All domestic goats come from the same wild forebearer, a wild goat known as the pasang. Goats, as we know them, were first domesticated around 10,000 years ago somewhere in Asia or Central Europe. Today, they can be found all over the world, both in large-scale farms and ranches and in tiny backyard farmsteads. Goats are important livestock animals, like sheep, horses, cows, and chickens. They provide us with milk, meat, leather, and wool. One type of goat, the pygmy goat, has become popular for an entirely different reason. Pygmy goats as pets are rapidly increasing in popularity, but should you get one?
Here, we’ll learn the basics of just what makes a pygmy goat a pygmy goat. We’ll find out whether or not they make good pets and what it takes to take care of them. Finally, we’ll discuss how to go about buying a pygmy goat and what it might cost you.
What Is a Pygmy Goat?
Pygmy goats are achondroplastic (genetically dwarfed) goats. They’re thought to have originated in West Africa, where breeders purposely bred dwarf goats to create a new, smaller species—the pygmy goat. Pygmy goats are kept for their meat in many parts of the world. But, in some places, these tiny ruminants have become popular both as backyard farm additions and as pets.
Pygmy Goats as Pets
With their increasing popularity, pygmy goats as pets are more common than ever. For many, their small size, friendly, inquisitive personality, and generally long lifespan (up to 15 years) make them the ideal companion. Pygmy goats are happiest living outdoors — as long as the weather’s good. They dislike the rain and snow and should always be provided with a warm, dry place to shelter. Further, they’re great at keeping weeds at bay, but they won’t stop there. Pygmy goats are known to eat just about everything that grows — including flowers and vegetables.
Do Pygmy Goats Get Along With Dogs?
When considering pygmy goats as pets, you’ll probably wonder whether these tiny hooved creatures get along with other animals. The answer is: it depends. A basic rule of thumb when it comes to dogs and goats is that they do not mix well. However, there are many examples of owners of both goats and dogs who have never had any problems. But the fact remains: dogs are predators, and goats fit their ideal prey image. However, this does not mean they can’t get along; just exercise extreme caution when deciding to add a goat to your dog’s family.
What To Feed Your Pygmy Goat
As ruminants, pygmy goats typically eat hay, straw, leaves, grains, and goat-formulated pellets. Their primary foods should include hay, water, and salt licks. Additionally, pygmy goats benefit from fruits, veggies, and grains — but only as a supplement to their diet. If you’re thinking of getting a pygmy goat as a pet, be sure to consult with a livestock veterinarian on proper diet and nutrition.
Do You Need to Milk Pygmy Goats?
If you’re thinking about getting a pygmy goat but are worried about having to milk them, then get ready for some good news. Unless you’re purchasing a nanny (mother) goat with a young kid, you don’t have to worry about milking your pygmy goat. Of course, there’s no concern at all for male goats, as they don’t produce milk. For nannies, as long as you’re not actively breeding them, you don’t need to worry about milking. In fact, pygmy goats don’t produce much milk since they were initially bred to provide meat, not milk.
Health Care For Pygmy Goats
One of the biggest things people wonder about when considering pygmy goats as pets is their healthcare needs. First and foremost among these are vaccinations—all goats require certain vaccinations. They also need regular exams and lice treatment, both of which can be provided by the appropriate veterinary clinic.
Another health consideration is the hoof. Pygmy goats require regular hoof trimming every 4-8 weeks. Foregoing the hoof trimming can lead to overgrown hooves and even hoof rot, which can lead to the goat becoming lame.
Beyond that, goats are relatively healthy, easy-to-care-for animals. They don’t get sick easily and are more resilient to disease than other livestock animals. With proper care and diet, your pygmy goat may live up to 15 years.
How To Buy a Pygmy Goat
The first step in buying a pygmy goat is generally deciding whether you want a doe (female), a buck (unaltered male), or a wether (altered male). Most pygmy goat owners choose either a doe or a wether. Next, look around for sellers. According to the Miniature Goat Breeders Association (MGBA), any prospective pygmy goat should be registered and come with transfer papers verifying the purchase.
- Are Goats Good Pets?
- Pygmy Goat Lifespan: How Long Do Pygmy Goats Live?
- Goat Gestation Period: How Long are Goats Pregnant?
- Pygmy Goat Size: How Big Do Pygmy Goats Get?
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Henk Vrieselaar/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- , Available here: https://extension.psu.edu/animals-and-livestock/goats
- , Available here: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/goats/
- , Available here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/goat
- , Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/goat
- , Available here: https://www.npga-pygmy.com/