Pygmy goats are miniatures, genetically dwarfed; they are kept mainly for enjoyment, interest and companionship.
The Pygmy Goat Club has set breed standards regarding size and type, and organises show classes for Pygmy goats. It has its own registration and pedigree system aimed at improvement by selective breeding. Basically the adult Pygmy has a maximum height at the withers of approximately 56 cm for males, less for females, short legs and cobby bodies that give an impression of perpetual pregnancy. They can be any colour except completely white, with white Swiss markings on the face not allowed.
They are generally quiet and docile, but there is some variation, as one would expect with goats.
Housing requirements are less demanding than for the dairy breeds, since the goats are so much smaller. Kids are reared on the dams, so milking is only rarely necessary. Castrated males (wethers) make ideal pets, but entire males should not be kept unless separate accommodation can be provided for them. The goats like company, so keeping single Pygmies should be avoided.
Pygmies need a high proportion of dietary fibre on a daily basis (80% by weight of the diet is a guide), hay being the main feature; they also need small amounts of low protein goat mix twice a day. They graze and browse well, but tethering Pygmies should be avoided.
The Pygmy Goat Club publishes an excellent booklet “Pygmy Goats” that describes in detail all aspects of housing, feeding, breeding and general welfare of these goats. It is recommended that this booklet is purchased and read before deciding to go ahead with keeping Pygmies. The P.G.C. has a website: http://www.pygmygoatclub.org where further details can be obtained about the Club. There is also a network of P.G.C. Regional Advisers.
The Secretary of the Pygmy Goat Club is:
Mrs Wendy Kinsey