Pygmy Goat – Raising and Keeping Goats

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.

Momma and baby Pygmy Goats

Thanks to: Madaline Mastroianni from Monterey Bay Equestrian Center

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.

GBCL Publication - Raising Goats with Laura Childs

Goats: Milk, Meat and Mohair -Learn more about keeping a goats with this comprehensive guide from GoodByecityLife

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:

Goat milking information, plans and equipment.

66 Comments to "Pygmy Goat – Raising and Keeping Goats"

  1. Vickie's Gravatar Vickie
    July 26, 2009 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    My son is thinking about getting a couple of small goats to raise as pets at his home.What would you suggest for the most friendly and trainable goats to get and also can they stay outside in the winter in a building without a heat source? He lives in upper New York State and winters are cold. Do you have to have an electric fence or will regular fencing work? Can the small goats really jump over a 5 or 6 foot fence? Thank you for your time.

    • Denise Layton's Gravatar Denise Layton
      October 28, 2010 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Myotonic or Fainting goats are wonderful pets they stay small do not require milking and breed and kid easily

    • Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
      January 4, 2011 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

      These small goats can clear a fence four to five feet tall with no problem. I have five of them and they are hard to keep in locked in.

  2. Norman Roberts's Gravatar Norman Roberts
    July 31, 2009 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi There,
    I am going nuts on wild black berries and I wonder if Pygmy goats will eat them and also the same field has 3 and 4 year old Douglas Fire trees and would the goats eat on these too???
    Thanks, your page here looks great!
    norm

    • melissa skuce's Gravatar melissa skuce
      May 26, 2010 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      goats will eat everything rose bushes most trees cigarrett buts cans mostly everything they can iv seen them eat a pop can just watch your tree flowers and so forth

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 13, 2011 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

      My pygmies love blackberry bushes. I have to keep some fenced so I can have some berries!

  3. ssali isreal's Gravatar ssali isreal
    August 2, 2009 - 4:55 am | Permalink

    i would like to start pig farming on my 400 square ft land.i would like to first learn more about pig farming.

    i will be very great full if you meet my concideration.

  4. Janet Nicholas's Gravatar Janet Nicholas
    November 20, 2009 - 10:31 pm | Permalink

    IV OWNED REGULAR SIZE AND MINI GOATS FOR OVER 10YRS. AND I JUST LOVE THEM I HAVE 8 RIGHT NOW W 3 PREGNUT ONES. ONE MOTHER HAS 3 BABIES 2 TIMES A YEAR. WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS HOW LONG DO MOTHERS STAY PREGNUT? IV COUNTED THE MONTHS FOR ONE MOTHER AND SHE GOES AROUND 5 MONTHS AND 3 WEEKS.

    • Linda Boudreau's Gravatar Linda Boudreau
      October 3, 2010 - 4:02 am | Permalink

      Gestation for goats is 147 to 155 days some will go a little longer depending on the age and how many times they have kidded before. I breed reg Boer Goats and have kids just once a year to allow the doe to recover from pregnancy and nursing.
      A goat can have 2 sets of kids in a a little over a year, but you have to be careful not to over tax the doe it can cause health problems for the doe as well as birthing problems for the kids. I don’t recommend it but know people who do breed that often.

  5. Dar Kendall's Gravatar Dar Kendall
    January 21, 2010 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to know how long there life span is I have a pigmy goat that is 4 yrs old

  6. bob moore or terry jorgensen- tjorgense51@msn.com's Gravatar bob moore or terry jorgensen- tjorgense51@msn.com
    February 1, 2010 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    we just had three babies born and all pass away, the male is kept with the females and I was wondering if the male would of hurt the babies.
    They never made it through a whole day? I was not a home. One of the goats are shivering. THey are in the barn. I am in wisconsin and a this is all new to me. Any help please.

    • Brandy Kirk's Gravatar Brandy Kirk
      February 1, 2012 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Help have 11 mo old doe pregant for first time, what do I do. Do not want to endanger mom when she kids

  7. Emma's Gravatar Emma
    February 23, 2010 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    i was wondering, would dogs make good company for a pygmy goat? or would they still get lonely?

