IMG_2865Pygmy goats are popular pets because of their small size, great character, friendly and spunky personality. They are easy to care for and usually very healthy and hardy. However, before you run out and buy a goat, you should be ready to care for it and I would suggest lots of reading.One of the most important ways to care for a goat is to have adequate fencing. Pygmy goats are no exception. There are many types of fencing, but any fence for a Pygmy should be at least four feet high. If your goat does not have horns, you can use stock fencing. Horned goats can get their heads stuck in the small mesh at the bottom of the fence, so you would have to line stock fencing with welded wire to keep them safe. When you put up your gate, be sure your latch is goat proof.Pygmy goats need shelter from the weather and temperature extremes. The shelter does not have to be elaborate, but it needs to protect them from drafts and rain. Ideally, there should be a four foot by four foot space for each goat. Make sure there is an overhang on the shelter’s roof. This provides added protection against driving rain. Goats also enjoy hanging out beneath the overhang on hot days. We use our goats as weather forecasters – first spot of rain and they run back to their house and during the heavy snow they hardly came out at all!Goats need to be de-wormed regularly to prevent them from being infested with the parasites living in the pasture. You should consult your vet for the proper dosage for a pygmy goat as often it will officially be for sheep. Your goat will also need to have his/her hooves trimmed unless you are luckly enough to have a lot of hard standing. It looked pretty scary when I saw it done for the first time but after a few goes you can learn the most relaxing tecnique for your individual goats. I will show you how this is done if you would like a quick lesson, I found it gets easier as they grow up, the tiny hoofs are the more difficult, saying that they are easier to lift up when they are little!.

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

They should be fed a goat mix twice a day, about two to three ounces a time, in a small bowl. Overfeed can lead to obesity and can cause scouring. Hay should be given ad lib and clean drinking water each day and I give warm water when the weather is especially cold and they really like it. Its said they will also enjoy chopped up fruit and vegetables, but for some reason mine don’t seem very interested, prefering the bottom of a coat or jacket to suck on! They do not make good lawn mowers, being browsers rather than grazers, in our acre paddock they don’t make any difference to the grass growing.

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, and the following should be adhered to:

Before you can bring any livestock on to your land, even if they are only pets, you must have a holding number for your property. This is easily obtained by contacting your local DEFRA Office, there is no charge.

Any goat purchased must be properly identified with an ear tag showing the herd number and an individual number. Kids born after 4/1/08 must have an ear tag in each ear. This is the responsibility of the breeder but as the buyer you must make sure it has been done. It is illegal to move a goat that is not earmarked.

A Movement Licence is required before you can transport a goat, this is very simple. A book of blank Movement Licences is obtained from your local Trading Standards Office and whenever you move a goat or goats you complete a form and send the top copy to the Trading Standards Office once your journey is completed. When purchasing a goat it is the responsibility of the breeder to complete the licence and give it to you to take with you.

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