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May 02, 2019

How much is that pygmy in the window?


How much is that Pygmy in the window?

1. Notice I said “adding pets". Goats are herd animals. While they enjoy the company of "their" humans they do need the companionship of other animals. I believe it is preferable for the other animal to be another goat, however many people have a dog, cat, donkey, or horse as a companion for their goat.

2. Do you have appropriate housing for the goats? Is there enough room for them to run and play? What toys do you have for play and exercise?

3. Do you have the time to care for, grooming of, and attention to the goats?

4. If you are considering breeding your pet Pygmy, make sure you FULLY understand the ramifications of having an intact buck. An adult buck does not make an ideal pet. Bucks do have an odor and can be less than docile when interested in breeding.

5. If you are not interested in breeding, make sure that you purchase a "wether", ( a castrated buck), or of course doe. Wethers are usually less expensive and make ideal pets!

6. Are you interested in showing your pet in the future? If so, the Pygmy must be registered with the National Pygmy Goat Association. This means that both parents are registered and the kid that you purchase is registered. If not, unregistered kids are available from many breeders. However, just because the Pygmy is not registered this does not mean that it should not meet the breed standards set forth by the NPGA or the American Goat Society.

7. Pygmy goats are naturally horned. Usually, at an early age, they are dis-budded, this means that they will not grow horns. If the goats are to be in a confined area it is advisable that they do not have horns. Horns can become caught in fencing and can cause accidental injury to you and the Pygmy.

8. Do you have correct fencing to protect your goats from loss or injury? What about protection from predators?

Put together a list of breeders that are in your area with goats for sale. Add to the list any breeder that you know and that "may have" a goat for sale.
1. Compose a list of questions and make telephone contact with the breeders.

2. Questions to Ask Breeders

3. Age of the kids that are for sale. Most breeders sell kids no younger than 6 weeks of age. 6-week-old kids will need to have a supplemental bottle feeding if purchased. I do not recommend purchasing kids younger than 6 weeks of age. Usually, kids are purchased, when weaned, between the age of 2-3 months.

4. What is the pedigree of the dam and sire? Do they currently own the dam and sire? Will they provide a written pedigree? The importance of a pedigree varies greatly between pet, breeding stock, or show prospect. In any case, a 2-3 generation pedigree should be available for pets that will not be used for breeding. For breed stock and show prospect animals a more extensive pedigree should be available.

5. Are vaccinations and routine care current? At 6 to 8 weeks of age a kid should have received 1-2 CDT shots and may have one wormer treatment. Twelve-week-old kids may have received 2-3 CDT shots and should have received one wormer treatment. Will they supply a written health record? The number of CDT vaccinations will depend on if the doe was vaccinated during pregnancy. The administration of wormer is dependent on climate and other environmental factors.

6. Do they test for CAE, CL, or Johne’s (Johne’s not found in some parts of the country)? When was the last test? Where there any positive results? Is their herd exposed to Contagious Ecthyma (Score mouth)? If so, are the kids vaccinated, naturally immune, or immune following outbreak?

7. What is the total cost for the purchase of a kid?

8. Are the kids dis-budded?

9. If you are considering a wether: At what age was the procedure done, and what technique was used? If banded or with elastration the procedure is usually done before the kid is two weeks old. The scrotum and all of its contents may take from 3-6 weeks to fall off. If the scrotom has not detached when purchased, the wound should be monitored for infection.

10. How long have they owned/bred Pygmy goats?

11. Do they provide a health warranty?

12. Will they supply a few days of feed to assist in diet transition?

13. Are they a member of the National Pygmy Goat Association? There is a Code of Conduct for breeders that belong to the NPGA.

14. Will they provide references: vet, other breeder, and customers?

15. Are the kids registered or unregistered? If strictly for a non-breeding pet an unregistered Pygmy goat is an economical choice.

16. Are the kids dam or bottle raised? If bottle raised, ask for the reason. Some breeders also sell milk or make products such as soap and cheese. Kids are also pulled from a CAE positive dam to prevent the spread of the disease. A few breeders provide supplemental bottles or bottle feed strictly for "bonding".

17. How tame/friendly are the kids and their dam?

18. If applicable: Have the kids been exposed to children, other livestock, or other pets?

19. If you plan to later breed the doe you are considering: Do, they offer stud service? If so, you can evaluate the kid for potential offspring. Make sure of the relationships in the breeder's herd and select to prevent inbreeding. Closer attention should be then given to breeding structure and the history of the dam and sire.

20. When can you come see the kids and their dam and sire? Breeders should welcome you to tour their facility and meet their goats.
Now, with the basic questions answered, you can move on to the specific questions that will lead to the selection of specific kids.
1. Will the goats be strictly pets, or used for breeding? If you are considering a breeding herd, it is important to have unrelated animals for your foundation herd. Remember if you do purchase a buck… they do have an odor when an adult and that strong fencing is required.

2. If there are several kids to choose from, are there kids that have already established a relationship with one another? Do these kids interact with you or the breeder?

3. Cobby frame: short legged and thickset structure. The goat should be compact and rather "square"

4. Check the condition of the goat. Overweight or under condition are indications of general health.

5. Coat markings are the "trademark" of the Pygmy goat. The ears, eyes, muzzle and forehead must have lighter tones than the rest of the body (solid black is the only exception). Darker markings are required below the knees on the front legs and below the hocks on the back legs (caramel goats may have a light vertical stripe).
6. The topline follows the vertebrae from below the neck through the tail. The topline should slope smoothly and slightly down from the wethers (just behind the neck) into a nearly level chine (along the back). The chine should blend to a slight rise into the rump. The rump should cure smoothly into a high (held erect) tail.

7. Continual use of their knees for support causes the development of callus; the callus should be present in older animals.

8. View the standing posture of the goat from the rear may sure that there is a balanced angle to the rear legs, too straight (posted) or bowed (sickle) are not healthy.

9. All four feet should be well shaped and symmetrical.

10. Hooves should be groomed and in good condition.

Reprinted with permission Animals Exotic and Small Magazine