Frequently Asked Questions About
|How Long do Pygmy Goats
||Approximately 8 to 12 years. Goats
which are well cared for live past 15
|When do you wean the young?
||Ideally between around 8 weeks... Some
breeders wean as young as 4 weeks.
|Can they Kid Tokay?
goat giving birth is called "kidding". Pygmies are more prone to
problems than other goat breeds, especially first time moms. Make sure
someone is there when she goes into labor and keep a close eye on her.
Be ready to call the vet if necessary.
|How long before they give birth from the time of
- 155 days (approx. 5 months)
|How old do you breed them?
breeders will say 1 year, 14 months is even better so that mom is more
mature and less likely to experience kidding problems. In any case it
is a good idea if you plan to breed them to do it before they turn 2
years of age.
||Because their diet contains no
meat, goat “droppings” do not have the unpleasant odor that other pets’
manure has. Goat droppings are small pellets that can easily be raked
or swept and disposed
of or used as fertilizer for your garden or flower box. Pygmy goats
prefer to be clean and dry and will
seek out those places to rest; they do not like rain and will run for
shelter when the first drops fall. Although uncastrated males can have
an unpleasant smell about them, neutered males (wethers) and females
have no such odor at
all. A single pygmy goat kept as a pet has none of the objectionable
odors typically associated
with livestock simply because they are so small and are not kept in a
barnyard environment with large
numbers of other animals.
Do they have heat cycles
or do they just get pregnant at any time?
have heat cycles approximately every 3 weeks (will vary). Some goat
breeds only have heat cycles during certain seasons, but pygmies will
have heat cycles every few weeks, year round.
|After they have babies how
long before they can breed again at minimum?
*can* and will breed within days or weeks. I personally feel that it's
better to give them some time off and only breed them once per year,
again to avoid problems for the doe and kids. Pygmies can
two kidding's a year.
|How soon are pygmy bucks fertile?
Pygmy buckling’s can be fertile
as early as 8 weeks and
some have impregnated their mothers at this young age. It's important
to wether them before this age if they are not going to be used as
breeders. If they are going to be breeders, they need to be separated
from mom and all other does at 8 weeks except for supervised
|When Do Does Start to Come Into Heat?
||Doelings usually have their first heat
around 5 months of age, but there have been reports of 2 month olds
|Signs Your doe Is in Heat
of estrus are numerous, some obvious, some more discreet. The doe
usually flags her tail side-to-side when around a buck, presumably to
send attractive pheromones from her reproductive tract into the
environment that a buck finds attractive. Her vulva may be more pink
than normal, appear swollen, and have some clear or white-colored
discharge with the consistency of egg white. This discharge usually
starts clear and becomes whiter as the heat progresses. Others signs
include more frequent urination and restless behavior. She may also
talk more than usual, sometimes bleating very loudly at the edge of the
fence line nearest the buck. Decreased appetite and milk production are
also reported. The doe is in a standing heat when she stands willingly
and lets a buck mount. Standing heat usually lasts from 1-24 hours. If
a buck is not present, does often mount their herd mates or stand for
other does to mount them.
Goats are friendly when they want to be and always comical if you have
a good sense of humor. Sometimes they will do things that you don't
necessarily think is cute but it is rather difficult to train them to
stop doing goat things, But it is not impossible, because after all a
goat does have an I.Q. of 60. By goat things I mean, like jumping on
your car, pulling your clothes off your clothes line, or eating your
favorite rose bush. Of course they do these things only because they
are curious, not because they don't like you. You can however;
goat-proof your yard and everyone will be happy. All in all goats do
make really nice pets, and I know that you would enjoy having some. I
say some because goats are herd animals and are not happy unless they
have a friend. Does not necessarily have to be another goat but they do prefer
sturdy, well ventilated, draft-free barn is a must for your pygmy goat.
