Pygmy Goat Basics
If you have a small farm, or even a large one, raising pygmy goats may be a great project for you. They’re small (like their name implies), cute, inquisitive, playful and on occasion, slightly ornery. Because of their diminutive size almost anyone can care for them, or assist you in doing the chores required to keep them happy and healthy. The cost is relatively minimal for owning and maintaining a few pygmy goats. However, if you decide to purchase purebreds or pygora goats (pygmy angora mixes), the cost may run several hundred dollars per goat.
Pygmy Goat Care
The care required for pygmy goats is not very different from their larger counterparts. They will need vet checkups (should always be done early in their first year at a minimum for their shots), goat feed, fresh hay, bedding and grooming tools.
Pygmy goats also require one or more other goats or sheep for companionship. A goat left alone will often become depressed and cry, as they are herd animals. Pygmy goats usually have more than one goat per litter after their very first, so if you’re going to adopt one pygmy, consider adopting their same-sex sibling (if available) as well.
By entertainment, I mean entertaining the goats – not you! However, watching these frisky little goats is very entertaining. Pygmy goats (and other goats) are inquisitive by nature. If you have a chance to watch a goat herd outdoors, you’ll soon discover how much they can do, in very little time. They LOVE to climb things, so provide them with wooden spools or other small, sturdy structures to stand up on. If spaced close together, they’ll even hop from structure to structure.
Tip: All of their toys should be safe for their use – nothing they can easily chew, free of anything sharp and nothing they can get stuck in.
Pygmy Goats Playing
Backyard Pygmy Goat Pen
Goats, like any other farm animal, love to be outdoors when the weather is fine. Goats need to have sturdy fencing – if it has even the smallest hole your goats will find it and escape. Personally I’ve always used sheep/goat aluminum fencing. Have an experienced person assist you in putting up fencing if you’ve never done it before. Unrolling fencing can be a daunting task, especially if you’re trying to do it alone, not to mention driving fence posts. Alternatively you can use solid fencing, but that can become expensive if you’re using it in a large area.
Tip: Don’t place climbing structures for your goats anywhere near the fence or you’ll find your goats are using these structures as a jumping-off point to get over the fence!
Male Pygmy Goats
If your intent is to start a small herd of pygmy goats, either for your own enjoyment or to sell, selecting a male goat (buck) for your herd will become important. Even if your other goats aren’t purebreds, consider getting a purebred male for your herd. There are many breeders who have bucks for sale in the spring, and they usually cost less than a doe. Another good source for finding a good male goat for your herd is by purchasing one that was raised as a 4-H project. These animals have usually had great care, excellent confirmation and may even be an award winner in your county. Call your local Cooperative Extension office to find out if anyone is raising and selling pygmy goats in their 4-H program, or simply check out what is available at your county fair in the summer.
Tip: Male goats are territorial. Keep only one male goat in with the females you want to breed at a time, otherwise fighting will ensue. Also, use a buck from another bloodline; don’t breed brother/sister or other close bloodlines. If you don’t want to keep male goats, you can usually “borrow” a buck from a local breeder for an agreed upon fee.
Milking Pygmy Goats
After a doe (female) goat has had her first kid, she can be milked after her babies are weaned. A female doe can produce up to 1 quart per day of milk. If you choose not to milk your pygmy goats, that is fine too. They will then become “dry” until they have another litter.
Since pygmy goats are small in stature, using a milking stand will help you do this chore without breaking your back. Check with your local Cooperative Extension office for milking stand plans/instructions. You’ll have to size it down slightly from a normal sized goat milking stand, but it is an easy weekend woodwork project.
Tip: Goat milk tastes like cow’s milk UNLESS they are kept in the same pasture/pen as a male goat. If the milking does are kept with the males, their milk will have an off-taste and aroma, similar to what a buck (male) smells like. This same off-taste and aroma will also be evident in goat milk cheese or soap made from the milk.
Learn more about these wonderful creatures from the following resource links below.
Raising Pygmy Goats for Milk
Pygmy and Pygora Goat Resources
- National Pygmy Goat Association
- Free Nationwide Listing Of Goats For Sale - GoatFinder.com
Quickly locate Pygmy goat breeders in your area. Internet's number one source for finding Pygmy goats currently available for sale.
- Pygora Breeders Association
Pygora Goat Breed Standards
- KINDER GOAT BREEDERS ASSOCIATION
- Welcome to NDGA - All about the Nigerian Dairy Goat
- Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association
Learn more about colored angora goats, naturally colored mohair and CAGBA, the US and Canadian registry for colored angora goats. Find a breeder near you with our online breeder locator.