According to the British Goat Society, pygmy goats are quiet and docile animals that have become increasingly popular in recent years as pets.

The family-run pygmy goat breeding farm Goats of the Shire is in the heart of Northamptonshire and their aim is to be a trusted breeder of fit and healthy kids from their small herd. They were kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the joys of raising these diminutive goats.

 

How did you get into breeding pygmy goats?

It wasn’t really planned! We had spoken about getting goats since moving to the country. So initially we purchased four wonderful little goats - Doris, Eva, Pricilla and Gertrude. 

That’s when it all began and we soon looked into breeding. We met up with some other goat breeders to gain knowledge and experience and spent hours and hours online researching.

Then we decided to “rent” our first Billy - which we then decided just to purchase rather than rent.

How many do you have on the farm?

We currently have 19 - and have 9 Kids due to be born in June.

However, we have just got an additional 2 acres of land… So I know this will soon increase pretty rapidly.

What’s the difference between a pygmy goat and a regular goat?

The biggest difference, and possibly the most obvious, is size.

A standard goat is usually around 70-85cm at the shoulder, whereas pygmy goats are only approx 41-51cm. One of our fully grown Nannies stand at just 30cm tall.

Do pygmy goats make good pets?

One million percent, yes! Don’t get me wrong, they’re a big commitment as they are considered livestock so you need licensing, herd numbers, etc.

But if you are happy to be out with them in all weather conditions, ensuring they have warm shelter, fresh food and water, then I honestly couldn’t recommend a better animal to bring you joy.  

Can you keep just one pygmy goat?

Like a lot of animals, pygmy goats are herd animals, therefore it isn’t recommended to keep a single goat. We always ensure our goats go to their new home at least in pairs (Unless the new owners already have goats). 

How much do pygmy goats cost on average?

It all depends on a lot of factors:

  • Age
  • Breeding
  • Location
  • Gender

But an average is around £300-£500 depending on the above. 

On saying that, a Pygmy Goat in the US sold for $120,000.00!

What problems do pygmy goats have that new owners should be aware of?

Biggest thing is both worms and lice and the best thing is to ensure that they always have clean bedding and try and rotate their grass to make sure they’re not over grazing on land that has been heavily soiled on. 

There are many lice treatments out there and for worming, it’s always best to send off a faecal sample to have them tested and ensure you’re not worming them unnecessary. 

What's the lifespan of a pygmy goat?

The average lifespan of a Pygmy Goat is approximately 12 years. 

Are pygmy goats loud?

Like most animals the simple answer is yes, they can be.

Female goats are usually worse, as they call when they’re in season, and pygmies come into season every 3 weeks for 3 days.

Other than that, apart from when they call you for extra food and treats, they’re generally pretty quiet and content. 

Are they hard to look after?

Not particularly. As long as they have things to keep them entertained and things to climb on.

With good shelter (water and draft proof) and fresh water and food, they’re reasonably easy to care for and the enjoyment you get back more than outweighs it.

 

Verm-X Original Pellets for Sheep & Goats

A monthly supplement to restore and maintain gut vitality made from 100% natural active ingredients, Verm-X Original can be fed all year round.

Designed to be added as a top dressing to regular food on a monthly basis, a 1.5kg tub would provide a 5 month's supply four goats.

Although pygmy goats are small, this product is very safe, gentle and palatable.

 

Can you keep pygmy goats with other animals?

Yes, pygmy goats can be kept with other animals. Always research about how to ensure they cannot get to any animals feed that isn’t good for them and always keep in mind, pygmy goats have horns (unless they’re disbudded) and they do use these to their advantage. So always ensure, if they are with other animals, that this won’t become an issue.  

Do you have to milk pygmy goats?

Pygmy goats don’t need milking and they don’t produce any milk unless they are bred. They were actually traditionally brought to our country as a small goat that doesn’t need to much space, and can be raised for meat. Obviously we don’t use them for this purpose, I mean, how could you? They’re too damn cute!  

Can you keep a pygmy goat in your garden?

Providing that you have adequate space and you get a CPH number (County Parish Holding Number), then yes, you can keep them in a garden.

How tall does your fencing need to be?

How long is a piece of string!? We usually recommend the taller the better, goats are VERY good jumpers, so go as big as you can, but as a minimum we would say least 4ft, and make sure there isn’t anything next to the fence that the goats can use as a “leg up” to get over.

Here at Goats of the Shire, we actually have 1m fencing, but we use Poly Wire electric fencing.  

Finally, what’s the best thing about pygmy goats?

What can we say? What’s better than adorable little bundles of joy, who love affection, playing and just generally being crazy and fun! 

 

Thanks so much to Goats of the Shire for sharing their advice on raising pygmy goats. You can follow their adventures and learn more about these sweet animals on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

May 31, 2023 — Verm-X