© 2017 Amber Waves All Rights Reserved

Pygmy Goats as Pets

Having   unusual   pets   is   a   hobby   for   some   people.   Some   people   like   to   keep   wild   felines   and   tea   cup   pigs,   while   others find   it   rewarding   to   keep   a   pygmy   goat    as   a   pet.   One   thing   to   remember   about   keeping   goats   as   pets    is   that   they require   a   much   different   approach   in   contrast   to   taking   care   of   usual   house   pets   such   as   dogs,   cats   and   rabbits.   Most small   veterinary   clinics   do   not   carry   specialty   for   such   pets.   As   an   owner,   you   should   know   a   few   basics   things   about them. Lifespan and Reproduction Your   pet   pygmy   goat   is   expected   to   live   for   about   7   to   18   years   but   most   of   them   can   only   live   up   to   12   years.   The males   are   called   bucks   and   the   females   are   does.   Their   young   are   called   kids.   Their   fur   coating   varies   in   color.   From the   withers,   they   can   grow   around   16   to   24   inches   (2   feet)   tall.   Because   they   will   be   kept   as   pets,   it   is   recommended to   have   them   dehorned   by   a   veterinarian   at   the   age   of   7   days.   Once   they   are   adults,   their   hooves   have   to   be trimmed every 2 to 3 months. Almost   all   animals   experience   heat.   Heat   or   the   oestrus   cycle   is   a   period   in   which   their   reproductive   instincts   and desires   peak   due   to   hormonal   changes.   Oestrus   cycles   are   temporary   but   reoccurring.   Bucks   and   does   will   be   more drawn   to   reproducing.   Bucks   will   become   more   aggressive   to   other   bucks.   Bucks   become   sexually   mature   earlier than   does.   Around   9   to   12   weeks,   bucks   will   already   search   for   does.   Females,   however,   take   around   3   to   8   months to   be   sexually   mature.   If   you   keep   both   does   and   bucks   and   wish   for   them   not   to   reproduce,   the   best   way   is   to   have bucks castrated. Surgical castration does not have an age limit but can only be done by a licensed veterinarian. Kids   can   be   weaned   around   8   to   10   weeks,   depending   on   their   health.   By   then,   you   should   start   introducing   hay   and rolled   grains   slowly.   Their   rumen   will   develop   the   moment   they   are   separated   from   their   mother’s   milk   supply   and are   fed   with   roughages.   Do   not   wean   them   earlier   than   8   weeks   as   their   stomachs   are   not   fully   prepared   to   digest hay. Diet and Nutrition Just   like   cattle,   pygmy   goats   are   ruminant.   They   have   4   stomach   compartments   in   which   they   store   their   food.   This property   enables   them   to   regurgitate   chewed   food   before   completely   passing   it   to   other   stomach   compartments   to be   fully   digested.   Their   diet   is   composed   of   grains,   forages   and   hay.   Barley,   corn   and   milo   are   grains   that   are   good sources   of   energy.   You   can   feed   them   whole,   ground   and   rolled   grain   on   a   daily   basis   but   don’t   make   their   diet revolve   around   one   type   of   food.   Always   prepare   these   3   basic   types   and   let   them   choose.   Forages   can   be   grass, weeds,   dandelions,   blackberry,   wild   lettuce   and   rabbit   brush.   These   plants   usually   grow   abundantly   outdoors.   As   for hay, you can feed them with alfalfa, legume and clover hay. Carbohydrates,   proteins,   vitamins   and   minerals   are   tremendously   important   for   them.   