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      September 18, 2010 - 7:29 pm | Permalink

      I’m a new pygmy owner who raised a kid from age 2 weeks in my back hall this spring with my Shepard/collie mix shelter dog. Now we are in the country (Maine) and the kid bleats in the pen if she can’t see the dog! (The dog can’t go in the pen because she digs holes to get out.) Sometimes the dog nips at the goat when it runs for play, so I supervise them when they first get together after the goat has been in its pen all day while I’m at work. Sometimes they take off on “adventures” together, with the goat following the dog wherever she goes.

    • jill's Gravatar jill
      October 25, 2010 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

      you should get your baby a friend as they are herd animals and need companionship all the time or they will bleet and be lonley and sad.

  8. Nicole's Gravatar Nicole
    April 5, 2010 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hello, I have a pygmy goat who is currently pregnant. I want to keep the kids as pets also, but am worried about keeping a male as a pet. I hear conflicting stories reguarding odor, tempormant etc. If I was to keep a male, would neutering him as a baby help with the urine spraying/odor? I am really torn between keeping the baby or just purchasing another young female to go with the doe I have. Help!!

    • Noreen's Gravatar Noreen
      May 21, 2010 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I am not an expert on goats, but I had the same question about the odor. I was told that if the male gets fixed before he starts urinating on himself & no later than 4 to 7 months old that prevents the smell. Male wethers can smell better than some dogs, because they were fixed at a young age.

    • melissa skuce's Gravatar melissa skuce
      May 26, 2010 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes I have a male. Fixing them does stop the smell, big time!

    • andy's Gravatar andy
      June 29, 2010 - 10:21 am | Permalink

      I raise a small herd of pygmy goats and i have a few weathers(neutered male) that i keep with each breedable male and when the weathers are away from The billies they smell no worse than my does and they are also better pets for my kids than any of my does

    • billy's Gravatar billy
      January 24, 2014 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

      YES; IF YOU GET THE MALE FIXED AND HAVE HIS HORNS FIXED SO THEY WON’T GROW. THEY MAKE GREAT PETS AND THEY DON’T SMELL

  9. jana's Gravatar jana
    May 7, 2010 - 10:15 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if a 3 or 4 year old male can be nutuered? I’ve heard different things on this. I could use any advice I can get, as I don’t want to get rid of the males I have.

    • jill's Gravatar jill
      October 25, 2010 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

      You can still get them fixed but it won’t keep them from spraying.There are still some health benefits but its better to get them done by 5 or 6 months of age.

  10. Dev's Gravatar Dev
    June 23, 2010 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Hello,
    I have a 7 year-old pygmy goat and I am kind of worried about her. She has not kid and she’s been producing milk for about 3 years or so. Her utters are so swollen (full of milk), it almost looks like it hurts her. What should I do.

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      October 14, 2010 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Have you been milking her? If so, and you want to dry her…then SLOWLY decrease the milking sessions.

      If not, take her to your vet.

  11. libby's Gravatar libby
    July 6, 2010 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I am just woundering when the best time to breed my goats, and how do I know when they go into heat. I am just starting to learn about them so I am tring to learn as much as posible.

  12. sam's Gravatar sam
    July 20, 2010 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Hi! i just purchased two young pygmy goats. the lady i got them from told me to seperate them so that they wont breed to early on. will my seperating them put them under stress?

  13. kelsee lee's Gravatar kelsee lee
    July 25, 2010 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

    H. I’m getting pygmy goats for fair and I don’t know how to show one! My friend said to show it like a breeding doe but I don’t know how to show that ether! Please help me!

  14. Lindsey's Gravatar Lindsey
    July 26, 2010 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’m thinking about getting a pygmy goat but I have to pay for it myself and cant afford two. We already have a dog and a cat. Are those sufficient companions or would the goat still be lonely?????

    • T. Smith's Gravatar T. Smith
      August 19, 2010 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I only have one pygmy. I also have two dogs that stay inside and two cats that stay outside along with my goat. I have an enclosed porch on the back of the house that Baby (my goat) and the cats have for shelter, etc.. She loves the cats and follows them everywhere. She also loves to play with my choc. lab who is around 100 lbs. and she loves to aggravate my toy poodle. When it rains she will not leave the porch so she will use a puppy training pad
      to do her business and she knows what “no” means. She is very smart and very loving. One of the best decisions I ever made.

