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The Pygmy Goat - Not So Gruff

Sunday 19 March 2017

Who is the gruff looking buck above? There is something familiar about him but this is no standard goat, no sir. This is the pygmy version and as is a cousin of the variety we generally picture when the animal comes up in conversation. Welcome to the world of the pygmy goat.

little goat
What is more they are friendly little beasts and a whole heap of fun in to the bargain. Although they may not immediately spring to mind as the perfect suburban pet as long as you have a mid-sized garden at the back of your house they can make engaging pets - even if you may not be completely sure where you will find them next.

Cheeky Intruder
Who's copying who?
Unlike their cousin the standard goat, pygmies are kept simply for the fun of having them around and of course, the goat gets to have a lot of fun at the same time. They are not what is known as a utility animal in as much as they are never kept for their milk. Really, how much milk are you going to get out of one of these mini goats anyway? As for their meat – no way! This is the goat that is kept purely as a pet.

She is so tiny
As we have already established, the male of the species is known as a buck. The female – as with other animals associated with the farm – is known as a doe. Most breeders will only sell them in pairs as this is a herding animal which will pine if it is on its own. Even where it would not pine it would just stand around in a slightly bewildered manner as if to say what do I do next? So, one thing to keep in mind when deliberating over sharing your life and land with these animals is whether you have the time, space and patience to look after more than one of them.

You look like a tasty little morsel!
Pygmy goats like human contact and tend to show off a little for any audience – and sometimes the audience gets to participate too but usually only as a prop. That is because these animals love to jump and climb – due probably to the fact that in the wild the terrain they usually inhabit is rocky and steep and they have adapted to these conditions over the millennia. They also like the company of other animals but – with the best will in the world – if your pygmy goats have horns they are best kept apart. Even a playful nudge from these horns could inadvertently injure one of your other animal companions.

Pygmy Goat Kid Frolicking
Lounging in the sun!
These animals love shelter, too, which is why you will need a shed in the area in which you intend to keep them. The shed should measure at least eight feet by six feet is you are planning to keep two. There should also be a rack for the straw which will need to be replenished on a fortnightly basis.

Pygmy Goat Billy
As for that little snip which always factors in when contemplating bucks, it is much better that they have had this particular job done before you cohabit with them. These bucks are known as wethers and if they have not had the vet perform this operation then you will get some goat – a buck that will forever be looking to get with it and then that will produce the associated tetchiness when he doesn’t get his way. Other than that, kid does are possibly the best option if you want a more mild-mannered pygmy goat.

Fences – you will need one which totally surrounds where the pygmy goats are going to live. As well as protecting them from urban foxes and the like this will also ensure that you are not eaten out of house and home. The guys will eat pretty much anything – and they will attempt to make a meal out of anything that looks remotely edible. A four foot high fence is all you need – as they are so titchy then that is high enough to keep them in even though they love to jump and jump. And jump.

Pygmy Goat Kid.
You will have to make sure that you do not have any plants within their home environment that are poisonous to the pygmies – so firs, laburnum and rhododendron are strictly off limits as they will try to eat them and then they will become ill. Goat mix can be fairly cheaply bought and they will also enjoy vegetables and fruit that you give them. Organic kitchen scraps are also absolutely fine – like any mammal they love to taste new things. No chocolate though. Absolutely not.

You don't look like my Mommy!
pygmy goat 2
As long as you have the space and the time to make their habitat then the pygmy goat is a relatively cheap pet to introduce. A kid will cost on average about two hundred US dollars and a twenty kilo bag of goat feed will probably only cost around twenty dollars and will keep a pair for two months. However they do need to be fed twice a day and so you will have to be around for them. Also, each pygmy goat will live to be at least ten years old so you will have to be up for the commitment that involves.

CSA Farm
Many people who care for pygmy goats say that it a completely addictive pastime. Folks start with a pair and then find themselves – if space is available – unable to resist enlarging their herd. These animals are extremely friendly and thoroughly engaging and unlike many other unusual pets they are not endangered so that is a plus as well. The Italian word for goat is capra and that is where in English, that we get the word capricious. This sums up this lovely animal beautifully.

First Image Credit

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