teeth. Q. Eyes A. The pupil in a goat's eye is rectangular in shape instead of being round like those of other animals. It is believed that goats have excellent night vision and will often browse at night. The actual color of the goat's eyes is varied with the most common color being yellow or brown. Blue coloration is a bit rarer and often a characteristic many breeders will try to achieve. Q. What products are produced with goats? A. The main products associated with goats are milk, cheese, meat, mohair, and cashmere. Large dairy does produce 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each year. (On a daily basis they produce 2 or 3 quarts of milk). With the emphasis on genetics, it should be noted that breeders and producers are beginning to surpass previous levels of milk and meat production with daily yields often exceeding one gallon of milk per day. Q. How do I get started with goats. A. Starting with goats should start with reading as much as you can about them. Talk to as many people as you can find that raise goats. Subscribe to a goat magazine. Get a place to keep the goats in before you go and buy them. READ, READ, READ! You never stop learning about these fascinating animals even if you have them for many years. Don't get discouraged - goat keeping has ups and downs just like everything else. Remember - there are no stupid questions!! Q. How much milk can a Pygmy goat produce? A. A general rule of thumb is that an average Pygmy doe should give about ½ gallon per day at the peak of her lactation. A gallon of average fat milk weighs 8.6 pounds, but Pygmy milk weighs 8 lbs. because fat is lighter. Q. Pygmy goats as companion animals? A. Frequently, Pygmy goats are kept as companion animals for other species of livestock and are often found at horse breeding facilities and race tracks. An article in Spring, 1983, Memo documents an elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo suffering acute loneliness and subsequently comforted by the presence of a Pygmy wether. Q. Pygmy Goat Milk A. Mention goat milk and many people grab their throats and gargle, “AAAGH!” Pygmy goat milk is extremely sweet and delicious. Does willingly give up to 2/3 gallon per day at the peak of their lactations. I feel a doe worth her keep should give half-a-gallon per day at her peak, but a quart a day is nothing to sniff at – that’s nearly two gallons a week! The butterfat content of Pygmy milk in our herd ranges from 4.5% to over 11%. High butterfat content means the milk resists off-flavors due to dietary causes and helps maintain milk’s sweet, delicious flavor longer in cold storage. Raw Pygmy goat milk has maintained its freshness and flavor in our refrigerator for 14 days. Pygmy milk is higher in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron than milk from dairy breeds, and is lower in sodium. Q. What about having Pygmy Goats in hot climates? A. It is well documented that certain animals are best suited to certain environments. Pygmy goats evolved in the tropics, but they seem to adapt well to almost any environment.

FAQ  About Goats

© 2016 Amber Waves All Rights Reserved

Here are some general and answers about Pygmy

Goats and goats in general

It is always better to know some pygmy goat facts, before learning some pygmy goat info related to their care. Pygmy goats have originated in Africa and made their way as pets in American homes during the 1950's. Pygmy goats as pets for children are very popular today. There are two pygmy goat breeds that are registered as dwarf breeds. These include the Nigerian Dwarf and the African pygmy goat. The African pygmy goat is the common member of petting zoos. They are about 20 to 25 inches tall and weigh about 50 to 60 pounds. Their milk contains about 6% more butterfat than any other goat milk. The Nigerian dwarf goat is only 17 to 20 inches tall and weighs around 75 pounds. They can produce one quart milk every day and are happy in 1/3rd of the living space that is basically required for any other full size goat breed.The pygmy goats have a herd mentality and what more can you expect out of an IQ of just 60? If you bring home just one goat, it will become sad and lonely, bleat constantly and try to run away at all times. So, it is always better you bring home a pair, for their peace of mind as well as yours. They are very easy to care for, playful and lovable pets. Q. How long do they live? A. Approximately 8 to 12 years. Goats which are well cared for live past 15 years. Q. When do you wean their young? A.  Ideally between around 8-12 weeks... Some breeders wean as young as 4 weeks. Q. Can they kid okay? A. A goat giving birth is called "kidding". Pygmies are more prone to problems than other goat breeds, especially first time moms. Make sure someone is there when she goes into labor and keep a close eye on her. Be ready to call the vet if necessary. Q. How old are they when you breed them for the first time? A.  