Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pygmy Goats: Perfect Pets for Kids


Pygmy Goats: Perfect Pets for Kids
by: 
Imogen Reed

Last time we talked about the general suitability of the pygmy as a pet. Anyone considering taking on a pet, whatever the species has to give due consideration to their suitability to your home and family, in particular those with kids wonder will a pet fit in? What do you want to get from the relationship?; which species is good with kids?

Cats, dogs and hamsters are perhaps a more traditional choice of pet, but they are far from the only pet Americans are choosing and choices are becoming ever far reaching. It goes without saying that committing to an animal is never a decision you can take lightly, as it is a commitment for life for them and you.


Pygmies are perhaps not the obvious choice of pet, but popular they are indeed proving to be. As with any animal though, they certainly are not for everyone. They have specific needs and personalities and a long list of demands of their own.

Where do they live?

The obvious first issue for consideration is where will your pygmy live? They need a reasonable area of outdoor roaming space, as well as some indoor provisions. Since they are not big fans of the rain they do need somewhere to take shelter but also somewhere where they can sleep, like a bench (they actually don’t like to sleep on the ground and prefer to be elevated off it a little). A well ventilated barn or out house might be appropriate. You can make it as homely as you want for them. You also need to make it as secure as you can, as they enjoy the challenge of a fence and are pretty well accustomed escape artists - (remember the Billy Goats Gruff?…. the grass is always greener!).

They should not really be kept as lone pets. Goats are incredibly sociable as a species (remember there were three of them over the troll’s bridge) and so they should be kept as a minimum in a pair, if not in a larger group if possible depending on your available space.

Diet

Castrated males need to eat grass hay, as the alternatives can cause them urinary calculi. They will also graze on grass and blackberry bushes depending on the terrain, and your flowers depending on the levels of supervision you don’t give them! They also love breads and juicy apples as a treat. Pygmies always need fresh water to be available, as they like to drink a lot.

If you have a doe in heavy milk production she will need some type of high-energy feed besides the material she gets from the pasture. This can be found in grains such as corn, oats, barley and milo; all of these are good energy sources for the feeding doe. Goat milk is, of course a delicious way in which to source your own milk if done responsibly and in the confines of the agricultural laws mentioned. It doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes, and it certainly won’t ever feature in chocolate wedding favours, but it does make amazing and tasty cheese. 

There are a few plants that are poisonous to goats of which you need to be aware, azaleas and rhododendrons are a threat and commonplace in many gardens: they need to be removed or the goats kept absolutely away from these.

Are Goats Good with Children?
Pygmy goats tend to be friendly creatures on the whole and love to be petted, which makes them great for kids. Of course they don’t make for the sort of pet which a child has with them 24/7 and they won’t sit on your lap! As a garden pet though they do make great companions for children. They equally enjoy their own company and so are a little less of a burden than some more needy pets. All goats have a distinct and unique little personality all of their own, some may be more aloof or friendly, depending on the goat. They love to play which is why it is good to have them in groups of more than one; they have a good chit chat between themselves and love stimulating environments. To keep them happy make sure they aren’t bored as bored goats get into mischief and misery.

They are a big commitment, which you have to enter into responsibly, but pygmy goats do make great pets in the right environment. Just give them what they need and they will be loyal and entertaining pets for the years to come!


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