HOUSING & CARE
            BASIC CARE FOR A PYGMY GOAT

HOUSING

Goats do not like to get wet, they hate the rain & snow.
Their hair coats do not repel water the same as a horse or
cow.  This makes it important to offer your goat some sort
of enclosure that will shelter them from wet weather and
wind. They can handle the cold just fine as long as they
can stay dry.  Any three sided structure with a roof on it
will work just fine. I use structures that look like large dog
houses. Goats love to play and enjoy anything they can
climb on and jump of off. For this reason either build your
structure safe to climb on or tall enough your goat can not
get up on it at all. Providing some sort of fenced enclosure
is a must. They need a safe area to play and exercise.
Fencing should be at least 4' high (the taller the better).  
This will keep your goat in and predators out. I never tether
my goats out to eat!!! I think it is just plain cruel and a
disaster waiting to happen.  A goat tied to a fence or stake
cannot defend its self from danger-such as a dog- and it
certainly cannot untangle its self if it get tangled.   
FEEDING

Pygmy Goats DO NOT make good weed eaters or ditch bank goats. They are simply too small
and rarely do I see mine eating weeds. Goats in general will not eat soiled feed or drink dirty
water so fresh, clean water is a must. In winter months they will appreciate heated water
buckets.  Keeping them hydrated is key in helping them not get sick.  Ample water consumption
will also help with the prevention of urinary calculi (stones) in wethers and bucks.

Feed a good amount of high quality clean hay. Grass, alfalfa or mix doesn't really matter as
long as it is clean, free of mold and fox tail. Goats can not tolerate either and will become sick.  
Use some sort of hay manger to keep the hay off the ground and from becoming trampled and
soiled.  This will minimize wasted hay and help reduce the ingestion of parasite. Do not put hay
in a bucket. They will just soil it and use it as a bed.  Hay can be replaced with pasture grass
during the months it is available.

Unless breeding or showing, grain or COB (corn oats & barley) makes a good treat but is not
necessary in a goats diet. It is easy to over feed grain, especially for wethers since they easily
gain weight.  1/4 to 1/2 C daily is plenty. Try to find a feed that contains ammonium chloride.  
This is especially important for wethers as they are prone to urinary calculi. Both Purina and
Nutrena make a pelleted feed that contains the ammonium chloride or it can be purchased from
Jeffers Supply in a powder form to top dress feed or add to water.

Salt and trace minerals are a very important part of a goat's diet and should be available free
choice year round.  It is especially important for bucks and wethers to ensure they are drinking
plenty of water to help prevent urinary calculi.  Both Purina and Sweetlix make a mineral just
for goats and can be purchased at most feed stores.


HEALTH

A regular vaccination and worming schedule is a very important part to keeping a goat healthy.
They should be vaccinated annually and wormed quarterly.
ALWAYS Check with your vet first to set up a program that is best for you and your animal.

HOOF CARE

Goat hooves grow rapidly so they should be trimmed as often as needed to prevent them from
becoming cracked, bent or infected. (see the
NPGA website for illustrated instructions)

A frequent good grooming and delousing is necessary to help control lice and other external
parasites  A livestock dust or liquid pour on for cattle works well. A medicated shampoo or lice
and tick powder for horses, cats and dogs can also be used.  Baths should be given only in
warm weather.  All of these products can be found at a feed store or a pet store.

FYI
Goat lice are goat specific, therefor it will not transfer to any other family pet or family member.

The biggest mistake people make with their goats is playing the butting game.  Although it is a
fun and cute game when they are small, as they get older they will become more aggressive
and hard to handle.  To avoid this, never grab at their head or horns.  They will continue to butt
and play with the other goats but will know that it is not something they can play with their
owners.

We choose to dehorn or disbud all of our babies.  We feel it makes them less aggressive and
better pets especially around small children.  A goat with horns is also very hard on your
fencing.  Not only do they love to rub them on it but once they have put their heads through
they can not get back out.  Most times they have to be cut out.

Goats are a herd animal, therefore they are very social and prefer not to be alone. Goats are
much more secure and do better in pairs. If you choose to only have one, please be sure to
spend as much time with him as possible.

RECOMMENDED READING

Pygmy Goat Basic Owners Manual
Pygmy Goat Management and Veterinary Care
Best Of Memo I II and III

All can be purchased from the
NPGA Website


         The information given is what has worked for me and my farm.  It may not necessarily work   
                           for everyone and is only the most very basic care your goat may need.