Some breeders will say 1 year, 14 months is even better so that mom is more mature and less likely to experience kidding problems. In any case it is a good idea if you plan to breed them to do it before they turn 2 years of age. Q. Do they have heat cycles or do they just get pregnant at any time? A. They have heat cycles approximately every 3 weeks (will vary). Some goat breeds only have heat cycles during certain seasons, but pygmies will have heat cycles every few weeks, year round. Q. After they have babies how long before they can breed again? A. They *can* and will breed within days or weeks. Many breeders feel it is  better to give them some time off and only breed them once per year, again to avoid problems for the doe and kids. Pygmies can have two kidding's a year. Q. How soon are pygmy bucks fertile? A: Pygmy buckling’s can be fertile as early as 8 weeks and some have impregnated their mothers at this young age. It's important to wether them before this age if they are not going to be used as breeders. If they are going to be breeders, they need to be separated from mom and all other does at 8 weeks except for supervised feedings. Q. How soon do females start to come into heat? A. Doelings (females) usually have their first heat around 5 months of age, but there have been reports of 2 month olds getting pregnant. Q. How can I tell when my doe is in heat? A.  Signs of estrus are numerous, some obvious, some more discreet. The doe usually flags her tail side-to-side when around a buck, presumably to send attractive pheromones from her reproductive tract into the environment that a buck finds attractive. Her vulva may be more pink than normal, appear swollen, and have some clear or white-colored discharge with the consistency of egg white. This discharge usually starts clear and becomes whiter as the heat progresses. Others signs include more frequent urination and restless behavior. She may also talk more than usual, sometimes bleating very loudly at the edge of the fence line nearest the buck. Decreased appetite and milk production are also reported. The doe is in a standing heat when she stands willingly and lets a buck mount. Standing heat usually lasts from 1-24 hours. If a buck is not present, does often mount their herd mates or stand for other does to mount them. Q. What is a Pygmy Goats personality like? A. Pygmy Goats are friendly when they want to be and always comical if you have a good sense of humor. Sometimes they will do things that you don't necessarily think is cute but it is rather difficult to train them to stop doing goat things, but it is not impossible, because after all a goat does have an I.Q. of 60. By goat things I mean, like jumping on your car, pulling your clothes off your clothes line, or eating your favorite rose bush. Of course they do these things only because they are curious, not because they don't like you. You can however; goat-proof your yard and everyone will be happy. All in all goats do make really nice pets, and I know that you would enjoy having some. I say some because goats are herd animals and are not happy unless they have a friend. Does not necessarily have to be another goat but they do prefer them. Q. What type of housing do they need? A. A sturdy, well ventilated, draft-free barn is a must for your pygmy goat. They really hate to sleep outside in the cold months and they actually panic if it rains on them. Without these qualities in your barn there is a chance that your animal will become ill. Q. What type of fencing should I have? A. I use 6-foot stud panels which is over kill but I like stud panels. Standard woven livestock fencing--47 inches high with openings smaller on the bottom (4"x6") and larger on top (6"x6"). If you have babies younger than 3 months, you may have to keep a cardboard collar on them until they grow too large to squeeze through the holes. If you have bucks, you may need to run a strand of hot wire about 12" off the ground to keep them from tearing down the fence or use heavy duty cattle panels. Q. Can I get only one Pygmy goat? A. Goats are herd animals and are happiest with other goats. A minimum number is two goats, and I personally feel that three is a better number. Q. Can I keep a buck as a pet? A. An unneutered male is a smelly animal. In order to make themselves attractive to females, they urinate on themselves. They also grow long hair and exhibit 'odd' behavior--blubbering, snorting. Etc. This is normal for a buck. Bucks do not make good pets. Often, bucks that are treated as a pet become aggressive as adults. If you need a buck for breeding purposes, provide a separate pen and a wether as a companion and do not treat it as a pet! Neutered males, called wethers, however, make wonderful pets. They will look very similar to a doe, won't smell and can have wonderful temperaments. Q. Can Bucks and Does Live Together? A. Bucks should be kept in a separate pen. If housed together with does, the buck will breed the does anytime they come into heat. This can result in does being bred too early (you wouldn't breed your 12-year-old daughter just because she is 'old enough', would you?) or too frequently. Q. Do Pygmy Goats get along with other