Pygmy goats: perfect for small farms

The Pygmy Goat is a great general purpose goat for small farms; A pygmy goat is a friendly little goat that can make a great pet, and only a few are needed for a constant supply of fresh milk to the table. Despite their small size, pygmies can give 1-2 liters of milk a day. Their milk is of exceptional quality and value. Their milk is very high in milk fat, making it preferred for soaps, creams, and other high-fat goat milk products. Being about the size of a dog, Pygmy Goats require minimal shelter and care. Their small size and good nature make them attractive dairy goats; and they require less space and feed than ordinary goats, and are suitable for smaller farms in urban and suburban settings. Pygmy goats are quite tame and very friendly, so they can be let out of their pen to eat: grass, bushes, weeds, and leaves. They are active and entertaining, and if you build obstacles in their pen, they will provide hours of entertainment.

History and Origin

The pygmy goat is the American breed of achondroplastic goats. Like the Nigerian dwarf, it comes from the West African dwarf group. Around 1930-1960, some type of animal was imported into the United States as a zoo animal and for research; some were later kept as pets and established as a breed in 1975. This is an entirely different and separate breed from the British Pygmy breed.

Housing and requirements

If you want to keep a pet in your garden or want to add a new animal to your herd, a pygmy goat is a great option. You need to take care of them in some way, of course, but once you figure out what they need, it won’t be hard. In fact, they are suitable for most climates as long as you provide them with adequate shelter.

While there are many different breeds of goats, they all have similar traits. In order to breed animals according to their species and needs, it is important to know the characteristics of their nature. As I said before, pygmy goats are curious and intelligent and like to know their surroundings very well. Therefore, as a goat farmer, you should definitely make sure that there is enough activity material in your barn, such as fresh straw every day or permanently installed brushes for grooming.

Pygmy Goat Barn – To determine the type of goat barn you need, think about the climate where you live. If you live in temperate latitudes, your goat may not need as much stalling as in other places. However, if you live in a place with harsh winters, you need to build a stable to protect your pygmy goats. You just need to protect them from the elements. The size of a pygmy goat barn will be determined by the size of the herd. In general, you should give each dwarf goat about two square meters. In fact, you could even use a large dog house if you have two pygmy goats in your yard.


A large dog house works great as a barn for dwarf goats

First of all, the stable must be well insulated, because nobody likes damp spaces. Stones or tree trunks should also be placed directly in your barn to offer your pygmy goats additional climbing opportunities. Fresh straw should always be available in your barn.

Fencing – Pygmies are agile and ready jumpers and need enough room to roam and exercise to avoid unnecessary wear on fences. However, their small size limits how high they can jump and reduces the chance of damaging your fences. Pygmy goats will bend, stand and rub against the fence, especially if there appears to be enticing food on the other side, so the braided wire needs to be strong enough to resist. Therefore, it is desirable that the poles be no more than 10 feet apart. To secure your pygmy goats, you will need a chain link fence with 2×4 inch holes, which should be small enough for the goats to rest their heads on.

Goat fences should be at least 5 feet for most goats and 4 feet for pygmy goats. A wire as tight as possible at the top of the fence between posts at eye level can prevent jumping and climbing. Some prefer to have it barbed or electrified, but regular wire works well too. Goats are more likely to crawl under than climb or jump a fence, so the bottom wire should be kept low to the ground.


Woven wire fencing is the most effective and most common option for goat fencing.

Woven wire fencing is a commonly used and effective fencing option, but it is important to pay attention to openings. Horned goats can easily become trapped in woven-wire fences with 6-by-6-inch openings. Placing an electrified wire a foot off the ground and 9 inches from the fence is a good idea, but it will only reduce the number of goats trapped in the fence. 6-by-9-inch and 6-by-12-inch woven-wire fences are cheaper, and goats can free themselves if caught. A safer but more expensive option that many recommend is woven wire with 4×4-inch openings; this is also a better option if there are predators in the area. A general tip is to have the wire face the inside of the pen or goats so that if they push or rub against the wire, the force is directed at the posts rather than the staples.

Barbed wire, rail, and panel fencing are also good options. But in general, with any type of fencing, remember the important saying “what doesn’t hold water, doesn’t hold a goat.”

Determine how many goats you want to have. Pygmy goats are herd animals; Always keep in mind that a goat never wants to be alone. Therefore, at least two of the beautiful pygmy goats must be kept together. A pygmy goat always needs a friend.

Climbing opportunities – The original habitat of the Pygmy Goat is the mountains. Therefore, goats are enthusiastic and agile climbers. So if you build a few obstacles in your pen, like straw bales, wooden benches, or picnic tables, they could provide hours of entertainment.