They really hate to sleep outside in the cold months and they actually
panic if it rains on them. Without these qualities in your barn there
is a chance that your animal will become ill.
use standard woven livestock fencing--47 inches high with openings
smaller on the bottom (4"x6") and larger on top (6"x6"). If you have
babies younger than 3 months, you may
to keep a cardboard collar on them until they grow too large to squeeze
through the holes. If you have bucks, you may need to run a strand of
hot wire about 12" off the ground to keep them from tearing down the
fence or use heavy duty cattle panels (this is what I use).
|Can I Get Only One Pygmy?
are herd animals and are happiest with other goats. A minimum number is
two goats, and I personally feel that three is a better number.
|Can I Keep A Buck As A Pet
unneutered male is a smelly animal. In order to make themselves
attractive to females, they urinate on themselves. They also grow long
hair and exhibit 'odd' behavior--blubbering, snorting. Etc. This is
normal for a buck. Bucks do not make good pets. Often, bucks that are
treated as a pet become aggressive as adults. If you need a buck for
breeding purposes, provide a separate pen and a wether as a companion
and do not treat it as a pet! Neutered males, called wethers, however,
make wonderful pets. They will look very similar to a doe, won't smell
and can have wonderful temperaments.
|Can Bucks and Does Live Together?
Bucks should be kept in a separate pen. If
housed together with does, the buck will breed the does anytime they
heat. This can result in does being bred too early (you wouldn't breed
your 12 year old daughter just because she is 'old enough', would you?)
or too frequently (I recommend breeding does no more than once a year.
|Do Pygmy Goats Get Along with Other Animals?
goats have a good-natured personality and get along well with other
livestock. I have mine in with a horse, chickens and rabbits and have
had sheep with them. The key is the temperament of the other livestock.
I have sold goats to people with one horse who want companions for
their horse and don't want to care for another large animal.
|How Expensive Are Pygmy goats to Keep?
goats are inexpensive animals to keep, especially wethers or does not
being freshened. I feed my non-breeding animals only 1/2 to one cup of
feed per day and grass hay. Does that are nursing get 4 cups of feed a
day and alfalfa mixed with their grass hay and growing kids get alfalfa
in a creep feeder. They also have access to loose mineral salt and get
selenium crumbles on their feed every day. Pygmy goats are very healthy
animals for the most part and I have rarely had to take them to the vet.
does it seem that there are different types of Pygmy goats? Some are
taller and have different heads than others I have seen.
as in any animal, let the buyer beware. I have seen many smaller goats
sold as "pygmy" goats that are actually Pygora goats or some mixture of
Pygmy and other goat breeds. Pygmy goats are a distinct breed of goat,
and the only way to be sure that you are getting a true Pygmy goat is
to buy registered goats from a reputable breeder. Also, within Pygmy
goats, there are many different-looking goats, depending
on the quality of breeding stock and how much effort the breeder is
making to breed animals that look like the breed standard established
by the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA).
|Can A Pygmy goat Be Potty Trained?
goats are a great, exotic animal. Though they're best kept in a wide
roaming area, such as on an acreage or farm, pygmy goats are a great
domesticated pet and a fun addition to any family. Females grow to
around 60 pounds and males grow to around 80 pounds. They grow to an
average of 23 inches. This makes it feasible for a pygmy goat to live
in a home. Unfortunately, goat feces have a pungent aroma, and goats
often drop feces where they stand. This cannot be avoided, but
urination can be trained. Training should start with a new baby goat
for the best circumstances. Read more: How to Potty
Train a Pygmy Goat | eHow.co.uk http://www.ehow.co.uk/how_5703986_potty-train-pygmy-goat.html#ixzz10Fjsg0ak
What are your county's
regulations on livestock?
are considered livestock. You can't necessarily stick one in your
backyard. First check with your county's regulations office to see if
you can legally own them.
