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Updated on June 27, 2008

My Pygmys Could Teach Cats a Thing or Two

An animal lover/caregiver can never go wrong with a goat (assuming local zoning laws favor caprine companions). Actually, I should say goatS since you should always have more than one to maintain the desirable herd-like atmosphere that goats prefer.

Originally, I got three pygmy baby goats to help keep my little farm's (4.5 acres) agriculture tax exemption. I had no idea I would fall madly, insanely in love with them. They were so small...barely the size of cats. Now at almost two years, they are nearly grown -- about 50 lbs and and standing about two feet at the shoulders (called withers). They came to live with me when it was winter, and they were kind of sick when I got them so I kept them in my bath tub. They figured out how to escape in less than 24 hours and spent several months causing all sorts of trouble in the house until the weather and their "colds" cleared up. Later, I brought home three adult female pygmys. All are registered but I don't think that is a necessity to build a nice little herd of goaties.

My goats are girls, but you can get boys for pets if you have them neutered (called wethers). Boys that aren't neutered (bucks) will try to mate everything from your leg to your mailbox, and to make matters worse, they stick their heads down between their legs and pee on themselves. This is the goat version of Old Spice, but trust me, it smells nothing like Old Spice and you won't want any part of it.

Pygmy goats are short, fat and friendly. The manage to stay amazingly clean without baths (just some seasonal brushing and loving strokes to their fur). They bond with their "shepherds" and will go on "walks" with you (this is just a stroll without a leash ... and it assumes that there are no dogs in the vicinity). My goats are VERY self-absorbed and demand attention. In fact, they could teach cats a thing or two about self-importance. They "bah" for me if they think I'm nearby and will do all sorts of things to get attention when they feel they are being ignored. When they are playing, they jump up on their hind legs and butt each other or do a very hysterical little dance called a "capri." Honestly, if you have couple of goats, you won't need a TV.

Each goat in my herd is named after a flower, and a couple of them seem to know who they are when I call them but may or may not choose to answer (goatie perogative). One goat, Jazzmin or "Jazzy," is the obvious leader and tells everyone else what to do. If I want the goats to follow me, I get Jazzy to move off first. Everyone else will follow. When someone needs a good butt to remind them to stay in line, Jazzy is the one who delivers it.

If you think you're going to get a couple of goats to keep your lawn manicured, forget it. Goats will eat grass but prefer "browse" (bushes and shrubs) and are picky about the weeds they'll consume. Never let a goatie munch on a lawn "treated" with fertilizer or weedkiller. Not healthy!

Goats don't like tin cans either, no matter what the cartoons say. But they will eat wood. When mine got bored, they started eating the side off their little shed. They are such scamps!

Read up on goat types and proper care before looking for a pair (or more) of goatie pals. They require more attention than their reputations would suggest, including trimming their little feet every month or so. While I adore my pygmys, my neighbor has Nubian wethers and loves them tremendously. They are small like pygmys but don't seem to get as pudgy. Of course, my neighbor isn't fat like me either, so there may be a connection there.

Goatie Pix

Lily & Petunia in the bath tub during the cold winter months.
Lily & Petunia in the bath tub during the cold winter months.
Daisy & Lily were the stars of our '07 Holiday Card!
Daisy & Lily were the stars of our '07 Holiday Card!


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