  15. megan's Gravatar megan
    August 17, 2010 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I am thinking of geting two pygmy goats how much should i save and how much work will it be

  16. Jennie Boothe's Gravatar Jennie Boothe
    September 5, 2010 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I have just acquired three pygmy goats. Two bucks and one doe. I believe the doe to be pregnant. How should I house these goats. I will of course separate the bucks from her while she is with kid. But permanently how should I pen them? New at this and really need the answers.

    • Linda Boudreau's Gravatar Linda Boudreau
      October 3, 2010 - 4:19 am | Permalink

      Unless you want your goats to breed you’ll need to keep the buck separate from the doe, except during pregnancy because she won’t cycle into heat then. I keep my buck in with his harem they even kid in his barn, and remove the doe and kids within a couple of days so if she cycles in early she won’t rebreed. If you don’t plan on breeding and just want pets talk to your vet about castrating the bucks, then they can be kept together all the time. Goats need a good shelter, fresh water and good feed. Goats don’t eat everything as some people think and common plants can be toxic azealas and rhodies are a couple, They are fantastic weedeaters and their manure won’t burn your lawn. Also goat require minerals and keeping baking soda available will help with indigestion. Grain should only be used as a treat, along with browsing offer a little alfalfa hay to ensure good nutrition. A good solid paddock with field mesh works great, goats are escape artists and their curiosity gets them into trouble. Mesh fencing also keeps unwanted animals goats are subject to animal attacks usually by dogs and pgymies especially because of their size.

    • Brandy Kirk's Gravatar Brandy Kirk
      February 1, 2012 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Have conflicting questions. Have been told new moms need up to 4cups grain or what they can consume in 1/2 hr. once a day after they kid. That they need the nourishment. Also that if nuetered male get grain they will also get kidney stones. Someone please set me straight….
      And to anyone wanting to get any new animal, research and read, read, question, first. Trust me it will be so much easier if you have things in place first.

  17. Dayle's Gravatar Dayle
    September 6, 2010 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I have a 4 year old that just got milk and has not been bred. We do not have males. Has anyone told you what to do or if it could hurt her or will it eventually go away?

    • pam freeman's Gravatar pam freeman
      November 8, 2010 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Did you ever get an answer for your question? My female’s bag seems full on the right side of her udder. No male goats within a 10 mile radius.

  18. Kathy Cobb's Gravatar Kathy Cobb
    September 7, 2010 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I would not let a dog befriend a pygmy, they attacked mine and hurt him pretty bad. I’m hoping and praying he will make it. My friend has some pygmy goats and her Boston Terriers killed some. I would be careful.

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      October 14, 2010 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

      I completely agree as I lost a pygmy to a dog (one of my own dogs).

      Dogs are predators and pygmies are a prey animal. Even if they seem fine almost all of the time…there will be that one instance that every thing goes terribly wrong and the goat will be gone.

      Never – ever leave a dog with any goat unsupervised. The only exception to this rule would be a Livestock Guard Dog.

    • Lori's Gravatar Lori
      December 6, 2010 - 7:50 pm | Permalink

      It depends on the breed of the dog. We have two labs that love our pygmy’s. They follow each other all over and sleep together. If anything was to attack the goats I know the dogs would defend them. My dogs are very loving and whine when the goats get to far away in the field.

    • nathan's Gravatar nathan
      February 1, 2011 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

      i would be very careful with dogs around pygmy goats. my lab attacked and killed a few of my father in laws goats.

  19. rebecca's Gravatar rebecca
    October 10, 2010 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I would like to get my son a pygmy goat and my mom is concern about how much of the back yard will the goat tear up. We have a above ground pool in the back yard. Plus other toys and will it be safe for the pygmy and will he destroy them?