YES! Pygmies are
absolutely the clowns of the barnyard. They will
stand up on their hind legs and simultaneously come down and head butt
each other. They talk to each other constantly. Provide them with
benches to climb on or wooden cable spools and they will hop up and
down on them. A bored goat is not a happy goat, so be sure to provide a
us, pygmy goats make great pets. They can be loud, however, so be a
good neighbor and communicate with the people around you. We went to
our immediate neighbors and asked if they would object to our having
goats, and they all gave us the green light. Since ours are the only
ones on the block, so to speak, they're celebrities in their own right.
Our neighbors bring them treats and little kids love to come to our
very own petting zoo.
your research and find out if pygmy goats would be the right pets for
your family. It's a big commitment, so be sure your entire family is on
board. I guarantee though, that at minimum, they will make you laugh.
What is C.A.E. and why
is it important to buy from a tested herd?
||Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis
a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized
by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as
well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against
most common ailments. CAE is the bane of many goat producers and much
emphasis is placed on raising "CAE free" goats.
What is Johne's disease and
what causes it and why it is important to buy from a tested herd?
disease is a serious wasting disease of goats, which can lead to loss
of production and death. The disease affects animals by causing
thickening of the intestinal wall resulting in a reduction in the
normal absorption of food. The disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium
lives mainly in animal intestines, but can also survive in the outside
environment for several months. The disease is seen more often in dairy
goats than meat or fibre goats, but all breeds may be infected if they
come into contact with the bacterium. Goats acquire infection at an
early age through eating contaminated pasture, or drinking contaminated
milk or water. The signs of disease develop slowly and the disease is
rarely seen in young animals.
||Pygmy goats are not
aggressive by nature but are very playful. Like other ruminant
(multi-stomach) animals, they have lower teeth but none on top; even if
they were to bite, which they do not, it would be nothing more than a
slight pinch — nothing at all like a dog or a cat bite. There has
not been a single documented
case of anyone’s being killed or even seriously injured by a
pygmy goat! When threatened, a
pygmy is likely to stand on its hind feet, lower or cock its head to
one side and stand its hair on end — or run and hide.
goats are not prime carriers of rabies or other diseases transmissible
to humans or other animals.
The few diseases or maladies that afflict pygmy goats, while rare, are
usually limited to that particular animal or are “species
specific” (confined only to goats)
What is C.L. and why should I
buy from a tested herd
Lymphadenitis is a chronic bacterial infection that causes external and
internal lumps in sheep and goats. It is caused by a bacteria,
Corynebacterium Pseudotuberculosis, which enters the body through a
wound in the skin causing an infection and a slow growing, firm
abscess. This infection may also travel to the regional lymph nodes
causing a localized abscess there.
disease is infectious and, under certain circumstances, can spread
quickly through your herd. Not all abscesses are caused by this
bacteria! In fact, relatively few abscesses are actually C.L. In order
for the disease to be present, you must first have the bacteria in your
herd or on your ranch. This usually occurs when an infected animal is
brought into the herd. Secondly, there must be an entrance wound for
the animal to get the bacteria into their systems. It is not
necessarily true that an animal with no abscesses will not be carrying
the bacteria, because the lesions can be on any part of the body
including the internal organs. Usually the disease is diagnosed
when several animals in the herd are noticed to have a lump or string
of lumps in the area of the lymph nodes. Abscesses can be removed or
carefully cleaned out and, if there is no lymph node involvement, may
not return. A sample of the pus in the abscess or of the animal's blood
can be sent to one of the laboratories, which specialize in diagnosing
this type of disease, for analysis. Pus from draining abscesses
contains very large numbers of bacteria and the organism can survive
for long periods (months) in the environment. This disease is
transmittable (although cases are rare) to humans! So if you suspect
C.L., let your veterinarian be the one to handle the abscess.
