How to Keep Pygmy Goats

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

Items you will need

  • Permission to keep goats from any applicable authorities.

  • Shed or barn with draft protection and good ventilation.

  • Hay hopper and sturdy water bowl.

  • Fresh food including hay, vegetables and fruits.

  • A reputable veterinarian and vaccinations.

Warnings

  • Obtain your goats from a reputable breeder who makes sure they are weaned and eating well on their own before going to a new home. This can be between 8 and 12 weeks of age. If not neutered, separate male and female goats not intended for breeding at 12 weeks of age.

Tips

  • Find out what your goat has been eating and mix his old diet with any new diet over a period of a week to 10 days. Find out if the herd used by your goat's breeder is regularly tested for disease.

A pygmy goat can bring your own personal petting zoo to your backyard when kept as a friendly, energetic pet. Tipping the scales at 40 to 70 pounds and measuring not quite 2 feet at their tallest point, these intelligent and lively creatures need an environment not just to exist but to thrive. Be sure to provide suitable housing, health and wellness checks and a nourishing diet for your pygmy.

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Make sure that you're allowed to keep goats per your city or county zoning regulations as well as any homeowner association rules. Neutering a male goat will eliminate the strong odor that a buck will otherwise give off to attract does. Pygmy goats also are herd animals that do best in at least pairs, so ensure that you have enough room to keep two or more. Make sure that you'll be in an ideal location to care for a goat with a 10- to 15-year life span.

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Each goat should have about 20 square feet of floor space in a shed or barn, be protected from the elements and drafts yet well-ventilated and have a nearby fenced area for run time. A space attached to the stall is so goats can come and go as they please. Sturdy benches 2 feet high can help to satisfy a pygmy goat's need to jump and should be wide enough for nap time. Use clay, concrete or wood for flooring, bearing in mind cleaning ease and your goat's comfort. Use a hopper to keep hay off the floor yet within easy reach for a snack.

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Plan a balanced diet for your pygmy centered on a healthy variety of clean, fresh foods. The staple of this diet is hay such as high-protein alfalfa, which can be supplemented with soybean meal or pellet feed. Despite the stereotype that goats are happiest when simply unleashed as a lawn mower, they'll pick through a verdant field of grass to find the dandelions and clover, so consider these as treats while keeping poisonous plants such as evergreen and daffodils out of reach. Add fruits and vegetables to round out the diet, and keep fresh, clean water available at all times.

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Establish a relationship with a large-animal veterinarian, gathering recommendations from breeders if need be, before an emergency arises. Preventive care includes hoof trimming every four to six weeks and vaccinations include tetanus, enterotoxemia and rabies. Discuss twice-a-year deworming, nutritional supplements and lice treatments with your vet as well. Keep your goat's living quarters clean with fresh air circulation to lessen the likelihood for respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Photo Credits

  • Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media