animals? A. Pygmy goats have a good-natured personality and get along well with other livestock. I have mine in with a horse, chickens and rabbits and have had sheep with them. The key is the temperament of the other livestock. I have sold goats to people with one horse who want companions for their horse and don't want to care for another large animal. Q. How expensive are Pygmy Goats to keep? A. Pygmy goats are inexpensive animals to keep, especially wethers or does not being freshened. I feed my non-breeding animals only 1/2 to one cup of feed per day and grass hay. Does that are nursing get 4 cups of feed a day and alfalfa mixed with their grass hay and growing kids get alfalfa in a creep feeder. They also have access to loose mineral salt and get selenium crumbles on their feed every day. Pygmy goats are very healthy animals for the most part and I have rarely had to take them to the vet. Q. Why does it seem that there are different types of Pygmy Goats? Some are taller and have different heads than others I have seen? A. Just as in any animal, let the buyer beware. I have seen many smaller goats sold as "pygmy" goats that are actually Pygora goats or some mixture of Pygmy and other goat breeds. Pygmy goats are a distinct breed of goat, and the only way to be sure that you are getting a true Pygmy goat is to buy registered goats from a reputable breeder. Also, within Pygmy goats, there are many different-looking goats, depending on the quality of breeding stock and how much effort the breeder is making to breed animals that look like the breed standard established by the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA). Q. Can a Pygmy goat be housebroken? A. Pygmy goats are a great, exotic animal. Though they're best kept in a wide roaming area, such as on an acreage or farm, pygmy goats are a great domesticated pet and a fun addition to any family. Females grow to around 60 pounds and males grow to around 80 pounds. They grow to an average of 23 inches. This makes it feasible for a pygmy goat to live in a home. Unfortunately, goat feces have a pungent aroma, and goats often drop feces where they stand. This cannot be avoided, but urination can be trained. Training should start with a new baby goat for the best circumstances. Read more: How to Potty Train a Pygmy Goat | eHow.co.uk http://www.ehow.co.uk/how_5703986_potty-train- pygmy-goat.html#ixzz10Fjsg0ak Q. Are there regulations to keep pygmy goats? A. Pygmies are considered livestock. You can't necessarily stick one in your backyard. First check with your county's regulations office to see if you can legally own them. Q. Do Pygmy goats play?A. YES! Pygmies are absolutely the clowns of the barnyard. They will stand up on their hind legs and simultaneously come down and head butt each other. They talk to each other constantly. Provide them with benches to climb on or wooden cable spools and they will hop up and down on them. A bored goat is not a happy goat, so be sure to provide a stimulating environment. For us, pygmy goats make great pets. They can be loud, however, so be a good neighbour and communicate with the people around you. We went to our immediate neighbors and asked if they would object to our having goats, and they all gave us the green light. Since ours are the only ones on the block, so to speak, they're celebrities in their own right. Our neighbors bring them treats and little kids love to come to our very own petting zoo. Do your research and find out if pygmy goats would be the right pets for your family. It's a big commitment, so be sure your entire family is on board. I guarantee though, that at minimum, they will make you laugh. Q. What is CAE and why is it important to buy from a tested herd? A. Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against most common ailments. CAE is the bane of many goat producers and much emphasis is placed on raising "CAE free" goats. Q. What is Johne’s disease and what causes it and why it is important to buy from a tested herd? A.  Johne's disease is a serious wasting disease of goats, which can lead to loss of production and death. The disease affects animals by causing thickening of the intestinal wall resulting in a reduction in the normal absorption of food. The disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that lives mainly in animal intestines, but can also survive in the outside environment for several months. The disease is seen more often in dairy goats than meat or fibre goats, but all breeds may be infected if they come into contact with the bacterium. Goats acquire infection at an early age through eating contaminated pasture, or drinking contaminated milk or water. The signs of disease develop slowly and the disease is rarely seen in young animals. Q. What is CL and why should I buy from a tested herd ? A.   The   disease   is   infectious   and,   under   certain   circumstances,   can spread   quickly   through   your   herd.   Not   all   abscesses   are   caused   by this   bacteria!   In   fact,   relatively   few   abscesses   are   actually   C.L.   