|| Pygmy goats normally are
not noisy animals; they may “baaa” once in a while when
they see someone, but
it’s a pleasant, “down home” sound. They won’t
keep your neighbors awake like a barking dog or a yowling tomcat. When
darkness falls, pygmy goats go to their houses and quietly chew their
cud or go to sleep. On
dreary or rainy days, they prefer to stay in their houses and relax and
chew their cud; and on bright, sunny
days, they like to lie outside and sunbathe. Pygmies are very peaceful
animals and do well in either residential
or agricultural surroundings.
||Pygmy goats are creatures
of routine. Once they learn their “territory”, they
normally are content to
stay within it and do not tend to run off and annoy the neighbors. A
fenced backyard is sufficient as long
as the fence meets the ground so the goat cannot slip under it to
sample the neighbor’s flowers.
Pygmies are not great fence jumpers but do like to jump on top of
doghouses or other structures to experience
the “view from the top”. Be sure no such structures are
next to the fence, as your goat may jump down from the structure on
the wrong side of the fence and not be able to get back. Car hoods are
tempting as well; so if
you don’t want little hooftracks on your shiny new car, park it
single pygmy goat kept as a pet needs relatively little space. A nice
backyard is more than
sufficient for a little goat. Goats are browsers rather than grazers
and do not decimate your lawn; they prefer to pick the tasty
clover, dandelions or broadleaf weeds and let the nice green grass grow. A common saying among goat breeders
is that a goat would starve to death on a golf course — because there are no weeds to eat! If you
have a thorny patch to clean up, a pygmy goat will do the work of that expensive weedkiller for you. NOTE:
Should you decide to invest in more than one pygmy goat, the space requirements are still very
reasonable. An acre of ground can easily accommodate up to a dozen or
more pygmies without fear of
overgrazing. Unlike sheep, goats eat the tops off the weeds and grasses
rather than pulling them up by the roots; thus,
a goat pasture normally has an aesthetically pleasing,
||Many residential areas that have
zoning restrictions on agricultural animals will
allow a pygmy goat to be
kept as a pet as long as it can be shown that the goat is not being
kept for agricultural purposes. In other words,
the goat is not being used for meat, milk production, fiber (wool) or commercial breeding. A pygmy goat,
therefore, would meet the “pet” requirement; if you choose
a male, however, we recommend neutering only
because the male smell may be objectionable to your neighbors. And of course if your little goat is
neutered, there can be no doubt he’s not being used for breeding.
do you want to get goats?
This is the first question we ask people who want
to buy goats from us, and this is the most important thing to ask
yourself before you get your goats. The answer to this question will
help you decide which type of goat that would be suit your needs and
which sex would be best for you.
First, you need to know that goats are not
lawnmowers with legs. Although a goat's digestive system is similar to
that of other ruminants, such as cattle and sheep, who are "grazers"
and eat grass, goats are more related to deer, who are "browsers". As
browsers, goats are designed to eat, and prefer, brush and trees more
than grass. Though goats will eat grass, if you are considering getting
goats to be lawnmowers, you are going to be sorely disappointed,
because they will eat your trees and roses before they will work on the
lawn. Goats could be used to help reclaim grasslands that have been
overgrown with brush. Our land was overrun with brambles, wild roses,
honeysuckle and 100s of small pine tree when we moved here; these are
all gone now. If you want to clear brushy land, a goat will be happy to
help you with this project; if you want a lawnmower with legs, get a
sheep, though a sheep probably will not be as loving and as smart of a
pet as a goat will be.
We did start out getting goats to help us clear
our brushy land as well as supply us with milk. The land is quite clear
now: the brush is long gone, but we still have our goats. Now, we keep
our goats as milkers and pets; they supply us with milk, love and
affection. We did not get into goats for the sole purpose of making
money and I would never advise someone to get into goats for the
intended purpose of making a profit from them. If you are lucky, after
years of work, you might break even. The best reason to get into goats
is because you love them and you want them to be a part of your life.
|What about horns?
not want a
goat with horns. It is your decision to make, of course, but I'm
talking to you now as a friend, let me say that, from personal
experience, and knowing human nature, goats and goat behavior very
well, please, do not get a goat with horns or you may regret it later.
