Pygmy Goat – How to Raise as a Pet

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Pygmy goats may just be my most favorite breed of goats. In our experience, keeping a Pygmy goat pet is a great option for a small farm or homestead.

baby pygmy goat kid standing on a pallet

Why You Need a Pygmy Goat Pet

Whenever folks ask me about our goats, I usually rave about the Pygmy goat breed first. Around here, I have a special love for all of our goat breeds, but the Pygmy goat has always been my top choice. 

Related: 5 Best Breeds of Goats to Keep as Pets

The Pygmy goat is a small breed that originated from West Africa and they’re usually the choice for most petting zoos. This is because their demeanor is (usually) incredibly gentle, kind, and sweet. 

There may be a wild one or two every now and then. But from our experiences with breeding goats, this is a rare occurrence for the Pygmy.

This also makes them a welcome addition to a small family farm or homestead. Pygmy goats are also a great choice for young children. 

Our children have learned simple feeding and care chores without any fear of the goats getting too rough or wild. However, if you keep a buck, no matter the breed, I would always take extra precautions around children. 

They tend to get a little wild especially when in rut. Our Pygmy goat buck is still incredibly gentle and loving and definitely much easier to manage compared to our Boer buck. 

Females and wethers would be the best options if you want to keep a Pygmy goat pet. 

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Close up image of a white pygmy goat

More Characteristics of the Pygmy Goat

Pygmy goats are incredibly playful. Probably the most playful of any goat breed we’ve raised. To keep them happy, be sure to create an environment where they have room to run, prance, and jump.

Setting up something as simple as large tree stumps for them to jump on and off of, will give them hours of fun play time.

Tip: be sure to set these up away from the fence, otherwise, they will hop right over! 

One thing I love about the pygmy goat is their small size. A female adult Pygmy will weigh about 55-75 pounds on average and males could go up to about 85 pounds. Their height ranges anywhere from 15-25 inches. 

image of a white pygmy goat in shelter and snow on the ground

Housing for Pygmy Goats

Proving a good solid structure is important for any goat breed. They are master escape artists! While Pygmy goats are a smaller breed, they are incredibly agile and will hop or climb right over a fence. I would definitely recommend using a taller and strong fence when setting up your pen. 

Goats hate rain or getting wet. Providing them a nice structure where they can escape the elements is a necessity. It is also important for predator protection. 

Our current structure during the cooler months is a small barn (appropriately named “the goat barn”) and it has a nice solid fenced in pen. During the summer months, we use our goats for brush clean up.

They are protected by using electric fence and my husband built this homemade goat shelter to protect them from the elements. 

goat standing in the doorway of the goat barn
One of our Alpine goats hanging out at our “Goat Barn”

Feeding Care for the Pygmy Goat

Feeding a Pygmy goat is not overly complicated. They can be provided regular grass hay. However, there may be potential for alfalfa hay to cause problems with urinary calculi, especially in males. So we just avoid it altogether. 

As I mentioned above, we use our goats for grazing and brush clean up. They love to browse, pick and choose their feed. They prefer trees, brush, and weeds. Depending on your land and time of year, supplements may also be needed for proper nutrition. 

Related: Protecting livestock from poisonous plants.

We will supplement with a good quality goat specific feed, occasional grains, salt tubs and other minerals as needed. 

They also enjoy treats of fruits and vegetables. 

Regular worming is recommended, at least twice a year. 

white pygmy goat browsing and eating grass

Maturity and Breeding

Male Pygmies usually reach maturity fairly quick as early as 9-12 weeks. A female Pygmy goat can go into heat as early as 3 months and as late as 12 months. It would be a good idea to keep females separated from males unless you want to see baby Pygmies early on.

Also, if you keep a variety of goat breeds, keeping the smaller goats such as Pygmies or Nigerian dwarf breeds separated from the larger breed goats like Boers or Alpines is essential. Breeding larger goats with a smaller goat can be hard on the mama and complications can arise, especially during birth. 

Breeding at an early age can also result in complications. 

Close up image of a male pygmy goat

Here’s a few signs of rut in a goat:

  • They urinate on themselves. Attractive isn’t it? See image above with our Pygmy buck and pee stained beard. Yuck!
  • Aggression – butts, rears up, for example
  • Lip curling
  • Tongue wagging
  • Scent – very strong, stinky odor (our Boer is the worst!)
  • Frequent erections

And a few signs of doe in heat: 

  • They become more vocal
  • You may notice a clear or milky white discharge
  • She may show interest in the buck or the buck begins showing extra interest in her
  • Frequent urination 
  • Wagging the tail more than usual

A Few More Tips for Keeping a Pygmy Goat Pet

How you handle the goat while they are young will definitely make an impact on how they turn out as adults. If you want yours to be extra loving and docile, I would suggest starting it off as a bottle baby. 

Bucks aren’t the best choice for a pet. Does and wethers would be the better option for keeping a Pygmy as a pet. 

Pygmy babies have a low birth weight. They are the cutest little things to watch when they are young. If you want a bunch of adorable entertainment, this is the breed for you! 

This low birth weight is also very helpful for a first time mama.

three small pygmy goats being held in man’s hands

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