Basic   Carbohydrates   are   their main   source   of   energy,   but   they   should   also   be   fed   with   fat   and   starches.   This   can   be   sourced   from   grains.   Hay   is   a good   source   of   protein.   Large   amounts   of   calcium   and   phosphorous   are   crucial   for   pregnant   and   lactating   does. Lactating   does   can   die   of   hypocalcemia   if   they   lack   extra   sources   of   calcium.   To   provide   your   pets   with   extra   calcium, you   can   mix   ground   limestone,   iodized   salt   and   steamed   bone   together   and   let   them   eat   it   during   the   day.   Make   sure that   the   ground   limestone   is   of   the   highest   concentration.   This   special   mixture   provides   iodine,   too.   For   the   vitamin intake,   make   sure   that   they   are   getting   enough   vitamin   A   and   vitamin   D.   You   can   secure   their   adequate   intake   of vitamin   A   by   feeding   them   with   grains   and   leafy   sources   with   yellow   pigment.   This   yellow   pigment   contains   high amounts   of   carotene   that   is   converted   to   vitamin   A   by   their   system.   The   cheapest   way   to   boost   vitamin   D   in   their system   is   to   expose   them   to   sunlight.   Morning   sunlight,   preferably   6   AM   to   10   AM   is   the   best   because   it   is   not   too hot.   If   you’re   living   in   a   cold   climate,   any   time   period   will   do.   Their   complete   nutritional   intake   is   set   by   the   National Pygmy Goat Association. Lastly,   they   need   to   be   vaccinated.   Once   they   are   healthy,   it   is   important   to   keep   them   happy.   Give   them   a companion to play with because they are not solitary creatures. Housing It   is   not   suitable   to   keep   them   inside   your   home   because   pygmy   goats   love   to   roam   free   outdoors.   Moreover,   their waste   excretions   can   be   a   sanitation   problem   to   your   family.   They   can   be   hard   to   train,   unlike   dogs.   Lastly,   they have   a   habit   of   chewing   on   non-edible   materials   such   as   leather   and   textile.   Therefore,   it   is   a   must   to   keep   them outdoors.   If   you   live   in   an   apartment   or   condominium,   you   clearly   should   not   get   them   as   pets.   They   can   adapt easily   to   the   climate,   but   as   an   owner,   you   have   to   build   them   a   special   shelter   to   protect   them   from   extreme   heat, rain,   hail   and   snow.   Make   sure   to   stuff   their   shelter   with   hay,   wood   shavings   and   enough   food   and   water   to   keep them   warm   during   winter.   They   also   love   to   frolic   around   from   time   to   time.   Give   them   something   to   hop   on   like   a piece   of   sturdy   log   and   large   wooden   boxes.   Keep   them   away   from   cars   as   they   have   the   habit   of   jumping   on   the hood. If   you   own   a   big   piece   of   land   and   you   plan   to   let   them   roam   to   graze   for   almost   the   entire   day,   make   sure   that   the area   is   secured   against   predators   because   goats    are   very   easy   prays.   You   can   do   this   by   enclosing   your   property with high fences or steel mesh walls. Legalities Some   countries,   like   Germany   require   pets   to   be   licensed.   In   that   case,   abide   to   your   country’s   rules   when   it   comes to   keeping   pets.   Some   states   even   require   permits   to   build   stables   or   any   type   of   animal   shelter.   They   can   confiscate your pets and bring them to the local animal shelter if you violated the rules.

