Pygmy goats are a small, domestic goat breed. They are alert and gregarious in nature. They are small in size and can produce a large amount of milk and meat. However, these goats are not raised for milk and meat, but kept as pets in urban and suburban homes. If you too want to bring home a pygmy goat, then the following information will help you make up your mind.
Pygmy goats originated in Africa and made their way to becoming pets in American homes during the 1950s. They are popular today as pets for children. There are two breeds that are registered as dwarf breeds. These include the Nigerian Dwarf and the African pygmy goat.
African pygmy goats are common members of petting zoos. They are about 20 to 25 inches tall and weigh about 50 to 60 pounds. Their milk contains 6% more butterfat than any other goat milk. Nigerian dwarf goats are only 17 to 20 inches tall and weigh around 75 pounds. They can produce one quart milk every day and are happy in ⅓rd of the living space that is basically required for any other full-sized goat breed.
They have a herd mentality, and an IQ of 60. If you bring home just one goat, it will become sad and lonely, bleat constantly, and try to run away at all times. Hence, it is always better to bring home a pair, for their peace of mind as well as yours. They are very easy to care for, and playful and lovable pets.
They are good-natured, hardy animals and are very sociable. They have a playful and even temperament. This makes them a good choice as pets for children. They do not like being alone and are very curious creatures. They tend to get stuck in fences and odd places due to their inquisitiveness. They love humans and when handled with care, they will turn out to be very loving pets.
They come in many colors that include agouti, caramels, solid-blacks, and blacks. The agoutis are dark in color, with a coat color ranging from silver-gray to black. Their stocking color is darker than the main body color. The caramels are light-colored goats that come in white to light-brown color. They have light vertical stripes in front of the dark stockings. Solid-blacks are totally black in color without any white patches, and black are without stockings and have a second color patch around the eyes, ears, and nose.
Their diet consists of greens and grains. They can be housed in a draft-free barn and will panic if left out in the rain. Therefore, you need to house them in a closed barn with a proper roof, or your goats may fall ill. You can feed them a bit of alfalfa hay and a little bit of grain. You need to feed a little grain three times a week as too much grain may ferment in the goats' stomachs. This will lead to a painful death of your loving pets. Fruits, vegetables, and leaves can also be fed. However, do not give them onions, oleander, rhododendrons, house plants, or any bulb plant. These can prove to be poisonous for your goats. You can speak to a vet and add some vitamin supplements to their feed for extra nutrition.
Their care also includes a bit of medical care. You need to give your goats CD & T with tetanus vaccinations annually. Get their hooves trimmed every 2 to 3 months and de-worm them every 4 to 6 months. You can even remove their horns with the help of a vet when they are young. This procedure is called de-budding. It helps to protect the goats from hurting one another or people. De-budding is a safe and pretty painless procedure that you can carry out when they are young. Make sure that it is done by a veterinarian and not at home.
You can begin breeding your pygmy goats when the female is about 1 year old. If you begin earlier, it may lead to complications. A female can have her first heat cycle when she is 2 months old. The males become fertile at 2 months of age. The heat cycle in females happens after 18 to 20 days and lasts for 3 days. Therefore, make sure you keep the pair separated during these 3 days. They have a gestation period of about 5 months.
You can get more information from professional breeders or people who have them as pets. These are very gentle creatures who, when treated with respect, will give back only love.