  20. Erin M's Gravatar Erin M
    October 11, 2010 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    i have 4 goats right now 3 are pygmies they are so much fun they are way to playful they chase the chickens n ducks around they let the lil neighbor boys sit with them if an adult is sitting on the ground i shouldnt of started this but they like to jump up on people backs and play they follow me every where during the day since i let them free and play with them they even come in the house and know not to go the bathroom in the house i wouldnt change them for anyone in the world nor would the kids in the neighbor im only 24 but i let the kids in the neighborhood come over help them with their home work and than they play and feed the animals and the school as acually called and thanked me for helping these kids get out of trouble because that is their terms of coming here to be with the animals

  21. Becca's Gravatar Becca
    October 22, 2010 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    We just got two goats a week ago. Both pygmies, one is 3 mos old the other is 5. They escaped yesterday we don’t know how long they’ve been gone but we found out at 6pm and looked for two hours. We live very close to a small creek and surrounded by mountains. Do you have any idea what they would do at night or how far away they would roam? The 3 month old lives about 5 miles away, the other 10-15. Would they try to find their way back? We did a lot of research and know they like to try to escape so we have a large pen with fencing 4 feet high and made sure it’s secure and that the bottom doesn’t have a lot of give. We do have a dog and hope that he didn’t chase them. Would they come back on their own?

    • Jennie Dufour-Boothe's Gravatar Jennie Dufour-Boothe
      November 12, 2010 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

      My goats are not one bit afraid of a dog. They stand their ground.

      Goats are grazers so they are probably somewhere grazing. Not being familiar with your area, they are probably wandering.

      At night they will bed down like deer. They may come back on their own, but I doubt it.

      You probably need to look for them. Coyotes will hunt them. If there are any families in the area ask around. They will go where the food is.

      I have never had this problem, so it is new to me. I can only base my answers on what I know of goats.

      Jennie

  22. karen's Gravatar karen
    November 21, 2010 - 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi There,

    Do you know if Pygmy goats are in Australia? I’m from the states, but moved here a few years ago and am wondering if they have them as pets in Oz.

    • stefana's Gravatar stefana
      February 11, 2012 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Did you find pygmy goats in oz? i’ve recently moved here from the states and i would love to get some pygmy goats- the aussie mini goats seem a little bigger than pygmy goats…

  23. J BATES's Gravatar J BATES
    January 28, 2011 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Will pygmys grieve to the point of not leaving their house when another one is removed. mom is still with her.

  24. brooke's Gravatar brooke
    February 19, 2011 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

    so i want my dad to get me a pygmy goat for easter this year. i play soccer year round and what not. so i was wondering how much time i would need to play with the goat..and should i get 2 instead of one? thanks

    • None Of Your Business's Gravatar None Of Your Business
      August 8, 2013 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Goats are herd animals so they need company. Another goat would be good. I wouldn’t let a dog (if you have one) around them because dogs are predators and one wrong move could have the goat eaten. Pygmies are really friendly and love to play. Maybe a walk everyday to every other day would be good for them. I gave our 2 goats a basketball and they like to nose it around. Two is really better than one goat.

  25. BOB's Gravatar BOB
    February 24, 2011 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    My boy rases pigmy goats and has a problem with lise .Would like to know how to treat them safle.

  26. Christine Riedy's Gravatar Christine Riedy
    February 24, 2011 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Our doe had twins two weeks ago, male and female. Our local Vet does not fix goats. Any suggestions?

