A pygmy goat can be kept for a pet, for show, for milk, meat and even mohair. They are easy to keep and only require fresh water, pygmy goat grain ration, and access to good quality hay or pasture. The amount of grain for each pygmy goat varies and is dependent upon their age, current weight or body condition, the climate, and whether or not they are in kid.
Although goats of all kinds are ‘easy keepers’ they do require clean living conditions, including their water and feed. Goats would rather starve or thirst than eat or drink soiled or spoiled food and water.
You’ll also want to ensure your pygmy goats get the required minerals from a salt block – this does not need to be moderated or rationed, they’ll use it when their bodies need it.
A Bit of Pygmy Goat History
Pygmy goats originated in Africa and sometime in the ’50s were imported to the United States. The Pygmy is smaller than dairy and meat goats, but it yields considerable milk for its size and food consumption.
Pygmy Goats Today
Many small homesteaders today are raising Pygmy goats for show and pets for the children in the family.
If you’re still not ‘sold’ on a standard size dairy or meat goat’s value (Nubian, Boer, etc.) to your family or homestead, Pygmies are a nice introduction. You might also be interested in some of the crossbred, novelty or dual purpose breeds.
Although a milk or mohair goat can be sold for meat, and meat and mohair goats can be milked, no one breed meets the needs of farmers wanting the best of all three worlds. In the past 20 years however, many new breeds are being created and marketed as dual purpose breeds.
Registered Dwarf Breeds – Are dwarf goats with the small scale farmer or those wanting a goat as a pet in mind. Dwarf goats include the Nigerian Dwarf and the African Pygmy.
The Nigerian Dwarf – stands between 17-20 inches tall as an adult and weighs approximately 75 pounds. This goat easily produces one quart of milk per day (ample for a small family) and requires 1/3 the amount of space and feed that a full-size milk goat requires.
African Pygmy Goats – These are the goats you see at most petting zoos. They are small (20-25 inches tall) and weigh around 50-60 pounds as adults. Their milk is higher in butterfat than any other goat (approximately 6%).
Keep in mind however, that goats are herd animals. You can’t buy just one or they will bleat constantly and be terribly lonely and unhappy – to some extremes they will waste away or run away at all costs.
Small farm hands like to raise Pygmy goats because they are easy to handle, are affectionate and lovable, not to mention playful!
Full grown does, bucks and wethers range from 16 to 23 inches at the withers and usually weigh 40 to 70 pounds.
Pygmy goats usually birth 1-3 kids weighing in at 2-4 pounds each.
Pygmy Goat Colors
- Agoutis are dark goats ranging from silver-grey to black, and have solid stockings darker than the main body color.
- Caramels are light colored goats ranging from white to light brown and have light vertical stripes on the front of dark stockings.
- Solid Blacks are, well solid black and are without stocking or white patches anywhere.
- Blacks are also without stockings but may have a secondary color around eyes, ears, and nose.
Samples of country catalog pygmy goat supplies: