Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pygmy Goats Make Excellent and Unique Pets

If you want to bring fun, affectionate, unique pets into your home, look no further than African pygmy goats! Pygmy goats make excellent pets because, among many other wonderful things, they are intelligent, playful, and easy to take care of. However, before purchasing pygmy goats, it is important to learn about these unique animals to ensure they will fit well into your lifestyle before bringing them home.

The following article will provide an overview of African pygmy goats and how to care for them, and once you decide to open your home and heart to them, contact the breeders of Amber Waves to purchase pygmy goats and get any questions answered.

The rich history of African pygmy goats
As their name suggests, African pygmy goats originated in Africa – in the Cameroon Valley of West Africa to be exact. Pygmy goats were first brought out of Africa as additions to European zoos, and from Europe, pygmy goats made their way into the United States in the 1950s. While they were only found in zoos and research facilities in the United States at first, they quickly became popular pets because of their unique, friendly personalities and hardy construction.
Today, pygmy goats can be found as pets in urban, suburban, and rural areas across the United States as they can acclimate to nearly any climate. These unique creatures tend to live between 10 and 15 years.

Part of the fun of pygmy goats is the variety of colors and patterns found in breed. While there are only three basic colors (black, medium brown, and dark brown) that form the color base for the breed, pygmy goats are rarely solid in color; therefore, many color patterns are possible. For example, the agouti and caramel patterns can be superimposed over variations of the three basic colors.
The nine color patterns that cover the vast majority of pygmy goats are: black, black/grey agouti, black trim caramel, medium brown, medium brown agouti, medium brown trim caramel, dark brown, dark brown agouti, and dark brown trim caramel. White spotting may or may not be present on any of these color patterns, and white frosting is often present on the ears and muzzles. All colors besides solid medium brown and dark brown are accepted by the National Pygmy Goat Association as conforming to the breed standard.

The differences between bucks, does and wethers
Pygmy goats can be purchased as does (females), bucks (males), or wethers (castrated males). Full grown does and wethers range in height from 16 to 23 inches and usually weigh between 40 and 70 pounds; bucks range in height from 19 to 25 inches and usually weight between 60 and 85 pounds. While bucks, does, and wethers can all make excellent pets, there are certain considerations that must be made when deciding which to purchase. Does and bucks should be kept separate unless mating, so you will need double the housing and fenced in roaming areas if you choose raise both males and females. Also, as pygmy goats are herd animals, you should consider purchasing at least two goats that can live and play together. Wethers may be kept with either does or bucks, and they are generally the least expensive of the bunch to raise.

Costs of raising pygmy goats
One reason pygmy goats make such wonderful pets is they are quite inexpensive to keep; however, it is important to realize that costs are quite variable depending on the housing and fencing you choose, the feed you provide your goats, the number of goats you have, and incidentals.
Housing and fencing can be very basic, and thus, can be created or purchased for a small amount of money. More elaborate, expensive options are also available. Feed, which typically is grains, is also inexpensive; hay is also necessary to provide your goat with, and fortunately, it can also be procured for little money. Vaccinations, de-worming, medications, and veterinarian visits are also necessary from time to time, and these costs vary considerably. It is advisable to contact a local veterinarian before purchasing pygmy goats to get a good understanding of how much it will cost should you need their services.

Pygmy goats are considered livestock so you should check with your city or county before bringing any into your home. That being said, pygmy goats don’t require a large amount of space and are found in rural, suburban, and urban areas across the United States. Therefore, it is quite possible that you will be able to raise pygmy goats at your home; even if your city’s current policies are unfavorable to raising pygmy goats, there is no harm in asking them to make allowances so you can bring pygmy goats into your home!

Pygmy goats are easy to feed; once you know what to feed them, the most important thing to remember is that pygmy goats need a clean feeding area and will forgo eating if their food is soiled. Food should be elevated off the ground, but not so high as to prevent the shortest goat from eating. In addition to the foraging that your pygmy goats will be engaging in during play times in their fenced in area, goats require grains such as oats, goat ration, sweet feed, and corn. Each goat should be fed ¼ cup of grains twice daily. A mineral/salt block should also be available to pygmy goats to ensure they are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals. Also, clean water must always be available to your pygmy goats.

Housing & Fencing
Pygmy goat housing can be extremely simple; in its most basic form, it can be a three-sided shed or modified dog house, assuming it is large enough. Of course, you can purchase or build more elaborate barns or housing for your goats. Important considerations are: the housing must be secure enough to keep the goats in and predators out, the roofing must be leak-proof, and the housing should be more or less insulated depending on the climate you live in. Allow for approximately 15 to 20 square feet per goat; pygmies tend to prefer sleeping off the ground, which should be taken into consideration while creating housing. Finally, be sure to bed down the housing with fresh grass, straw, or hay, always give pygmies access to clean water, and keep their living quarters as clean as possible.
Ideally, you should set up a fenced in area next to the housing you have created for your pygmy goats so they can roam freely between their shelter and grassy area. Like the housing, the fenced in area must be secure so that the goats are safe from predators and cannot escape. Fences should be at least four feet high. 

Generally speaking, goats are extremely healthy, hardy animals. The healthiest of goats will appear bright and alert with no discharge coming from their eyes or nose. Some major health problems that can affect pygmy goats include Caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), and Johne's Disease; however, purchasing from a reputable breeder who regularly tests its herd for these diseases will greatly reduce your chances of getting goats with health problems. Before bringing any pygmy goats into your home, you should find a veterinarian that can easily handle any minor health problems that may occur.

African pygmy goats provide their owners with years of affection and entertainment while only requiring a minimal investment of resources and time. However, to ensure the best possible pygmy goat experience, only purchase pygmy goats from a reputable breeder. Amber Waves, an industry leader for over 26 years, provides its clients with healthy goats and support over the entire lifetime of the goats. Contact Amber Waves ( to purchase pygmy goats and get all of your pygmy goat questions answered. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Raise Goats in the City

Why Your Love of Cheese Is Not Enough Reason to Get a Goat

You’ve been fantasizing about drinking fresh, raw milk. Maybe you'd even make cheese or ice cream from the rich bounty of your very own animal. You might imagine yourself settled on a little stool, the sun shining on your face, your forehead nuzzled into a warm, furry belly as you coax the delicious goods from your adorable four-legged creature. Sounds like bucolic bliss, right?
Don’t let reality bite you in the ass. Goats are a serious commitment and hard work, especially in a city where space is limited. They can live up to 15 years, which is practically the amount of time that it takes to raise a child. So before you take the plunge, consider this:
1. There's such a thing as a goat-person. Are you one?
Personality-wise, goats are a cross between a dog and a cat. They love to be stroked, pet, and scratched. They can be trained to walk on a lead, carry packs, or pull carts. Much like the feline, they might come when called, but don’t hold your breath. They demand attention, get jealous if another herd member is getting more love than they are, and make human-like screams when in pain or afraid. They will sit in your lap, nibble your shoelaces, eat from your hand, and sometimes give kisses. They are intensely independent and curious, to the point of being naughty. Very, very naughty. They will exploit any weakness in a fence if it will gain them access to better forage or allow them a larger area to explore. They are smart and crafty, verging on wily. The job of a goat owner is to stay one step ahead of her caprine friends. It's challenging, sure. You'll be the counselor at a summer camp for little bandits. But they're cute little bandits, and besides—pizza's better with bandit-milk chevre.
2. It's not always legal to keep goats. But it might be.
Before diving in, find out whether or not your city allows goats. Municode is a fabulous online resource for researching the bylaws of many American urban areas.
3. Goats, relative to the farming universe, don't need as much space as, say, a herd of cattle. Fair enough. But they do need to be comfortable.
That’s right. I said goats—plural. These guys are herd animals. To keep just one would be cruel, so I would say it’s best to go with two goats, at the least. There are two sizes of goats, miniature and standard size breeds. Miniatures require 135 square feet of roaming space. A standard goat would need twice that.
4. Goats need daily care and adequate shelter.
Contrary to popular belief, goats will not eat anything. Stick some meat or cheese under a goat’s nose and she will turn her head in disgust. A goat won't swallow a tin can, though urban myth and cartoons would have you believe otherwise. Goats are ruminants, meant to wander and munch on plant fibers.
As for shelter, goats need to be dry and out of the wind. We use dog igloos, but any small, draft-free structure will work. An open-air roofed shelter is a good idea for rainy-day roaming—we've put up clear corrugated roofing over a portion of their pen.
5. Goats need to give birth in order to produce milk—milking goats is a daily job.
This comes as a shock to a surprising number of people, so don’t feel silly if you weren't sure about this: when you keep goats, you gotta milk 'em. Everyday. Period. The fact that we're unclear on this point goes to show exactly how far we have been removed from food production.
P.S.—You’ll also have baby goats to either raise or find homes for. Wheee! Or, you'll need to manage the process of raising mindful meat, or perhaps a blend of all of the above. Yeah, we know. Goats: adorable! (YUMMY.) Adorable! (YUMMY.) It's a tough mishmash to hold in the heart for some homesteaders, but not all. And there are certainly ways to enlist the guidance of agricultural innovators who care passionately about the way that meat is produced—if you're a meat-eater anyway, it's a reality that benefits from careful consideration.
6. The key to raising urban goats is adequate fencing.
In a rural area, setting up a goat pen and small barn is pretty straightforward. Urban areas can pose more challenges, particularly around legal code issues: how far must animals be kept from doors and windows, for instance? Compromise with a section of yard that's both legal, and big enough to keep the little ones happy. Miniature goats need a minimum of four foot high fencing to contain them. For standard goats, you should go with five feet. Goats love to gnaw, so plan to replace wooden fences after a few years. Finally, never forget that goats are escape artists. Gaps, spaces, or holes in fencing could have you chasing small goats down all day long. Especially if there's a two-for-one special on cabbage leaves at the Polish diner around the corner. Goats love Polish food.
7. If your goats are good to your neighbors, your neighbors will be good to your goats.
In a city, you live so close to your neighbors that you can practically spit on them. Don’t. If you want to have your animals without raising the hackles of the folks on your block, keep things clean and tidy. Keep your manure shoveled and compost tumbling. Use lime or enzymatic products, to control urine odors. Keep flies and vermin in check. Nobody wants to live next to a dump. Don’t let your property become one.
Done right, a little goat duo or family can be the highlight of your 'hood. They need not challenge anyone else's idea of civilized city living. They're cute, they throw back to an often more enlightened and slower era, and they offer educational value as well as a sweet and highly adaptable nectar as reward. Keep it up, kids.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Vet Resource Treating Goats - Gilroy, CA

