Pygmy Goats
Pygmy GoatsPygmy Goats
Goats are highly social animals that can make good pets; however, they do require a large amount of space and retain their propensity for jumping and climbing. Because of their temperament, they are becoming popular pets, but they are not right for every family or situation. Considerable thought should be given to what goat care really entails prior to acquiring one.

How should you care for your pygmy goat?

The most popular backyard goat is a pygmy goat because of its small size. A male typically weighs 40-80 pounds whereas a female weighs 35-60 pounds. With good care, pygmy goats can live about 15-19 years.

What should you feed your pygmy goat?

Goats need to be provided access to a good quality pasture with grasses for grazing. They often do not discriminate in what they eat or taste so access to prized plants should be prohibited. They should also be supplemented with a good quality grass hay (some alfalfa and more of Timothy hay). The type of hay and the amount will vary depending on whether you have a male or a female and if she is used for milk or breeding. Please consult a veterinarian, such as those at the Saukville Veterinary Clinic, for more specific information. Make sure the pasture/yard is free of any toxic plants that your goat could ingest. Adult pet goats typically do not require grain as part of the daily diet but can be offered it occasionally as a treat. A vitamin/mineral block may be needed in certain areas of the country where the soil is deficient. Please consult your veterinarian for recommendations.

How should you house your pygmy goat?

Goats are very social animals and should be housed within a herd (or at minimum another goat). Housing will depend on the climate you live in. A shelter for protection from the outdoor elements needs to be provided regardless of the region. In warmer areas shade should be provided and misters and fans considered. In cold climates barns should be provided for shelter (approximately 15-50ft square feet per animal). The floor substrate should be straw, dirt, wood chips (not cedar), wood, cement or clay over gravel (preferable). A fence that is 4-5ft tall should be constructed to keep goats from roaming free. A cement footer should be considered to prevent goats from damaging the fence and escaping underneath.

Goats are intelligent and easily bored, therefore objects for enrichment such as soccer or basketballs, emptied (and rinsed) bleach containers tied to a stake/post, etc. should be provided.

What should you know about purchasing a pygmy goat and keeping it healthy?

It is recommended you purchase a goat that has been tested and is negative for both Caseous Lymphadenitis and Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE). Both of these diseases can be transmitted in the milk and have no cure. Regular hoof trimming may be necessary depending on your goat's activity level.

Your goat should also be vaccinated for Clostridium perfringens type C and D and Clostridium tetani. This is a combination vaccine that should be given to unvaccinated and pregnant goats. In some areas of the county goats are vaccinated for rabies. This vaccine is not required in goats and the recommendation will vary depending on your goat's risk. Please speak with a veterinarian for more information on this vaccine.