Some Pygmy Characteristics
These goats differ from normal ones in the body size and structure. They are small, compact, and muscular, giving them a uniquely stocky look. With the size of a large dog, i.e. about 16 to 23 inches from shoulder to ground, they are totally unlike normal goats. They weigh around 120 pounds or more, and sport light to dense coats depending on the climate of their native region. They are generally found in white, tan, black, and agouti (white and black mixed together, giving them a mostly gray look) colored coats.
No two pygmies are the same, not even twins or siblings. Each one has a distinct personality, and each one will have specifically distinct needs. While most are aloof yet friendly, not all will be delighted to see you. Not all will welcome you home like a faithful pet dog and not all will be delightfully pleasant companions. Yet, most are congenial and docile and more often than not, their happy days will far outnumber the crabby ones. Even with the gender, females are generally docile and good-natured while the males are a little more stubborn, obstinate, and independent. You will just have to bear their moods. They are known to be stubborn and a bit headstrong. They absolutely hate getting wet and will do anything to avoid it.
Display of Emotions
Most of them are gentle and responsive to humans and a few happy owners claim that their pygmies actually demand love and attention by nudging them here and there. The thing is, if you wish for an enthusiastic pet that will wait for you to come home, wag his tail endlessly to show his excitement and happiness while you are around, and whine till hell freezes over when you insist on him sleeping outside, you need a dog and not a pygmy. They normally hide their feelings very well and so even if they love you to death, they are unlikely to show it. It will wag the tail momentarily while you are around and the next moment, go back to its usual blank stare. Although they are just as loyal and faithful as dogs, they are not that expressive. They are generally very loud when expressing their displeasure or demanding something. Your neighbors might object to you having them if they give out untimely alarms during the night.
These goats are very playful. They love to play, clown around, and prance around. You will see them having occasional mock 'head-butt' fights and will also see them chasing each other over open fields. As an owner, you will have to provide them with a stimulating environment that has a lot of scope for play. You will have to strategically place some wood stumps or other things that they can use to climb on and jump from. They get bored very easily, so you will be required to be creative and on your toes.
They are simple creatures that are content with simple three-sided enclosures. Yet, if you have a small, secure, and ventilated barn, it is even better. It is for the owner to make their closures secure, to protect them not only from predators and stray dogs that trouble them, but also from their own foolhardy escape plans. Be warned, pygmies are one of the greatest escape artists in the world and will climb, jump, and do just about anything that they are not supposed to do. It may sound funny but they have somewhat aristocratic needs. They require something to sleep on, as they prefer it over sleeping on the ground. You will either have to provide them with sleeping benches or thick rugs on elevated platforms.
Be careful as your pets will eat anything green, even your precious flower plants. The standard goat chow that you get in the market should be supplemented with grass hay that is not alfalfa (causes urinary calculi). They also welcome a handful of grains every once in a while. Fruits and vegetables should be given to them as treats. Goat mix should be fed to them only two times in a day, and only 2-3 ounces. They have a tendency towards obesity and this should be nipped in the bud with moderate feeding. They must be kept away from poisonous plants like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Japanese yew, and Laburnum. They need a freshwater supply at all times.
Get a pygmy goat for a pet only if you think you can handle it. If you want something small and fun to be around, without the hassles of taking it out for exercising, this animal is a good option.
- Consult your county livestock regulations before you get your pets. If you keep one in your backyard without permission, you might be committing a criminal offense.
- Males give out a foul odor that requires a descenting procedure to remove the odor producing glands. Males mature in 30 months and have to be neutered to avoid aggression in adulthood.
- Debudding (removal of horns) is suggested at an early age (less painful) to avoid accidentally hurting others. They are notorious for sticking their horns into the most unlikely of places.
- Regular hoof trimming may be necessary in intervals as short as 4 to 6 weeks. They will also require routine, annual veterinary examinations.
- Regular deworming, at least two times a year, is necessary for goats that live in large enclosures. For those that live in smaller ones, the frequency might be higher. Vaccinations for enterotoxaemia, pulpy kidneys, and tetanus need to be administered on them.
- A mineral block lick should be placed for your goats at an accessible height, where they can reach if the need arises.
- Buy your pygmy from a registered breeder who won't cheat you with a 'larger-growing' cross breed.