I would like to add our practice to your list of goat vets - we are a
3 doctor practiceproviding both ambulatory and in-hospital service.
24 hr emergency.

Tri-County Veterinary Hospital
2675 Pacheco Pass Hwy
Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 848-8886

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Amber Waves America America (Pending) DOB: 7/20/12 (Green Collar)

Amber Waves America America (Pending)
DOB: 7/20/12 - Black Agouti Wether
Sire: Desert Suns A Major Affair
Dam: Jamba's Pygmies Caramella

Sire: Desert Suns A Major Affair

Jamba's Pygmies Caramella

Amber Waves Boyz N The Hood (Pending) DOB: 7/20/12 (Blue Collar)

Amber Waves Boyz N The Hood (Pending)
DOB: 7/20/12 - Black Agouti Wether

Sire: Desert Suns A Major Affair
Dam: Jamba's Pygmies Caramella

Sire: Ch Desert Suns A Major Affair

Dam: Jamba's Pygmies Caramella

New Arrivals At Amber Waves - Meet Mork and Mindy

Mork and Mindy breeding pair of emus.

New Fountains At Amber Waves

 New fountain down by barn.

Fountain on the entrance to the barn area.

Tiny Dancers Majestic (Jr. Buck At Amber Waves)

Registration Information for: 25719M
Born: 9/28/2011
Random Markings: 
Right Tattoo: TD1
Left Tattoo: B5
Microchip: AVID*015*892*336

Fir Meadow Born In The U.S.A.

Registration Information for: 25504M
Born: 3/24/2011
Color: GREY
Random Markings: WITH BELT LEFT SIDE
Right Tattoo: FMF
Left Tattoo: B9
Microchip: AVID*011*083*281

Pictures from Tami Luddeke, North Carolina

Of her new pygmy goats from Amber Waves - What a beautiful place!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pygmy Goat Carvings

I just wanted to send you a picture of a wood carved pygmy that Kent Holmgren made for me. It is a life size one and it is absolutely perfect   The real ones are better though!  They are all doing great!
Thank you for them!
Kristi Hawley


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Heat stress in sheep and goats

Extreme heat is stressful to livestock, as well as people. High temperatures are even more problematic in states like Maryland, because high temperatures are also often accompanied by high humidity. The heat index (temperature + humidity) is a more accurate measure of heat stress (hyperthermia) than temperature alone.
[continue reading...]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Natural homemade soap recipe: How to make goat's milk soap at home