In order    for    the    disease    to    be    present,    you    must    first    have    the bacteria   in   your   herd   or   on   your   ranch.   This   usually   occurs   when   an infected   animal   is   brought   into   the   herd.   Secondly,   there   must   be an   entrance   wound   for   the   animal   to   get   the   bacteria   into   their systems.   It   is   not   necessarily   true   that   an   animal   with   no   abscesses will   not   be   carrying   the   bacteria,   because   the   lesions   can   be   on   any part   of   the   body   including   the   internal   organs.   Usually   the   disease is   diagnosed   when   several   animals   in   the   herd   are   noticed   to   have a    lump    or    string    of    lumps    in    the    area    of    the    lymph    nodes. Abscesses   can   be   removed   or   carefully   cleaned   out   and,   if   there   is no   lymph   node   involvement,   may   not   return.   A   sample   of   the   pus in   the   abscess   or   of   the   animal's   blood   can   be   sent   to   one   of   the laboratories,   which   specialize   in   diagnosing   this   type   of   disease,   for analysis.   Pus   from   draining   abscesses   contains   very   large   numbers of   bacteria   and   the   organism   can   survive   for   long   periods   (months) in   the   environment.   This   disease   is   transmittable   (although   cases are   rare)   to   humans!   So   if   you   suspect   C.L.,   let   your   veterinarian   be the one to handle the abscess. Q.  How much should I pay for a pygmy goat? A.      Goats   are   like   anything   else   –   you   get   what   you   pay   for.      Many things   influence   the   price   of   an   animal,   color,   pedigree,   age,   if   bred or    open,    progeny    record,    breeders    support,    if    herd    are    tested yearly   for   CAE,   CL   and   Johnes   and   reputation.   It   does   you   little good   to   buy   an   animal   from   a   backyard   breeder   who   does   not   keep health   records,   does   not   blood   test   and   when   you   have   questions they will not return your phone calls. Q. How tall do pygmy goats get? A:   DOES:   16-22   3/8"   at   the   withers   and   bucks   Bucks   16-23   5/8"   at the withers Q. What do Pygmy goats weight? A.    Females    called    does,    51-75    pounds    and    males    called    bucks weight 60- 85 lbs. Q. Where did Pygmy goats come from? A. Pygmy goats originated in the Cameroon Valley of West Africa. They were imported into the United States from European zoos in the 1950s for use in zoos as well as research animals. They were eventually acquired by private breeders and quickly gained popularity as pets and exhibition animals due to their good- natured personalities, friendliness and hardy constitution. Today you can find them as house pets and at petting zoos. Q. What general information is available on Pygmy goats? A: Average lifespan 10-15 years Normal body temperature 102-104°f (39.1 - 40°c) Normal pulse rate 70-95 beats per minute (faster for kids) Normal respiration rate 20-24 per minute Rumen movement 1-1.5 per minute Gestation period 145-157 days (average 150 days) Heat (estrus)cycle 18-24 days (average 21 days) Length of heat 12-48 hours (average 1 day) Weaning age (recommended) 6 - 12 weeks Males sexually mature 10-12 weeks Females onset of heat 7-12 months* Dehorning (by veterinary surgeon) By 7 days Castration; Using elastrator ring 7 days Surgical method (by vet) No age limit Q. What about Odor and Cleanliness? A. Because their diet contains no meat, goat “droppings” do not have the unpleasant odor that other pets’ manure has. Goat droppings are small pellets that can easily be raked or swept and  disposed of or used as fertilizer for your garden or flower box. Pygmy goats prefer to be clean and dry and will seek out those places to rest; they do not like rain and will run for shelter when the first drops fall. Although uncastrated males can have an unpleasant smell about them, neutered males (wethers) and females have no such odor at all. A single pygmy goat kept as a pet has none of the objectionable odors typically associated with livestock simply because they are so small and are not kept in a barnyard environment with large numbers of other animals. Q.  What about noise? A.  Pygmy goats normally are not noisy animals; they may “baaa” once in a while when they see someone, but it’s a pleasant, “down home” sound. They won’ t keep your neighbors awake like a barking dog or a yowling tomcat. When darkness falls, pygmy goats go to their houses and quietly chew their cud or go to sleep. On dreary or rainy days, they prefer to stay in their houses and relax and chew their cud; and on bright, sunny days, they like to lie outside and sun bathe. Pygmies are very peaceful animals and do well in either residential or agricultural surroundings. Q. What about territory A. Pygmy goats are creatures of routine. Once they learn their “territory”, they normally are content to stay within it and do not tend to run off and annoy the neighbors. A fenced backyard is sufficient as long as the fence meets the ground so the goat cannot slip under it to sample the neighbor’s flowers. Pygmies are not great fence jumpers but do like to jump on top of doghouses or other structures to experience the “view from the top”. Be sure no such structures are next to the fence, as your goat may jump down from the structure on the wrong side of the fence and not be able to get back. Car hoods are tempting as well; so if you don’t want little hoof tracks on your shiny new car, park it somewhere else! Q.  