Pygmy, Nigerian, and Pygora goats can live for 8 to 15 years on average, and if you take care of them really well, they can sometimes live up to 16 years or more! They are definitely a long-term commitment, so make sure that you're ready to take on a Mini Goat before getting one. Goats need a friend , or few, to play with and must be never be alone.
1-SHELTER AND FENCING. Your goats will need a shelter to protect them against the weather. You can purchase or you could build a small shelter, like a large dog house, for your goat. Building one off the ground with a ramp for them to climb up would be ideal.( See pictures on the Goat shelter page) Put a generous bedding of straw down for them to lay on and keep warm in. You will need a big backyard so that your goat has enough room to run around in and play, climb, and jump on things like stumps, wooden ramps, dirt hills. Goats can't be bored. Your backyard should also have plenty of grass for it to nibble on. Make sure that you have a fence surrounding your Pygmy's shelter to protect it. Be sure to use the right type of fencing for them. 48" cattle wire or horse fencing, or 48’ x 16’ cattle panels (available at Tractor Supply) are a good choice of fencing, because it will last longer than most cheap ones, and will keep your goat in. 2-FEEDAND HAY - Goats need a fortified goat pellet commercial concentrated pellet feed, hay, grass, white salt block, fresh clean water and hay pellets. FEED: Each pygmy goat should have approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of a commercial goat pellet concentrated feed, 2 times daily. Follow the suggested commercial feed amounts carefully. Feed only small manufacturer's recommended amounts of concentrated feeds such as Blue SEAL Premium Dairy Goat pellets, Purina Goat chow, or any Goat concentrated feed. It is difficult for a young baby goat to digest solid food, especially before 10 weeks old, because the rumen (digestive system) is not functional until they are 10 weeks old. Adding too much sweet feed or concentrated feed such as goat pellets or goat chow can throw a baby goat into digestive upset. Follow the suggested commercial feed amounts carefully. I give a commercial ( non medicated) pellets for the first 9 months, then mix the feed 1/2 and 1/2 with horse whole oats. If possible, Wethers should be given goat food pellets made for wethers with Ammonium Chloride added, to help prevent UC/Urinary Calculi. Wethers should never get too much fortified feed or alfalfa as it can produce urinary stones. Don't feed them sweet feed! Pellets only. SALT: Provide them with a white salt block to lick on as needed. Doing so will ensure that your Pygmy goat gets plenty of this very needed mineral to improve its health and lifespan. BAKING SODA: You can also put out a dish of baking soda for them in their shelter for them to have as needed for stomach upsets as needed also. Over eating the concentrated feeds can cause an upset. HAY: Have fresh green hay available at all times. An alfalfa mix for does or mix with a soft Orchard grass or a orchard /timothy grass hay . Wethers should just get green grass hay, the alfalfa hay can be too rich. The hay should always be green in color and not dusty or moldy. If it is not green it will not have very much nutritional value. Place the hay in a hay trough, hay bag or hay rack for kids to nibble on and to begin to develop the rumen . They will nibble it and chew on hay from birth, but under 10 weeks will not really digest it since the rumen is not a developed part of the stomach until they are 10 weeks old. It will not be fully developed until they are 6 months old. The enzymes in the hay will help develop the rumen and the hay will give them something to do as well. You will see dam raised kids nibbling while they watch their moms eat hay. Kids will also nibble on dirt, this is normal and it provides them with natural immune building bacteria. TREATS: Feed hay pellets as a treat. Hand feeding will help them to bond with you and become a very affectionate pet. (Available at Tractor Supply and most farm horse feed stores). Mine also like whole wheat Cheerios cereal! BOTTLE FEEDING: When you get your kids right off the mom, you can try to feed them milk in a baby bottle to help your bonding. Use whole cows milk only. Do not feed powdered kid milk replacements.
3-MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH. Speak with your local vet to make sure your Pygmy goat has the recommended shots to protect it from diseases in your area. Pygmy goats may need vaccinations that cover Rabies, Enterotoxemia, CDT, and Tetanus annually in your area.They should be de wormed as needed several times a year by vaccination by a vet or with a commercial oral pelleted deworming feed supplement .
4-HOOF CARE-If kept in a smaller pen they may need to have their hoofs trimmed every 2 to 4 months or as needed. Youtube has videos available on how to trim your goats feet.
5-PLAYMATES- Goats are very social animals and need to have a partner for a playmate. Make sure you have a minimum of two or more goats for them to be happy.
6-PROTECT YOUR GOATS FROM POISONOUS PLANTS Goats will eat almost anything, but you must guard against your goats eating poisonous plants. Goats ignore poisonous plants most of the time, but because of their need to browse, they may try them just for variety. Whether a goat that eats a poisonous plant shows signs of poisoning depends on how much of the plant it eats, what part of the plant it eats, the condition of the plant (fresh or dried), the time of year, and the size and health of the goat. Some of the common poisonous plants that might grow in your pasture or backyard includE Weeds: ◦Bracken fern ◦Buttercup ◦Common milkweed ◦Foxglove ◦Lantana ◦Locoweed ◦Poke weed ◦Spurge ◦St. John's Wort ◦Water hemlock and poison hemlock •Trees ◦Cyanide-producing trees such as cherry, chokecherry, elderberry, and plum (especially the wilted leaves from these trees) ◦Ponderosa pine ◦ Japanese Yew bush: A very common house shrub and deadly! •Cultivated plants ◦Azalea ◦Kale ◦Lily of the valley ◦Oleander ◦Poppy ◦Potato ◦Rhododendron ◦Rhubarb Many house landscaping plants and shrubs are poisonous, and a few are so deadly that even a few leaves can make your goat extremely sick. Before you bring your goats home, check your yard for poisonous plants. If you find any of these plants, either remove them or make sure that your fencing will keep your goats away. If the poison plant is a tree, make sure that the leaves won't fall into the pen in the autumn by removing the tree or situating the pen far from the tree. Dried leaves can be the most deadly part of the tree. Talk to your neighbors about poisonous plants and ask them not to throw their garden trimmings into the yard as a treat for your goats without asking first.