Other common names: Pygmy Goat; Cameroon Dwarf
While most domesticated goats trace their roots to Asia, the African Pygmy Goat originated in Africa. These hardy goats produce a good amount of milk for their size, and were originally kept as dairy goats in the Cameroon Valley of West Africa. Pygmy goats were first brought out of Africa as additions to European zoos, and in the 1950's made their way into North America. Originally found in zoos and research facilities, Pygmy Goats quickly became popular pets because of their unique, friendly personalities, low costs to keep, and hardy constitutions.
Appearance / health:
A miniature in the truest sense of the word, the body conformation of the pygmy goat is very similar to that of larger breeds. Pygmy goats are nearly as wide as they are tall, and they are typically less than two feet tall with males usually being taller than females. Pygmy goats come in a variety of colors and patterns; however, there are only three basic colors (black, medium brown, and dark brown) that form the color base for the breed. The nine color patterns that cover the vast majority of pygmy goats are: black, black/grey agouti, black trim caramel, medium brown, medium brown agouti, medium brown trim caramel, dark brown, dark brown agouti, and dark brown trim caramel. White spotting may or may not be present on any of these color patterns. The hair of pygmy goats is straight, short, and smooth. Both sexes are naturally horned, but many choose to have their pets dehorned before bringing them home.
In general, pygmy goats are healthy, hardy animals. The healthiest of goats will appear bright and alert with no discharge coming from their eyes or nose. Some major health problems that can affect pygmy goats include Caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), and Johne's Disease; however, purchasing from a reputable breeder who regularly tests its herd for these diseases will greatly reduce the chances of receiving goats with health problems.
Behavior / temperament:
Pygmy goats are generally active, friendly animals that are happiest in a herd. However, they will also bond with other animals should they not have at least one other goat companion. These affectionate creatures are quite smart, and can easily learn tricks and be house trained. Ultimately, African pygmy goats provide their owners with years of companionship and entertainment.
Housing / diet:
Pygmy goat housing ranges from the simple, homemade construction to the elaborate, custom-ordered creation. The important thing is that housing provides a safe place from predators and the elements. Allow for approximately 15 to 20 square feet per goat, and create a place for pygmies to sleep off the ground. The roofing should be leak proof, and the proper insulation should be used with consideration to the climate. The housing should also contain bedding consisting of fresh grass, straw, or hay. Putting fencing around the housing should be considered so that the pygmies can have access to an area to graze and play. Fences need not be high – about four feet – however they must be secure to keep the goats in and the predators out.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about feeding pygmy goats is that they require a clean feeding and drinking area elevated off the ground for optimum health. Pygmy goats will stop feeding before they eat soiled food, so check their feeding area often to make sure it is clean and there is plenty of water available. Goats eat grains such as oats, goat ration, sweet feed, and corn. Each goat should be fed 1/4 cup of grains twice daily. A mineral/salt block should also be available to pygmy goats to ensure they are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals.
high butterfat, BIG personalities, small family farm, good first goat, sweet goats, hardy little goats
escape artists, Arthritis Encephalitis CAE, fenced enclosure, Caseous Lymphadenitis CL
loose mineral salt, great fence jump, social animals, good browsers, 4H programs
More Than Just A Fat Goat
It seems almost universal that the first thing people notice about a pygmy goat is its weight. That's very rude, don't you know?
Pygmy goats are bred primarily for their meat and milk, and they provide plenty of both. We never used our pygmy goats for either. They were more or less pets, who roamed the property with our Nubian goats and an old Dalmatian/Boxer mix looking for things to eat. That's probably how they got so fat.
Overall, they were temperamental and pushy, but got along well with most of our other animals, including our dogs. I think this had more to do with our dogs' having relaxed and non-aggressive personalities, rather than the goats themselves. They did charge our cats a few times, but our cats were, well, being cats..
From skywise Jul 19 2015 11:47PM
My Pygmy Goat
I have an African Pygmy goat named Nanny. She is a great goat for our situation. I am a small scale homesteader meaning I raise enough food for our family on 2-acres of land. This type of goat is great for that purpose. She takes up very little space, doesn't eat very much, and is very friendly with people and other animals.
One downside to having this type of goat is she is not easy to milk. I wanted to raise goats for the purpose of milking and had read that pygmy goats could be used for. I have found this would be very difficult to do because of their size. However, I will be able to sell her kids for profit and buy a Miniature Nigerian goat which are suppose to be great for milking purposes.
Do be advised that goats require a lot of fencing because they are escape artists. They are very social creatures so you will need more than one goat or they will cry all of the time. They need a sturdy structure for shelter. Basically, the happier you keep your goats the less trouble they will be. I currently am raising three goats and have no trouble out of them at all.
I have heard from other goat owner's that goats can be sickly. I keep my goats' pin very neat and have not had any trouble with their health so far. These are all important factors to take into consideration before deciding to keep goats. However, I love my goats and cannot imagine a homesteading life without them..
From jenlynn10 Jul 28 2015 9:39AM
The Infamous Buckley
Well, you're either a goat person or you're not. Sometimes you have to buy a goat before you find out which category you fall into. I started my goat experience with a feisty little devil named Buckley. He was a master escape artist and a little too spirited for my tastes. He had unfortunately been reinforced by his previous owners for behaviors that made him a giant pain in the butt as he matured.
The previous owners would play with him by holding his horns and wrestling with him. So he learned that this was fun. As he got bigger, he loved to corner my youngest son in the yard and try to push him against the fence. He was only trying to play, but you can imagine my son's fright.
He also became slightly aggressive towards me when he reached maturity, and this is why he had to be rehomed, as I am small framed and can't risk being injured by an animal.
His coloring was beautiful and he did make some pretty babies, which also came out with his spirited personality. This is when his career as a stud ended. I didn't like the idea of perpetuating his particular personality.
With goats it's important to raise them from babies to behave a certain way, and never reinforce behaviors as a baby that you won't want them to do when they're full grown. Jumping up on people, playing with horns, bucking and wrestling are behaviors that won't be cute anymore when they are big, and it isn't fair to them when they are being rehomed because of their difficult personalities.
If you are considering this breed, I would recommend making sure you are able to meet the goat in person and spend a little time observing them before you buy. Some goats are wonderfully quiet and polite and others are very difficult to deal with. Know what you are getting before you make a commitment..
From starletblue Jun 24 2015 4:51PM