What about space requirements? A.  A single pygmy goat kept as a pet needs relatively little space. A nice backyard is more than sufficient for a little goat. Goats are browsers rather than grazers and do not decimate your lawn; they prefer to pick the tasty clover, dandelions or broadleaf weeds and let the nice green grass grow. A common saying among goat breeders is that a goat would starve to death on a golf course —  because there are no weeds to eat! If you have a thorny patch to clean up, a pygmy goat will do the work of that expensive weed killer for you. NOTE: Should you decide to invest in more than one pygmy goat, the space requirements are still very reasonable Q. Residential Zoning? A. Many residential areas that have zoning restrictions on agricultural animals will allow a pygmy goat to be kept as a pet as long as it can be shown that the goat is not being kept for agricultural purposes. In other words, the goat is not being used for meat, milk production, fiber (wool) or commercial breeding. A pygmy goat, therefore, would meet the “pet” requirement; if you choose a male, however, we recommend neutering only because the male smell may be objectionable to your neighbors. And of course if your little goat is neutered, there can be no doubt he’s not being used for breeding.  Q. Why do you want to get goat(s)? A. This is the first question we ask people who want to buy goats from us, and this is the most important thing to ask yourself before you get your goats. The answer to this question will help you decide which type of goat that would be suit your needs and which sex would be best for you. First, you need to know that goats are not lawnmowers with legs. Although a goat's digestive system is similar to that of other ruminants, such as cattle and sheep, who are "grazers" and eat grass, goats are more related to deer, who are "browsers". As browsers, goats are designed to eat, and prefer, brush and trees more than grass. Though goats will eat grass, if you are considering getting goats to be lawnmowers, you are going to be sorely disappointed, because they will eat your trees and roses before they will work on the lawn. Goats could be used to help reclaim grasslands that have been overgrown with brush. If you want to clear brushy land, a goat will be happy to help you with this project; if you want a lawnmower with legs, get a sheep, though a sheep probably will not be as loving and as smart of a pet as a goat will be. Q. What about horns? A. You do not want a goat with horns. It is your decision to make, of course, but I'm talking to you now as a friend, let me say that, from personal experience, and knowing human nature, goats and goat behavior very well, please, do not get a goat with horns or you may regret it later. If your goats have kids, please be responsible and disbud them at the proper time. Yes, horns can be very beautiful, but they are also very dangerous, to you, your family and other goats. Even if the goat is a pet, and friendly, he/she can accidentally, or on purpose, seriously injure other goats, animals and humans. Goats learn to use their horns; they can, and will, use them on their herd mates (goat can, at times, be very violent with each other: it is their natural way). I know of a goat that gored her herd mate through the chest. A loving pet goat with horns could easily, even if accentually, injure a child- it's just not worth the risk to your children. I hate to see a pet goat end up in the auction barn because they hurt their owner, their ownerschildren, or their fellow herd mate. Horns can, and do, get caught in fences, which can be very dangerous for the goat, causing her to strangle him or herself, or leaving him/her open to attack by predators. I knew a goat that got their horns caught is a low basketball net. Don't think that if your goat has horns, he can/will defend himself against dogs (no matter what someone told you). If a dog wants to kill a goat, and he can get through your fence, he will kill the goat, with or without horns. If you are going to show your goat, or the goat is a 4-H project, he/she must be disbudded. Read more about this subject here. If you get a goat with horns over 1/2 - 3/4 inch long... you are stuck with having horns. (read this link) Q. Goat names and terminology? A. You will often hear goats referred to by the following: "Buck or Billy" - a male goat. "Doe or Nanny" - a female goat. "Kid" - a young goat. "Wether" - a castrated male goat. "Herd" - a group of goats. "Wattles" - little round balls of fur on a goats' neck close to its chin. Not all goats have wattles.  