Feed and Water

Treats – A variety of human foods such as watermelon, apples, pears, peaches, carrots, lettuce, celery, pumpkin, zucchini, and spinach are good to feed to your Pygmy Goats and can be added to their diet. Just make sure all the pieces are small enough to prevent choking. Note: avocado is highly poisonous to goats; and should be avoided.


Fruits and vegetables are good for pygmy goats and will be welcomed as a great treat.

Giving your pygmy goat freedom to graze is absolutely necessary. Grass, bushes, leaves and weeds such as dandelions and clover are the natural food of the goat and will be received as a great pleasure. In summer, pygmy goats can only feed by grazing on pastures, if of course you have large enough pastures. If you have a small herd of pygmy goats, you will need several pastures to meet the needs of the goats. Also, you should regularly change where your goats graze, so that grass and weeds can grow back.

Alfalfa hay: If you don’t have enough space for your pygmy goats, you can feed them alfalfa hay when they can’t graze. Buy very high quality hay for the healthiest goats and highest quality milk; high-calcium alfalfa hay is important for milk production. Each dwarf goat needs 0.5-1 kg of hay per day. But if they get extra grain, they need less.

Hay Feeder – When feeding your pygmy goats alfalfa or other hays, you should place it on a hay feeder that will keep the hay off the ground, as goats are relatively picky about their food. They won’t eat it if it falls to the ground and they step on it. Buy a hay feeder that is the right size for your pygmy goats; they are only about 50 cm tall. They can’t eat the food if they can’t get it. Therefore, the part of the hay feeder where the feed comes from must be less than two feet from the ground. A good option is a hay feeder with bars that keep the hay in and the goat out. The hay feeder is shaped like a V that you put the hay into so they can pull it through the openings.


hay feeder

Cereals: You can also supplement goat food with cereals. Pygmy goats, like an ordinary goat, need more food in winter. Furthermore, dairy goats and kids need grain additives even in summer. The three main grains suitable for dwarf goats are oats, corn and barley.


You can also supplement the food of dwarf goats with cereals.

Water is essential for goats: Like all animals, goats need water to survive. Also, water is especially important for goats because they are ruminants and need more water than other animals to process their food. Therefore, make sure that your pygmy goats always have access to fresh, clean water. Remember to change the water regularly and clean the water tank frequently.

Pygmy Goat Care

Brush your Pygmy Goats – To keep your goats clean and healthy, it is very important to brush them. It should be done once every several days. For this you can use a simple brush. Brush your goats very carefully so as not to scratch them. Then use a soft brush to brush his fur.

Bathe your pygmy goats – Generally, it is not necessary to bathe pygmy goats, it is mainly done if one of your goats has parasites. Most of the time, brushing is enough. To bathe your goat, you need to heat the water a little so that it is not cold. Lather the goat with an animal or goat shampoo. Use a soft brush for this. Then rinse off the soap. It will be easier if your goat is wearing a collar as it will be easier for him to hold on to.

Maintaining the health of pygmy goats

Vitamin A – Pygmy goats need vitamin A in their diet to stay healthy. Most of the time they get this vitamin by eating alfalfa or grazing. However, if they don’t have access to any of these sources, try feeding them corn.

Vitamin D – Just like in humans, vitamin D helps goats absorb calcium, which helps maintain healthy bones. If your goats spend most of their time outdoors, they will absorb vitamin D from sunlight. However, if they are not exposed to enough sunlight, give them sun-dried alfalfa.

Give minerals to the goats that graze on the pastures. If your pygmy goats are grazing (instead of eating alfalfa and grains), you should give them a mixture of iodized salt, limestone (powdered), and animal bones (steamed and powdered). You can put this mixture in a separate bucket and let the goats consume it when they need it.

Give them selenium injections – Selenium is an essential nutrient, but it is even more important if you are in an area affected by white muscle disease, as selenium protects against this disease. When the children are born, you can inject them with selenium.

Give vaccinations yearly – Your goat should be vaccinated against enterotoxemia and tetanus at a minimum. This can be done by your vet. You should also ask your veterinarian about the rabies vaccine.

Check your goats once a year. This way you can make sure the goat’s vaccinations are up to date and your goat is healthy.

Take care of your goats’ hooves – Goat’s hooves will grow over time and if you don’t trim them, they will prevent the goat from walking properly. To trim their hooves, wear gloves and use scissors or a hoof knife. You need someone to hold the goat in place while you trim its hooves. Look for the presence of growth rings. You should be able to see the growth of the hooves. Trim the hooves down to the last growth ring.

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