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General Care

 

Pygmy Goats should never be kept singly.

Feeding

The diet I give them is:-

Twice a day (morning and evening) - non-molassed Dry Goat Mix (about 2 oz night and morning)  We use either Bearts dry goat mix or Alan and Page Pygmy Goat Mix .

Good quality, coarse hay available at all times. Grass pasture whenever possible.

Occasional treats such as carrots, willow (they like to chew the bark as well as eating the leaves), the soft growing tips of Hawthorn, and vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower leaves and a little bread.

Fresh water daily, they like warm water in the winter. Watch horse troughs as they can jump thinking they are jumping on a platform and fall in and they can튴hen get out. (A friend of mine had one of their Pygmy Goats drown doing this).

They should be given the same quantities of food all year round although they will eat more hay in the winter as the grass stops growing and on rainy days when they can৥t out to graze.

When introducing new foods, do it gradually to avoid them scouring (diarrhoea).

Goats are inclined to be greedy, but it is not true that they can eat anything. If allowed to eat inappropriate things such as plastic bags, and paper they will quickly become unwell and fail to thrive.

Their feed store should always be kept locked closed. If they manage to get to it they will gorge themselves on their concentrate which swells in the rumen to such an extent that it can cause death.

There are also a number of plants that if eaten will at the best make them ill and at worst kill them.

Below is a list of the more common ones that should be avoided. Further details are available from goat keeping books and the Internet. The golden rule is if you are unable to identify a plant do not offer it to your goats.

Yew, Rhododendron and Laburnum should be avoided at all costs, also Ragwort, Dog Mercury, Water Dropwort, all Nightshades, Hemlock, Cuckoo Pint, Foxgloves, Ground Elder, Hellebores, Meadow Saffron, Narcissi and other bulbs, Rhubarb, green potatoes and tops, tomato foliage, Privet, Clematis, most evergreens, Spindle tree, Daphne, Bracken, Ivy berries (but not leaves) and most indoor plants.

Grass cuttings should not be fed as they can heat up and ferment in their rumen.

Plants and grass that have been sprayed or treated with chemicals should be avoided

A salt lick and mineral lick should be available. We use Red Baby Rockies.

 

The Nature of Goats

Goats are friendly, playful (particularly when young), and love to have structures to climb on.

The best way to gain the confidence of new goats is to sit quietly and spend time with them giving them little treats such as broken bits of cream crackers (our goats' favourite treat). That will mean that when you want to catch them you can be confident that they will come up to you when called and tempted with food.

Goats run away when they are frightened and think afterwards, so try to move quietly when with them.

They hate rain, and repeated soakings will make them unwell so accessible shelter is essential all the time.

 

General Care

They are hardy animals but will need a draught free shelter with a straw bed to sleep on in the winter. They like to sleep on platforms rather than on the floor and wooden pallets are ideal.  On the coldest winter nights they should be shut in to protect them from severe frost and cold winds but on milder winter nights I leave their door open a little so they can go outside if they choose. By day I give them the same option of going out or staying in except on really wet, cold or windy days, when I keep them in.  I give them access to the outside whenever I can as I think the fresh air is healthier for them.

Their bedding needs to be kept as dry as possible and so removal of the wet, soiled straw needs to be done regularly.

Hoof trimming ﳰan> This should be done every 4 to 6 weeks. You will need either a pair of hoof trimming shears (sold for sheep) or a good pair of sharp garden pruners.

If you find you have trimmed too much and make them bleed (rare) or they get any other knocks that open a wound, a spray of iodine helps prevent infection.

Hoof oil ﳰan> To rub on their horns. We do ours when we trim their hooves.

Lice ﳰan> If they get itchy and twitchy and are scratching a lot it is likely they will have lice. We use Coopers spot-on, a liquid preparation run down the spine. An alternative is lice powder that one can buy from the same place as one buys their food. Dust it all over their bodies and work it in. ﴠspotsᲥ at the base of their tail, shoulders and around the base of their ears.

Worming ﳰan> About twice a year (Spring and Autumn), but your vet will advise you depending on the type you use. It is important to change type annually to avoid worm resistance. We administer Panacur (2.5%, 1.5 ml per 5 kg body weight) alternating with Oramec.

Brushing ﳰan> They like to be brushed but care must be taken in the winter not to brush out their thick fluffy undercoat which is what keeps them warm. They moult their undercoat in the summer months.

Discipline ﳰan> Although playful, particularly when young, donబay butting games with them as they then think this is the normal way to behave with people and this can lead to injury as they get stronger. If they are naughty, never smack them or they will become frightened of you. A sharp word is all that is needed.

There are few books about Pygmy Goats but two I have found helpful are:

 

Useful Books

                Pygmy Goats 䨯mpson

              Goat Health and Welfare - David Harwood

 

 

 

 

 Chris & Penny Renn, 134 Northorpe Road, Donington, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 4XX, 01775 822781  pygmygoatsuk@yahoo.co.uk  www.renn.co.uk

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