Pygmy Goats – Milk and Pets
This relatively unusual yet still popular breed of goat is noticeably diminutive in size when compared to other breeds. This has led it to Pygmy and Miniature Goats to be a prized breed for owners who wish to keep a goat as a pet. Though they still remain popular as livestock for both their work value and dairy production. The Pygmy, like most goats, is a very hardy breed which makes it adaptable to and helpful in all types of agricultural or farmland environments.
Types of Miniature Goats
Believe it or not, there are actually two types of miniature goats – Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Additionally, while they have many similarities, there are some differences between the two.
To start with, both goats are small in size and exhibit very similar personalities when raising them. For this reason, both are popular and excellent choices as a goat breed for pets. Because of this, keeping both is legal in most US cities and they have the added benefit of keeping your lawn trimmed and free of weeds and overgrowth.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two breeds is that Nigerian Dwarf Goats are raised for milk and Pygmy goats raised for meat. Because of this, Pygmy goats make the most popular option for pets.
Raising Pygmy Goats
One important thing to understand about miniature goats is that while their size may be small – their personalities are anything but. This often is a plus for many owners when they choose one as a pet, but it can also present unique challenges. For example, young male goats battle often and are fairly aggressive. This isn’t a huge deal for the goat itself as it’s so hardy it’ll rarely hurt itself – but it can be an issue for other pets and plants you own. On the flip side, if there are predators or other animals you want to keep away, a Pygmy goat may be just the thing needed in lieu of a guard dog.
Also, miniature billy goats are very hard on young trees. Pygmies sharpen their horns on the trunk and peel off the bark. For this reason, most breeders recommend neutering males intended to be kept as a pet. Keeping a miniature occupied is as easy as buying a child-sized trampoline or simply stacking a large pile of rocks. Additionally, they enjoy play with humans the way other family pets do.
Young miniatures, or kids, can be weaned off of milk and onto grass, weeds, and alfalfa after around 8 weeks.