Home Farm Animals Pygmy Goat: Breed Overview & Care Information

Pygmy Goat: Breed Overview & Care Information

by radoo_ngnh2u

The lovely pygmy goat is a small, gentle, adorable, and energetic animal. Pygmy goats are a lot of fun and joy to have on the farm. Even though they are cute, goats are not the easiest animal to care for. If you’re thinking of adding a pygmy goat to your homestead, read this first.

Pygmy goats sure do steal your heart. Their gentle, sweet nature adds so much charm to a homestead. They are sure to make you smile, even if they have been a naughty goat that day. It is important to know that they are rather sensitive and need more care than pigs or chickens. But, all owners of pygmy goats I know say that it’s well worth the effort.
I am not an expert goat keeper, but I sure do love them. We will be adding pygmy goats to the homestead in the near future. But first, in Comfy Goat fashion, I must learn everything I possibly can about them. I have spent many hours researching pygmy goats to make sure I can provide for them. Just for you, I have compiled my research about pygmy goats so far in this post. I have also received tips for care from pygmy owners, which I also share with you.

Pygmy Goat Breed Overview

Pygmy goats are small animals. Their head, legs, and neck are short and stocky, and their body is long. They are alert, playful, intelligent, and friendly. They love to be with people or other goats. It doesn’t matter to them who is there, they don’t like to be alone.
Pygmy goats are believed to be one of the earliest domesticated animals due to their friendly nature.
pygmy goat anatomy

Photo Source: Oregon State University


Origin & History of the Pygmy Goat

Pygmy goats were originally bred in Southwest Asia and brought to West Africa. They have domesticated over 8,000 years ago. They were used for milk, meat, and fiber. In the late 1950s, pygmy goats were brought to the United States for zoos and research purposes.
There are some people who milk them, but that is not their main purpose on a farm. And as far as I know, there is not a large market for pygmy goat meat in the US anymore.

Goat Terms

  • Does: Females
  • Bucks: Males
  • Kids: Babies
  • Wethers: A male goat that can no longer reproduce
  • Milking Does: Females that are in milk
  • Pregnant Does: Females that are pregnant

The Lifespan Of A Pygmy Goat

Pygmy goats live for about 10 to 15 years. It depends on their care and living conditions.

Pygmy Goat Colors

Pygmy goats come in all colors, there is a wide variety of colors. The most common colors are blue, speckled (agouti), black agouti, white agouti, and caramel.

Coat Type

Their coats are straight and medium in length. The density of their coats depends on the climate and the season. Males will have a long and full beard along with a mane that drapes across their shoulders.


At full maturity, both males and females should be at least 16 inches. The maximum height for females is 22 1/2. inches, and 23 inches for males. Females will reach full maturity at 24 months and males at 30 months.


Pygmy goats really like people. They have a very mild temperament and overall are nice animals. They will cuddle like a kitten and play like a dog.

pygmy goats

How to Care For a Pygmy Goat

If you are able to provide a pygmy goat with everything it needs, you will have a great experience keeping them. To achieve harmony with goat keeping, you need to meet their basic fencing, housing, feed, water, and mineral requirements.


Having good fencing is very important with goats. There are a couple of reasons why you need adequate fencing.
The first on most obvious, you want to keep them on your land. If you don’t have good fencing, they will be the cause of some headaches. Goats can climb or jump over 4 feet when they are fully grown. If they can find a way out…believe me, they will.
If you have fences that are less than 4 feet tall, you could make do with kids for some time. But you will want to have a plan in place to upgrade your fence when the kids inevitably become adults.
Goats can also open gates and doors with their noses. They are sneaky trouble makers if given the opportunity.
Second, you can protect your garden. Goats eat anything and everything. If they have full access to your vegetable garden, it will not be good news for you, but you will have on a happy goat. So just make sure that you have your garden beds protected with a DIY fence or enclosure.
Tip: Don’t use barbed wire fencing. Your goats could get entangled in it and get injured.

Housing a Pygmy Goat

In all climates, a three-sided shed is a must. Goats are rather delicate animals, and they need proper housing to thrive. Below is a diagram of what you need to include in your goat setup. Of course, yours doesn’t need to look exactly like this, it’s just a visual reference. 
pygmy goat

Photo Source: Oregon State University

You also will need to have a raised bed of some sort off of the ground. This is important because some goats like to sleep off the ground. They can also develop problems with their hooves if they are standing on the wet substrate for a long time. You could even use a bench or a chair that is sturdy enough to hold goats. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
In moderate climates, it is ideal if your three-sided shed faces northeast. You may use a canvas drop cloth to cover the open side when it’s cold out.
If you are building the shed from scratch, make sure you provide proper drainage for rain and snow. You can give your shed a slanted roof and the goats will climb on it. They love to play on roofs and other tall surfaces.
Tip: Use composition roofing material and it will help file down their hoofs. This is great because it means less frequent trimming.
Also, it’s important to consider what type of floor you will have. You could use concrete, wood, or gravel. However, concrete is usually preferred because it’s easy to clean and maintain. Plus it’s durable and easy to do yourself.