Pygmy Goats

As Pets

© 2016 Amber Waves All Rights Reserved

Pygmy Goats as Pets

Having   unusual   pets   is   a   hobby   for   some   people.   Some people   like   to   keep   wild   felines   and   tea   cup   pigs,   while others   find   it   rewarding   to   keep   a   pygmy   goat    as   a pet.   One   thing   to   remember   about   keeping   goats   as pets    is   that   they   require   a   much   different   approach   in contrast   to   taking   care   of   usual   house   pets   such   as dogs,   cats   and   rabbits.   Most   small   veterinary   clinics   do not   carry   specialty   for   such   pets.   As   an   owner,   you should know a few basics things about them. Lifespan and Reproduction Your   pet   pygmy   goat   is   expected   to   live   for   about   7   to 18   years   but   most   of   them   can   only   live   up   to   12   years. The   males   are   called   bucks   and   the   females   are   does. Their   young   are   called   kids.   Their   fur   coating   varies   in color.   From   the   withers,   they   can   grow   around   16   to   24 inches   (2   feet)   tall.   Because   they   will   be   kept   as   pets,   it is     recommended     to     have     them     dehorned     by     a veterinarian   at   the   age   of   7   days.   Once   they   are   adults, their hooves have to be trimmed every 2 to 3 months. Almost   all   animals   experience   heat.   Heat   or   the   oestrus cycle   is   a   period   in   which   their   reproductive   instincts and   desires   peak   due   to   hormonal   changes.   Oestrus cycles   are   temporary   but   reoccurring.   Bucks   and   does will   be   more   drawn   to   reproducing.   Bucks   will   become more   aggressive   to   other   bucks.   Bucks   become   sexually mature   earlier   than   does.   Around   9   to   12   weeks,   bucks will   already   search   for   does.   Females,   however,   take around   3   to   8   months   to   be   sexually   mature.   If   you keep   both   does   and   bucks   and   wish   for   them   not   to reproduce,   the   best   way   is   to   have   bucks   castrated. Surgical   castration   does   not   have   an   age   limit   but   can only be done by a licensed veterinarian. Kids   can   be   weaned   around   8   to   10   weeks,   depending on   their   health.   By   then,   you   should   start   introducing hay   and   rolled   grains   slowly.   Their   rumen   will   develop the   moment   they   are   separated   from   their   mother’s milk   supply   and   are   fed   with   roughages.   Do   not   wean them   earlier   than   8   weeks   as   their   stomachs   are   not fully prepared to digest hay. Diet and Nutrition Just   like   cattle,   pygmy   goats   are   ruminant.   They   have   4 stomach   compartments   in   which   they   store   their   food. This   property   enables   them   to   regurgitate   chewed   food before     completely     passing     it     to     other     stomach compartments    to    be    fully    digested.    Their    diet    is composed   of   grains,   forages   and   hay.   Barley,   corn   and milo   are   grains   that   are   good   sources   of   energy.   You   can feed   them   whole,   ground   and   rolled   grain   on   a   daily basis   but   don’t   make   their   diet   revolve   around   one   type of   food.   Always   prepare   these   3   basic   types   and   let them   choose.   Forages   can   be   grass,   weeds,   dandelions, blackberry,   wild   lettuce   and   rabbit   brush.   These   plants usually   grow   abundantly   outdoors.   As   for   hay,   you   can feed them with alfalfa, legume and clover hay. Carbohydrates,    proteins,    vitamins    and    minerals    are tremendously   important   for   them.   Basic   Carbohydrates are   their   main   source   of   energy,   but   they   should   also   be fed   with   fat   and   starches.   This   can   be   sourced   from grains.   Hay   is   a   good   source   of   protein.   Large   amounts of   calcium   and   phosphorous   are   crucial   for   pregnant   and lactating   does.   Lactating   does   can   die   of   hypocalcemia   if they   lack   extra   sources   of   calcium.   To   provide   your   pets with    extra    calcium,    you    can    mix    ground    limestone, iodized   salt   and   steamed   bone   together   and   let   them eat    it    during    the    day.    Make    sure    that    the    ground limestone   is   of   the   highest   concentration.   This   special mixture   provides   iodine,   too.   For   the   vitamin   intake, make   sure   that   they   are   getting   enough   vitamin   A   and vitamin    D.    You    can    secure    their    adequate    intake    of vitamin   A   by   feeding   them   with   grains   and   leafy   sources with   yellow   pigment.   This   yellow   pigment   contains   high amounts   of   carotene   that   is   converted   to   vitamin   A   by their   system.   The   cheapest   way   to   boost   vitamin   D   in their   system   is   to   expose   them   to   sunlight.   Morning sunlight,   preferably   6   AM   to   10   AM   is   the   best   because it   is   not   too   hot.   If   you’re   living   in   a   cold   climate,   any time   period   will   do.   Their   complete   nutritional   intake   is set by the National Pygmy Goat Association. Lastly,    they    need    to    be    vaccinated.    Once    they    are healthy,   it   is   important   to   keep   them   happy.   Give   them a   companion   to   play   with   because   they   are   not   solitary creatures. Housing It    is    not    suitable    to    keep    them    inside    your    home because    pygmy    goats    love    to    roam    free    outdoors. Moreover,   their   waste   excretions   can   be   a   sanitation problem    to    your    family.    They    can    be    hard    to    train, unlike   dogs.   Lastly,   they   have   a   habit   of   chewing   on non-edible    materials    such    as    leather    and    textile. Therefore,   it   is   a   must   to   keep   them   outdoors.   If   you live   in   an   apartment   or   condominium,   you   clearly   should not   get   them   as   pets.   They   can   adapt   easily   to   the climate,   but   as   an   owner,   you   have   to   build   them   a special   shelter   to   protect   them   from   extreme   heat,   rain, hail   and   snow.   Make   sure   to   stuff   their   shelter   with   hay, wood    shavings    and    enough    food    and    water    to    keep them    warm    during    winter.    They    also    love    to    frolic around   from   time   to   time.   Give   them   something   to   hop on   like   a   piece   of   sturdy   log   and   large   wooden   boxes. Keep   them   away   from   cars   as   they   have   the   habit   of jumping on the hood. If   you   own   a   big   piece   of   land   and   you   plan   to   let   them roam   to   graze   for   almost   the   entire   day,   make   sure   that the   area   is   secured   against   predators   because   goats   are   very   easy   prays.   You   can   do   this   by   enclosing   your property with high fences or steel mesh walls. Legalities Some    countries,    like    Germany    require    pets    to    be licensed.   In   that   case,   abide   to   your   country’s   rules when    it    comes    to    keeping    pets.    Some    states    even require   permits   to   build   stables   or   any   type   of   animal shelter.   They   can   confiscate   your   pets   and   bring   them   to the local animal shelter if you violated the rules.