Many people swear by the dog as a family pet. However, more and more people are discovering that pygmy goats can also be great pets, perhaps even rivaling “man’s best friend.” These goats grow to about the size of a dog, are very friendly, relatively easy to take care of, and do not make a lot of noise. This article discusses some of the things to keep in mind when raising pygmy goats.
If you are raising a newborn pygmy goat the first thing you are going to want to consider is getting its horns removed. This process is referred to as “debudding” and should be done by about the age of two weeks. If you wait later than this it will be more and more painful for the goat. The reason you want to remove the horns is because even though pygmies are friendly and not aggressive, they are goats and do like to butt their heads. You would not want a friendly head butt to turn into a serious injury. Goats are also great at getting into mischief, so you do not want to see the goat get his horn stuck somewhere.
Next if you have a male goat, you are probably going to want to neuter him, unless you plan on using him to breed. Male pygmies can be more aggressive, and also emit an odor that many might find unpleasant. If you decide not to neuter the goat, try to keep him away from females that are younger than one year old, because pygmy goats can give birth as early as three months old. Breeding that early could be problematic for the pygmies, as due to their short stature they already have issues giving birth (often Caesarean sections are required).
Raising pygmy goats in a standard sized dog house is quite feasible as the animals are about the same size and do not need extra room. Try to keep the shelter facing the sun (south side in Northern Hemisphere, and north side in Southern Hemisphere). Pygmy goats tend to be well in temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Harsher colder climates might require a larger, better shelter.
Natural food such as vegetative clippings is great for pygmies. One of the great benefits of these animals is that they really love to eat weeds, but tend to leave the grass in tact. Hay can be used in the winter time when there is less natural foliage around. You should also consider supplementing their diet with standard goat chow. Make sure not to overfeed them as goats have a tendency to gorge themselves, with very bad consequences for their health.
In terms of other maintenance, you are also going to want to trim their hooves every four to six weeks as well as groom them regularly with a bristled brush. Another important consideration is to keep pygmies away from cars and other items that you do not want them to jump on. Having items like old tables for them to climb on is good, but do not put them anywhere near the fence. Also make sure the fencing is at least four feet high to keep them contained to the yard.
Raising pygmy goats can be fun for adults and children alike. And the best part of all is you will never have to worry about being yelled at for your pets barking too much. However, just make sure to keep the animals fenced in, or the little pygmies could make themselves at home on top of your neighbor’s brand new car.