Pet Pygmy questions

Discussion in 'Goats' started by PygmyPal, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. PygmyPal

    PygmyPal New Member

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    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Arkansas
    OK. Please don't shoot me. I researched getting a pygmy goat as a pet for about a year. I am doing OK, but I want to be a better owner. My goat was born in March 2004 and I have had him since he was a week old. He was gelded at 2 weeks old. He is only a family pet (along with my three dogs). His only duty for us is as a companion. My skills as an owner are lacking in the hoof and horn care area. His hooves and horns are not bad right now, but I don't want them to get that way.

    He is housetrained enough (combined with our knowing his bowel/bladder habits) that he comes in the house each day and stays in at night if the weather is too bad (I am such a softie). He has a dog house outside with a door and infrared light as well, for heat.

    If anyone would be so kind I would appreciate advice on feed as well. Right now, we use a goat feed from the local farmers association (19% protein) 50% and 50% sweet feed. I purchased a bowl set from Wal-Mart for dogs. It has a stainless bowl insert on one side and uses a 2-litre bottle to provide fresh water on the other. I give him one fresh bowl of food each day (he doesn't always finish, but I understood goats to have need for fresh clean food each day, so that is what I do) and I refresh the water no less than every two days.

    He recently survived a bout of encephalitis. The vet could not believe he survived, as he was so sick, but we gave it a try and I guess beat the odds. He isn't head butting everybody's shins any more, but other than that and a slight decrease in confidence with jumping on furniture, he seems to be mostly back to normal. He isn't off the steroids and antibiotics yet, but, hopefully, by the end of the week, that will be complete as well.

    Anyhow, I was looking for any advice, since I would much rather be proactive than reactive. I have worked in animal rescue (dogs) and do not typically condone people getting a pet if they are completely ignorant about care, but I also don't think you will know everything you need to know until after you get the pet and have them for a while. I am just looking to expand my knowledge base to be a better owner.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give...

    Julie G.
     
  2. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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    Dec 4, 2002
    Well Julie I personally think 19% protien is way to much for a wether. 12-15% is normal for wethers and bucks. my wethers, bucks and dry does get nothing but grass hay, alfalfa pellets and very very little grain which I mix myself. they get black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) daily for treats. Bucks and wethers need an additive against uninary cal which I can't remember the name of it. Pleanty of fresh water which I add ACV or apple cider vinegar this aids in the UC problems is full of minerals and also keeps algae down in the water if outside in the sun. Then also need free choice Baking Soda (BS) and loose GOAT MINERALS not sheep goat. a dairy cow mineral will work also.
    as for triming feet I think www.fiascofarm.com has a good article on this.
    www.kinne.net is a pygmy website that you will find very good.
     

  3. PygmyPal

    PygmyPal New Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I have been looking at some of the resource you gave me, I haven't had enough time to ingest it all, but I did want to cover a couple things that stood out.

    1. I have a wether. When I talked to the people at the zoo (in particular, the lady who runs the petting zoo) which I thought was logical since they are accredited and take good care of their animals. They recommended a gelded male, because their personalities were much better than that of the females around people.

    2. I only have one goat, but he plays with the dogs and comes in the house in the evenings and on the weekends, as he is a companion animal.

    3. He has horns that are about 2 1/2 inches long. No body told me about the horn thing until it was too late, and though he is playful, we established (as we do with our dogs) who is boss and what types of behavior are and are not acceptable. He is playful, and though I can see him poking someone with a horn accidentally, we figured out pretty quickly that we needed to set boundaries and seem to have (thusfar) been pretty fortunate in his ability to learn.

    We are consistent and disciplined enough owners to own a Border Collie, but don't figure we are disciplined enough to own something like a Weimaraner, if that makes any sense. We also own a golden retreiver, but lets get serious, they only live to please you, discipline with this dog is a joke. Our golden is a perfect dog.

    The question is this: Did I get the wrong gendered goat, make him lonely and dangerous with his horns? I surely hope not. If so, though, please advise.
     
  4. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    SE Indiana
    As someone that has raised Pygmy goats 10+ years, here's my 2 cents.

    He needs no grain at all. The only goat that really needs grain in my opinion is a lactating or very pregnant doe. A wether really doesn't or you will have problems with urinary calculi. Give him access to a good grass hay, loose minerals, clean water, & baking soda. That is all he needs. I would cut the grain completely & if you are determined to give him some, no more than 1/2-1 cup a day & make sure it has amonium chloride added to it. Or you can by the AC & sprinkle it on top of the grain. A wether does nothing to burn calories & the grain will just make him fat.
    Wethers are good pets, but if your goat is strictly a pet, he should have had his horns removed. No matter how much you think you have them trained, they will learn to use those horns. I just took a Pygmy buck in to have his horns removed. I got him from some people that really meant well, but didn't have a clue. He was very friendly & played with as a kid. They thought it was fun to push on his head & have him rear up at them. Well, at going on 3, he would try to take his horns & hook your legs. It becomes a dominance thing. You may be boss now, but he is a baby & some day he will try to be top guy on the totem pole. You will be surprised at how big those horns will actually get.
    Not sure where you are located, but having him go in & out all the time is not good for him. If it is cold out & he is in the warm house & then goes back out, he could become sick. Goats are livestock & really should be kept outside with another goat. The heat lamp isn't necessary either. He will never grow the correct coat for the season if he is in & out of heated areas. If left outside normally & left to grow a winter coat, they can withstand 0* & even below without any heat.
     
  5. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    I think you got the right gender for a pet and depending on your location would be a determing factor as to whether he will be able to withstand temperature changes. If you want to keep him as you are then need to see about having a vet remove his horns as the way pygmy's horns are they can become very very dangerous. I did the same thing with a pygmy wether I had and finally got rid of him after he was abt 2 as he used his horns in a mean manner even tho he was a very very friendly pet. You could never trust him around human kids or the other goats because he would use his horns. Now yours maybe totally different but I have found that I had two one a nigerian dwarf the other a pygmy both the same age, both with horns, both pets and the pygmy by far more aggressive. I can't say this was a pygmy thing or whether it was a personality thing. The nigerian I still have with very long horns but he doesn't use them in a mean way and they are shaped different than a pygmy's horns.
    in otherwords the ningi's slat way back but the pygmy's went more straight up and then curled some what so he could duck his head and come up actually using his horns as weapons. Know I did not explain that too good. maybe if you go look at some different pictures of them you'll see the difference.
    You also can band the horns to have them come off but the success rate is not the best. either way if you decide to remove them do it now so that you don't have the flys to contend with. Chances of infection is tremendous.
    Under stand that the horn is an open canal to the sinus cavity, that is why so many of us chose to remove them within a few days of birth.