If your goats have kids, please be responsible and disbud them at the proper time.
Yes, horns can be very beautiful, but they are also very dangerous, to you, your
family and other goats. Even if the goat is a pet, and friendly, he/she
can accidentally, or on purpose, seriously injure other goats, animals
and humans. Goats learn to use their horns; they can, and will, use
them on their herd mates (goat can, at times, be very violent with each
other: it is their natural way). I know of a goat that gored her herd
mate through the chest. A loving pet goat with horns could easily, even
if accentually, injure a child- it's just not worth the risk to your
children. I hate to see a pet goat end up in the auction barn because
they hurt their owner, their owners children, or their fellow herd mate.
Horns can, and do, get caught in fences, which can be very
dangerous for the goat, causing her to strangle him or herself, or
leaving him/her open to attack by predators. I knew a goat that got
their horns caught is a low basketball net. Don't think that if your
goat has horns, he can/will defend himself against dogs (no matter what
someone told you). If a dog wants to kill a goat, and he can get
through your fence, he will kill the goat, with or without horns.
If you are going to show your goat, or the goat is a 4-H
project, he/she must be disbudded.
Read more about this subject here.
If you get a goat with horns over 1/2 - 3/4 inch
long... you are stuck with having horns. (read this link)
Names and Terminology
will often hear goats referred to by the following: "Buck or Billy" - a
male goat. "Doe or Nanny" - a female goat. "Kid" - a young goat.
"Wether" - a castrated male goat. "Herd" - a group of goats. "Wattles"
- little round balls of fur on a goats' neck close to its chin. Not all
goats have wattles.
of the Goat
were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans and were being
herded 9,000 years ago. They are a member of the cattle family and are
believed to be descended from the wild goat, bezoar.
are over 210 breeds of goats with an estimated 450 million goats in the
world (2001). Of the 450 million goats in the world, it is estimated
that approximately 6 to 8 % of them are in North America (2001). The
majority of the world goat population can be found in the Mideast and
are ruminants or cud chewing animals that eat cracked or ground corn
mixed with oats, hay and grass. Most breeders and producers prefer to
limit the amount of corn in a goat's diet, preferring to feed
specialized goat feed mixes with the majority of the diet being made up
in a mixed, grassy alfalfa and other weeds, browse and shrubs known to
be compatible with a goat's nutritional needs.
Goats also have specific mineral and vitamin requirements that
determine their overall health and production. These requirements often
vary between breeds of goats and coloration of the goat. Most people
believe that goats will eat almost anything and this is simply not
true. The goat has very sensitive lips and their natural curiosity
gives them a habit of "mouthing" and "smelling" for food that is clean
and tasty. Goats will not eat soiled food (unless they are pushed to
the point of starvation - often preferring to starve).
have a lower set of teeth which meet a hard pad in the upper jaw, and
24 molars on the top and bottom in the back of their mouths. Kids have
8 small, sharp teeth in their lower front jaw, and like children, when
their baby teeth fall out they are replaced by permanent teeth. The age
of a goat can often be closely determined by their teeth.
pupil in a goat's eye is rectangular in shape instead of being round
like those of other animals. It is believed that goats have excellent
night vision and will often browse at night. The actual color of the
goat's eyes is varied with the most common color being yellow or brown.
Blue coloration is a bit rarer and often a characteristic many breeders
will try to achieve.
main products associated with goats are milk, cheese, meat, mohair, and
cashmere. Large dairy does produce 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each
year. (On a daily basis they produce 2 or 3 quarts of milk). With the
emphasis on genetics, it should be noted that breeders and producers
are beginning to surpass previous levels of milk and meat production
with daily yields often exceeding one gallon of milk per day.