GOAT KEEPING INFORMATION

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I would like to point out that this page only touches briefly on most sections and is only meant as a general guide to anyone considering keeping pygmy goats. If you decide to go ahead with becoming a pygmy goat keeper I would advise you to read a copy of `Pygmy Goat` published by the Pygmy Goat Club and available from the Membership Secretary at 4.00

 

The Pygmy Goat as a Pet:

The pygmy goat in this country is kept as a pet and not as a utility animal. It is the ideal pet for those who want to keep goats but do not want the bother of milking every day. They are intelligent and respond readily to human company, however they are herd animals and should be kept with at least one other goat for company. They make the ideal family pet, being small, self-exercising and fun to have around. They are very hardy and providing they are kept in the right conditions, they are rarely ill. A well-fenced area with a shelter and something to climb on would make an ideal area for a couple of pygmy goats. 

Care of the Pygmy Goat 

As already mentioned, pygmy goats are hardy animals and providing you look after them properly you should have few problems. Here are some of the tasks as a pygmy goat owner that you will need to carry out on a regular basis.

 Hoof Trimming:

Goats` hooves grow fairly rapidly and will need trimming about every 6 to 8 weeks. It is a relatively easy operation, similar to cutting very thick fingernails, and if done regularly will soon become second nature. Straight garden secateurs are probably the easiest tool to use, but get the person from whom you buy your goats to give you a demonstration.

 Worming:

Regular worming is very important and should be carried out as necessary. Two goats kept in a back garden will probably need worming twice a year, in spring and autumn.

If more goats are kept on a small area then they might need worming more frequently, you just need to be observant. It is a good idea to rotate the type of wormer you use each year so as to ensure good control over the worms.

 Vaccination:

It is recommended that you vaccinate your goats against enterotoxaemia, pulpy kidney and tetanus. Ask your vet for advise on type of vaccine and frequency. Most vets use Lambivac. It is possible to buy Lambivac and vaccinate your goats yourself, it is fairly easy to learn how to do it and very much cheaper than asking a vet.

 Mineral Block:

A mineral block should be hung in the goat yard where they can reach it. They will use it if they need to. Make sure it is suitable for goats.

 

Housing and Feeding

 One of the advantages of keeping pygmy goats is they do not need a lot of space. Two pygmy goats can be kept quite happily in a relatively small area. They will need a shed for sleeping and shelter from the elements; 8` x 6` is quite adequate for two goats. They will also need a `play area` where they can exercise and climb and jump to stop them becoming bored. A secure 4` high fence is very important if you want your goats to stay put. Stock fencing can be used for this and is less expensive than other forms of fencing.

 They should be fed a goat mix twice a day, about two to three ounces a time, in a small bowl. (It is important not to overfeed as this leads to obesity and can cause scouring)You should feed hay ad lib and give clean drinking water each day. They will also enjoy chopped up fruit and vegetables as a treat. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make good lawn mowers, being browsers rather than grazers.

Beware of poisonous plants, the main ones being yew, rhododendron, laburnum and fir trees. For a more comprehensive list please refer to the Pygmy Goat Club publication called Notes.

 

 Obtaining you Stock

 Do not buy on impulse.

It is very easy to get carried away with the cute little male kid that needs a home. You must remember,  that kid will grow and you could end up with a smelly male that hasn`t been castrated, or, as sometimes happens, you find you have bought a cross breed that grows much larger than you expected.

Always buy from a registered breeder, that way you can be sure of what you are buying, and they usually offer a good back up service for advice.

If you want your goats just as pets, then two castrated males or non-breeding females would be the best idea; they make lovely pets and are less expensive than breeding females. 

If you are considering breeding then take time to choose your stock and visit as many breeders as possible. If possible take someone with you who is experienced and can advise you. Make sure the goats you buy are registered otherwise you will not be able to register their offspring. Check carefully for extra teats or mouth faults. All colours are acceptable except pure white or those with Swiss-type markings on the face.

 

The Breed Standard

The pygmy goat is genetically small, cobby and compact. Head, neck and legs are short in relation to body length. The body is full-barrelled and well muscled, circumference in relation to height and weight is proportionally greater than in other breeds. The overall picture is that of an alert, animated goat of pleasing proportions. Males are considered mature at 30 months and females at 24 months.

 

Showing your Goat

There is no big mystery involved in showing your goats, you don`t need to be an experienced goat keeper, or keep more than two wethers in your garden.

All shows are notified in the Pygmy Goat Club quarterly magazine, so you just choose a show, contact the person organising it and fill in an entry form. Apart from filling in two movement licences when you go to the show, paper work is kept to a minimum. It really is very easy and it makes a lovely day out, and who knows you could well go home with a couple of rosettes.

 

Legal Requirements

 The legal requirements for keeping any livestock are constantly changing and you should contact your local DEFRA Office to get the up to date information before buying your goats.

The following legal requirements are permanent and should be adhered to:

 The Pygmy Goat Club

 The Pygmy Goat Club was established in 1982 to protect the interests and improve the status of the pygmy goat in Britain. It is the regulating body and official Breed Association of the pygmy goat. It sets down the Breed Standard and is responsible for the registration of herds and individual goats. In addition to a National Committee, which runs the internal affairs of the club, there are also Regional Advisers throughout the country who are responsible for helping members and non-members who are involved with keeping pygmy goats. We have approximately 450 members.

To join the Pygmy Goat Club, download a membership form from the Pygmy Goat Club Web Site.