The pygmy goat is a type of miniature domestic goat, quite resistant and which can easily acclimate to different climates and territories. In the following paragraphs we will find out more about this sheep breed.
Characteristics of the pygmy goat
Let’s start by discovering the characteristics of the pygmy goat. This type of goat originated from the dwarf goat of West Africa and more precisely in the Cameroon valley. Only during the colonial era, these mini goats were imported to Europe by the British. Around the 1950s, some specimens were requested in the United States for city zoos, for milk production and for research purposes. Subsequently, numerous other specimens were purchased from private breeders and immediately gained popularity as small pets, due to their small size, their sociable character, as well as a robust constitution.
The pygmy goat belongs to the most common breed of goats raised as domestic animals. In fact, dwarf goats turn out to be patient and docile animals, with a lively nature and also suitable for children. Moreover, if accustomed from an early age, the pygmy goat shares its spaces without problems even with the other animals of the house; the females are a little mischievous, while the males, at times, prove to be competitive and aggressive. They are known as dwarf goats considering their height which does not exceed 35 cm at the withers.
As for the weight, it varies in relation to their height, but generally, it is around 5 – 15 kilograms. The coat can come in various colors: we find it white, black, brown, pied in two or three colors, gray with silver veins and suede. Another peculiarity of the dwarf goats are the horns, which develop in both short and very thin sexes.
How to cure the pygmy goat
Anyone wondering how to care for the pygmy goat should know that the animal needs a dry, comfortable shelter that protects it from atmospheric agents and the presence of wild animals. The stable is certainly the optimal solution, but a simple shelter could also be provided, suitable for its needs for night shelter. The pygmy goat needs a rather large outdoor space, to be able to move freely and graze on grass or other types of common plants (clover in particular).
Fundamental is a fence of a meter and a half all around its habitat to prevent any escapes. Unless pygmy goats are to be bred, males should be kept separate from females. The hooves of pygmy goats should be trimmed every two months or as needed. Important are the weekly grooming combined with periodic baths for the hygiene of the fleece with the use of neutral soap. Regular veterinary visits are highly recommended for the prevention of serious infectious diseases (also transmissible to humans) and for basic vaccinations.
Considering that the goat’s gestation lasts five months while weaning another four months, the right time for mating runs from August to December; usually only one baby comes to light, exceptionally two, which the mother takes care of lovingly, as long as she immediately removes the male, who could be aggressive. Generally it is advisable to have a single pair, for a first reproductive phase. Alternatively, both males and females can be sterilized; neutered males can be reared in the same group as unsterilized females. Each pygmy goat should eat 165 grams of grains twice a day. Grains should be available to the animal in a feeding trough to prevent them from being dispersed. Ideal are those cereals such as oats, corn or specific complete and balanced feed for sheep.
It is good practice to make a container with iodized salt available to pygmy goats. In this way, the animal will be guaranteed the right amount of vitamins and mineral salts together with unground and dry fodder (rich in vitamins A and D), soy and alfalfa. We remind you that vitamins A and D are essential for the prevention of bone, heart and muscle diseases. From November to March the administration of well-preserved hay is suitable, while from spring to autumn the goats can be left free to feed on the grass of the fields. During the summer season there is the problem of bad smelling manure. The problem is reduced (but not completely eliminated) by regularly and meticulously cleaning the fence: the sewage should be removed and disposed of in a biological way.
How long do dwarf goats live
How long do dwarf goats like pygmy goats live? The average life span of a dwarf goat bred in captivity, in good psycho-physical conditions, is ten or fifteen years.
How much does a mini goat cost
Finally, let’s find out how much a mini goat like the pygmy costs. As for the price of a specimen, we know that it is not particularly high. The price varies according to age and sex and averages about 100/150 euros, however, referring to specialized and well-known farms. To this, however, the cost of daily maintenance should be added, in addition to veterinary expenses, in particular those related to vaccinations.