  27. Joyce Reid-Lukens's Gravatar Joyce Reid-Lukens
    March 3, 2011 - 3:53 am | Permalink

    I am considering getting a couple of goats as pets, with the benefit of them being able to help maintain the grass in my large fenced yard. Many years ago I was exposed to a number of Nubian goats at the vet hospital that I worked at, and enjoyed the personalities that goats can have. Because I have some good areas in my house where they can part of my “furry family” and would like to enjoy them as pets, I think that getting pygmy goats woulld be more suitable. However, besides having a fenced yard, which just needs to have the wire run again to that functional, (It isn’t a livestock electric fence, but one we had to use because of a dog Houdini.) I also have a good sized chain link run from when I fostered a couple of large dogs for a friend, so they will have a safe and secure place when they are outside without any supervision. Of course I will do my research on the care and feeding of the various breeds of goats before I aquire any, especially from whatever breeder I get them from.
    Since I have no desire to breed goats, would it be better for me to get a couple of wethers (or males to be neutered when old enough), or a mixed gender pair, or two does? I’ve never heard of goats being spayed, although I’ve helped on a number of neutering of males while under anethesia (why else would they be at the vet’s? :) ) I know there is no guanatee since the personalities are a factor, but what pairing makes the most sense?
    Another thing: I want to make sure they have a climbing area (far from any fence, of course), but since large rocks are not an option, and I need to be able to break it down and move it by myself once in a while, any suggestions on what material I should use to make it? Is wood safe? Any treatments they use on lumber that might be a problem? Fake resin tree stumps? Cinderblocks?
    I’m not rushing this so that I can do it right (I’ve been thinking about this for almost a year but wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a temporary desire), but I lost three dogs in the last few months (one to cancer, two were fosters for over two yrs and their owner finally got where she could take them back) and I have extra love and time that needs to be spread over more critters.
    Thanks to everyone for their opinions.

  28. chad's Gravatar chad
    March 8, 2011 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know if rhododendrum, doghoble, and mountain laurel will kill a pygmy goat, if they eat them. or will they even eat them at all. i have a new pasture and it has these plants in it. should i get them out?

    • Kim's Gravatar Kim
      November 29, 2011 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      YES, Mountain Laurel and rhodendron especially is extremely poisonous, not sure about the other.

  29. Sara's Gravatar Sara
    April 4, 2011 - 4:43 am | Permalink

    We are getting a couple of kunekune piglets soon and would very much like one pygmy goat to live with them. I’m aware that goats like to be with other goats but would the new goat treat the pigs as as his/her herd? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

  30. wanda layfield's Gravatar wanda layfield
    April 22, 2011 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    my Pygmy goat had a baby yesterday,and today her pacenta is still hanging out.what do i do.

  31. prissilla wallace's Gravatar prissilla wallace
    May 17, 2011 - 11:17 pm | Permalink

    i want a white pygmy goat i dont know if i show get only 1 i dont want it to get lonely and die on us i was a goat that stays the smallest and i was told its the pygmy goat is there just one kind of pygmys i was the smallest goat that i can get and i want it to stay small

    • Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
      August 8, 2013 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Goats need company. It is better to get 2 Pygmies because they are herd animals. They do stay small, too.

  32. karan's Gravatar karan
    November 13, 2011 - 4:32 am | Permalink

    I HAVE 3 FEMALES AND A MALE PYGMY GOAT. THE TWO FEMALES RECENTLY GAVE BIRTH TO FOUR KIDS. I AM PLANNING ON SELLING THEM. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A SINGLE PYGMY COSTS. MINE ARE WHITE, BLACK AND BROWN IN COLOR.

  33. tina wilcock's Gravatar tina wilcock
    August 29, 2012 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    i have a fully grown pygmy wether he stands at 12 inches high could he be the smallest pygmy in england

  34. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    March 23, 2013 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi there. I have 3 pygmy/fainting goat cross goats. I am thinking about breeding the one girl we have sometime. She is a twin to a boy however. Does this make her unable to breed like calves or will she be able to?

    • Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
      October 17, 2013 - 1:33 am | Permalink

      If she has any trouble breeding its not because of being a twin to a boy. Almost all goats are twins or triplets, and usually there is at least one boy in the mix.

  35. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    April 20, 2013 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking for a male pgymy that is under 2 feet. My females are small about 18 inches

  36. sandra's Gravatar sandra
    June 17, 2013 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    hi there i got two sister pygmy goats in march, turns out that one was pregnant, she just had a little buck and june 13th all seems to be going will, what i need to know is can i put them all together, i find when i do the other will keep beating it up, everything i read say’s to put them togeather, it’s the goats way of showing who is boss .but i dont want him to get hurt, lol help please

  37. CHRIS L ANGELES's Gravatar CHRIS L ANGELES
    March 25, 2014 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    i would like to buy pgy goats , can you give me the price,of then,
    thank you chris,

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