Bedding: Pine Vs. Straw

For bedding inside of the shed, you have two options: straw or pine bedding. There are pros and cons to each of them, it comes down to personal preference and what works for you.
Straw bedding is nice because it’s easier to clean and easier to manage. But it feels dirtier than pine and goats also love to eat it.
Pine bedding is really messy and sticks to anything. You will find it stuck to your jacket and in your car. It’s sort of like glitter, you can never get rid of it. But the goats don’t eat it and it helps to feel cleaner overall.
How often should you clean their bedding?
Some goat keepers clean their pen every day, some once a week. It depends on how many goats you have and how dirty their pen gets.
It’s important to keep their bedding dry because they sleep in there. Again, they can develop hoof problems if they stand on wet bedding for too long. So if you see a really wet area you can spot clean it. Simply remove that section of the substrate and replace it with fresh substrate.

Tip: Use spilled hay as a substrate.

If the area gets really muddy, you can add a wood board over so it is easier to walk in. Goats like to gather in their favorite spots and tend to make things muddy over time. If this becomes a problem, you can try feeding them in a different area.

Feeding a Pygmy Goats

Pygmy goats need fine grass hay and a bit of grain each day. In the summer they will eat grass also and won’t need as much hay as in the winter months. But there should always be hay available, even in the summer months.
Goats may also eat vegetable scraps, weeds from the garden, branches, shrubs – you name it. They love it all, especially blackberries. There are a few toxic plants to avoid such as azalea, rhododendron, orlaurel, and tansy ragwort.
Feeding your goat properly is a key factor for their health. Goats don’t know when to stop eating, they will eat all day long. This can result in issues such as bloat, stomach aches, and even overeating disease.
With this being said, it’s important to pay attention to how long the goats are free-ranging. That way you can monitor how much they are eating. If you notice them overeating, you can move them to a different area to avoid problems. Each goat is different, follow this guide from the University of Oregon’s 4H program. It discusses more in-depth what each type of goat needs for nutrition.

  • Wethers: Wether can develop urinary stones very easily. Feed them carefully. They need balanced amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein.
  • Bucks: Bucks also develop urinary stones frequently. They need the same balanced amount as wethers. If you are using your bucks for breeding, they will need extra food. Depending on their size, breeding bucks will need about 2 cups of alfalfa pellets a day.
  • Dry doe’s: You can give them the same amount of food as your wethers and bucks. Though they probably don’t need as much food as the bucks. You can start with about 2 cups a day and adjust as needed. Overweight does may have difficulty delivering kids and getting pregnant.
  • Pregnant doe’s: Pregnant does need more food than dry does, but be careful not to overfeed them. It is recommended that their feed is approximately 16% protein.
  • Milking doe’s: Milking does need twice the amount of feed than pregnant does. They also need an increased amount of water at all times.
  • Kids: Kids get most of their nutrition from their mothers for about the first 2 years. They will start to graze on grain and hay at about 1 week old. At 10 weeks old, you can start to wean kids from their mothers.


Just like us, goats need minerals to be healthy. You may be thinking that a mineral block will do, but that’s not the best option for goats.
Goats have a really soft tongue, unlike cows. It is hard for goats to get enough minerals from a block, and they may even chip a tooth biting the block to get their fix. Certain blocks also don’t have the right amount of minerals for goats. Goats need goat mineral because it is formulated for their specific needs.
Instead of a mineral block, get mineral powder. Goat owners recommend the brands Sweetlix and Purina over any other brands. If you can’t get your hands on either, get what you can. You also don’t need a cobalt (salt) block.

Feeding Minerals To Your Pygmy Goat

In order to feed the minerals, get a mineral feeder and attach it to the wall. Make sure it is high enough so the goats don’t poop in it. Clean it as needed and replace it with fresh minerals.


Clean, freshwater must be accessible 24/7. Goats need a lot of water. Scrub out the water buckets or trough frequently or as needed to keep the buckets in good shape.

Breeding A Pygmy Goat

Breeding does should not be bred until at least 7 to 10 months old. If does are bred sooner than that, it may cause developmental issues with the fetus or the doe. The normal breeding season for pygmy goats is from late August to mid-March.
If you are planning to breed your goats, it’s important to keep track of their ages. You will want to keep a record of each goat, their pregnancy with dates, number of kids, medication, and more. It’s important to keep this organized and up to date, so if a problem ever occurs you don’t have to make any guesses.

