We asked, and you answered. Here’s what pygmy goat-keepers wrote in to tell us about their love for the breed!
Small but Mighty
“Pygmies are the smallest breed of goat in the world. Even though they are small, they are useful livestock in many settings. They can be ideal for a small suburban or rural homestead.
“They don’t require much space [and] efficiently turn forage and hay. They are easy to handle and rarely aggressive. Even the bucks are sweet natured.
“Quality is the key word, rather than quantity. But for their size, pygmies can produce quite a lot. Pygmy milk is amazing. It’s very rich, high solids, very sweet and stays fresh, if handled properly, for weeks.“
Smaller Minimizes Problems
“The Pygmy goat’s smaller size enables keeping it with other animals with minimal problems, injuries or destruction of property. They can be kept in pens with adequate shelter—in large, fenced-in areas with access to a barn; or a combination of the two, without excessive cost—because of their hardiness and ability to withstand cold and heat. Like every other goat breed, they don’t like the rain.”
PJ LaRue Smith
RoseOak’s Playful Pygmies
Great for Beginners
“I love pygmy goats because they are cute and fun. They all have such unique personalities. Pygmy goats are small and compact and don’t take up a lot of space, like other livestock, making them perfect for small acreages or backyards if you are only going to have a couple. Pygmies make sense on a hobby farm because they have many uses other than being adorable.
“Products such as cheese and soap can be made from their milk, weed control, though pygmies tend to be more of a browser than a grazer, and some are used for meat.
“Pygmies are great for beginners. I recommend a mentor or breeder to assist with the ins and outs of goat ownership, especially breeding — someone to help you learn care, general maintenance, housing and feeding. Joining a 4-H club is a great place for children to get started.”
High Caliber Pygmy Goats
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Hooked on Pygmies
“Pygmy goats are good-natured, intelligent and very people-oriented. I’m a third-generation dairy cattle breeder, and my daughter got two pygmies for a 4-H project. I was hooked after that.
“I have bred and shown pygmy goats for 20 years and have been a 4-H pygmy goat leader, helping youth and new owners learn to love them as well. Their manure doesn’t attract flies unless it sits in water.
“Most kids can be raised on their dams. Once basic health and care is learned, they’re good for beginners. Breeding is not for beginners, though. Kidding dwarfs needs training to handle some assisted birth needs.”
Valle Verde Pygmies
Tell Us Why You Love Your Breed
Do you have a favorite breed of livestock that you think is the best? Tell us about it. Are Tamworths the best pig to keep? Are Jerseys your pick for a hobby farm cow. Or are Orpingtons the chillest farm chicken?
Email us your thoughts (~250 words) and a photo of you and your livestock to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: I Love My Livestock!). We’ll publish our favorites in upcoming issues.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.