Q.  What is the origins of the goat? A. Goats were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans and were being herded 9,000 years ago. They are a member of the cattle family and are believed to be descended from the wild goat, bezoar. Q. How many breeds of goats are there? A. There are over 210 breeds of goats with an estimated 450 million goats in the world (2001). Of the 450 million goats in the world, it is estimated that approximately 6 to 8 % of them are in North America (2001). The majority of the world goat population can be found in the Mideast and Asia. Q. What are a goats eating habits? A.  Goats are ruminants or cud chewing animals that eat cracked or ground corn mixed with oats, hay and grass. Most breeders and producers prefer to limit the amount of corn in a goat's diet, preferring to feed specialized goat feed mixes with the majority of the diet being made up in a mixed, grassy alfalfa and other weeds, browse and shrubs known to be compatible with a goat's nutritional needs.Goats also have specific mineral and vitamin requirements that determine their overall health and production. These requirements often vary between breeds of goats and coloration of the goat. Most people believe that goats will eat almost anything and this is simply not true. The goat has very sensitive lips and their natural curiosity gives them a habit of "mouthing" and "smelling" for food that is clean and tasty. Goats will not eat soiled food (unless they are pushed to the point of starvation - often preferring to starve). Q. Can goats bite? A. Goats have a lower set of teeth which meet a hard pad in the upper jaw, and 24 molars on the top and bottom in the back of their mouths. Kids have 8 small, sharp teeth in their lower front jaw, and like children, when their baby teeth fall out they are replaced by permanent teeth. The age of a goat can often be closely determined by their teeth. Q. Eyes A. The pupil in a goat's eye is rectangular in shape instead of being round like those of other animals. It is believed that goats have excellent night vision and will often browse at night. The actual color of the goat's eyes is varied with the most common color being yellow or brown. Blue coloration is a bit rarer and often a characteristic many breeders will try to achieve. Q. What products are produced with goats? A. The main products associated with goats are milk, cheese, meat, mohair, and cashmere. Large dairy does produce 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each year. (On a daily basis they produce 2 or 3 quarts of milk). With the emphasis on genetics, it should be noted that breeders and producers are beginning to surpass previous levels of milk and meat production with daily yields often exceeding one gallon of milk per day. Q. How do I get started with goats. A. Starting with goats should start with reading as much as you can about them. Talk to as many people as you can find that raise goats. Subscribe to a goat magazine. Get a place to keep the goats in before you go and buy them. READ, READ, READ! You never stop learning about these fascinating animals even if you have them for many years. Don't get discouraged - goat keeping has ups and downs just like everything else. Remember - there are no stupid questions!! Q. How much milk can a Pygmy goat produce? A. A general rule of thumb is that an average Pygmy doe should give about ½ gallon per day at the peak of her lactation. A gallon of average fat milk weighs 8.6 pounds, but Pygmy milk weighs 8 lbs. because fat is lighter. Q. Pygmy goats as companion animals? A. Frequently, Pygmy goats are kept as companion animals for other species of livestock and are often found at horse breeding facilities and race tracks. An article in Spring, 1983, Memo documents an elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo suffering acute loneliness and subsequently comforted by the presence of a Pygmy wether. Q. Pygmy Goat Milk A. Mention goat milk and many people grab their throats and gargle, “AAAGH!” Pygmy goat milk is extremely sweet and delicious. Does willingly give up to 2/3 gallon per day at the peak of their lactations. I feel a doe worth her keep should give half-a- gallon per day at her peak, but a quart a day is nothing to sniff at – that’s nearly two gallons a week! The butterfat content of Pygmy milk in our herd ranges from 4.5% to over 11%. High butterfat content means the milk resists off-flavors due to dietary causes and helps maintain milk’s sweet, delicious flavor longer in cold storage. Raw Pygmy goat milk has maintained its freshness and flavor in our refrigerator for 14 days. Pygmy milk is higher in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron than milk from dairy breeds, and is lower in sodium. Q. What about having Pygmy Goats in hot climates? A. It is well documented that certain animals are best suited to certain environments. Pygmy goats evolved in the tropics, but they seem to adapt well to almost any environment.