When is it time to breed a doe?

You want to have a buck ready when her estrus period starts. You will know she is in estrus because she will project some behavior changes. Examples of behavior changes are tail shaking, increased urination, bleating, or uneasiness. Your doe has a higher chance of conceiving on the second day of estrus, so leave the buck with her for a few days.

How long is a pygmy goat pregnant?

The gestation period after conception is 145 to 155 days. It’s also common for does to have two to four kids at a time.


Goats need to be groomed as needed to keep healthy and clean. You can brush them with a stiff dog brush every other week or so. When it’s warm outside, you can give them baths to help with lice and fleas.

Hoof Trimming

Their hooves grow rather quickly. If they aren’t trimmed, they can break and split, causing infection. This can cause your animal to not be able to walk. Trim their hooves every 3 months to prevent this from happening.
You can use a few different tools. Some people use small pruning shears or a utility knife. Do some additional research about where to cut and how to do it before you try. Below are some diagrams that show the anatomy of the hoof, how to tell if it’s overgrown, and where to trim the hoof.

Anatomy of the hoof:

pygmy goat hoof

Photo Source: Oregon State University

How to tell spot an overgrown hoof:

pygmy goat hoof

Photo Source: Oregon State University

Where to trim the hoof:

pygmy goat hoof

Photo Source: Oregon State University



Goats are unfortunately not immune to disease and illness. The good thing is if you are aware of what to look for you can stop things quickly.
The most common health issues that goats experience are:

  • Internal parasites
  • Bloat
  • Diarrhea
  • Mastitis (milking does)
  • Footrot
  • Brucellosis
  • Mange
  • Lice
  • Abcess
  • White muscle disease
It’s important to keep an eye on your goat’s health and assess them often. If you do this, it is likely you will catch any issues before it gets too bad.


You can dehorn most kids when they are about 1 week old. Don’t wait until there is a horn already growing. Dehorning at that point may stunt growth or produce a disfigured horn. Goat owners also recommend doing this before the fly season.
If you need an adult goat to be dehorned, it is doable but it’s better to let your veterinarian do it. They can use nerve blockers to help comfort the animals. You always want to put your and the animal’s safety first.

How Do You Dehorn A Pygmy Goat?

There are three ways you can dehorn a kid goat before they start to grow in – electric, chemical, or with a paste.
Electric Dehorning Device
You can use an electric dehorning device, which essentially destroys the horn cells. The iron heats up, and you apply it to the horn spot for 10-15 seconds or until the area is copper-red. Before you release the animal, apply petroleum jelly to the spot.
Chemical Method
The chemical method is done with a stick of potassium hydroxide. Essentially this burns the horn cells as well. If you are using the chemical method, you want to separate the kids from each other and their mothers to avoid burning each other.
In order to apply, cut the hair around the area first. Dip the tip of the stick in the water to dampen. Then apply it in a circular motion until the horn tissue is burnt off, about 1 inch in diameter. When it is done, the skin will appear pinkish white. They also mention that there could be drainage, so to avoid their face being burnt, surround the area with petroleum jelly.
Dehorning Paste
Goat owners claim this is their favorite method. It is typically safer than chemicals or an electric burner. You can buy this paste from livestock supply stores. When you use the paste, you will also want to keep the animals separated for a day or two.

Questions About Pygmy Goats

pygmy goat

Can you milk a pygmy goat?

Yes, you can milk a pygmy goat. However, it is not the favorited goat to milk.

Do pygmy goats make good pets?

Yes, pygmy goats make great pets. They love being around people and are very friendly.

How big is a full-grown pygmy goat?

Adult pygmy goats average around 15 to 20 inches tall from shoulder to hooves. Females weigh from 35 to 50 pounds and males are 40 to 60 pounds.

Do pygmy goats stay small?

Yes, even adult pygmy goats stay small.

Do pygmy goats get lonely?

Of course, all goats get lonely. You are never supposed to have just 1 goat, you always should have at least two. No one likes to be lonely, right?

Are they used for meat?

Yes they are. But over time, the demand for pygmy goat meat is not like it once was. Owners think of them more as pets now a days.

What are pygmy goats like?

A pygmy goat will become your best friend. If you treat them right and take care of them well, they will provide you with lots of joy and affection. They will definitely make you laugh, and brighten up your days.

Final Thoughts About The Pygmy Goat

Pygmy goats are a great choice of an animal for a homestead if you can provide the proper living conditions. There will always be something new to learn about these animals, but I hope this was a helpful introduction.
If you provide for a pygmy goat, they will provide you will endless joy and laughs. We could all use more of that in, I’m sure.
Are you ready to bring a pygmy goat to join your homestead?





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