Natural homemade soap recipe: How to make goat's milk soap at home (blog)
You can enjoy the benefits of rich goat's milk soap without paying the high price. Whether you want to try a quick and easy recipe or commit to making it completely from scratch, you can create luxurious soap in your own kitchen. In an era when the...
See all stories on this topic »

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Goat With a Cough & Clear Runny Nose

By Nicole Standal, eHow Contributor

Does your goat have a cough?
Coughing and runny noses have just as many potential causes for goats as they do for humans; there's a reason their offspring are called "kids." Determining why your goat has a runny nose and a cough is vital to your goat's health. It is especially important to know if your goat is showing signs of pneumonia, a disease that is potentially deadly if untreated.
1.    Causes
o    Coughing and a runny nose in a goat can be caused by stress, exposure to drafts or wetness, dust, dusty winds, viruses or allergies. If your goat is not sheltered after being stressed by a move or by exposure to the elements, it is possible for a simple situation, such as allergies, to evolve into pneumonia. This can be fatal, especially in kids.
By themselves, coughing and runny noses do a goat little harm, but if the illness escalates, time is vital. If there is ever any question--especially if your goat starts to lie down often--call your veterinarian promptly.
2.    Pneumonia
o    Symptoms of pneumonia in a goat include coughing, runny eyes and nose, fever, loss of appetite, fast breathing and high temperature. Pneumonia, also called "lung sickness," is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or allergies--usually after exposure to drafts and dampness. If your goat has symptoms of pneumonia, contact your veterinarian immediately. Prevent pneumonia by providing dry, draft-free housing with good ventilation. The housing does not need to be heated.
3.    Dust
o    Coughing and runny nose may be caused by dust in the air, on the wind or in your goat's feed. If you have a kid born in the early summer and you have had dry, hot winds, keep it in a sheltered place out of the wind. If dust pneumonia sets in, and the kid will seem lethargic, tired and disinterested. If your kid displays this, immediately call your vet for treatment, because your kid could die 24 to 48 hours after displaying symptoms.
o    Goats have allergies too, and its coughing and runny nose may be seasonal allergies to common pollens. Ensure that a goat that is coughing regularly and has a runny nose stays out of of dusty winds, as this may be more than enough to induce dust pneumonia. If the symptoms are extreme, call your veterinarian.
Seeking Help
o    The occasional cough and runny nose is perfectly natural, but if they come with other symptoms--such as apparent tiredness, a fever (specially a high fever) and a loss of appetite--immediately contact your veterinarian. If you do not yet have a vet please click this link for a listing of vets by state.  Vets listed by state Click Here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hoegger July Newsletter

July Newsletter

Boy is it HOT! Last weekend was up to 105ºF in Georgia. We hope all our friends are staying in the shade and making sure everyone has plenty of water. Happy 4th to everyone and enjoy our July Newsletter!


Ready to make goat milk soap? Here is a great and simple recipe from Debbie Shivvers, our new soap expert. This goat milk soap recipe will produce two pounds of nice creamy goat milk soap. Read More »


To some goat owners this may not mean anything, to others they may have heard about it but do not think it pertains to them, but to informed and educated goat owners it means everything!! Read More »


It’s Summer, the days are hot, the nights are short, and our garden is producing cucumbers by the hundreds. Here is an old family dill pickle recipe shared with us by Andy Ivey. Read More »



Are you getting good grades when it comes to cooling your home milk supply? One of the most important factors in great quality milk is how quickly the milk is cooled. Read More »


Congratulations to Leah Adams and Betsy Gundersen for winning the New Cheesmaker's Challenge. They both sent in pictures of thier own homemade cheese and have won an autographed copy of A Cheesemaker's Journey as a prize! Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures of their cheese and we're so happy for all you folks who have started making cheese at home!

NOW only $70!
While supplies last

This is your chance to get a wonderful press at an amazing price! Same great design as our Maple Wood Press but made entirly of Stainless Steel.  Because of manufacturing inconsistancies these were not included in the 2012 catalog. Shop Now»

Write for The Farmyard

You're the Experts:
Write an article and submit itLook up in Salesforce.

If we use it in the newsletter or post it on the farmyard, we’ll send you a Hoegger Farmyard Contributor T-shirt.
Read More »


Find Hoegger on Pinterest and help us get the word (and the blogs) out!  Follow on Pinterest »

We've been getting so many great pictures over the past 2 weeks that we've decided to extend the photo contest until July 30th! Need insperation?  View Photos »

Mary Jane Toth and other cheesemakers are waiting to help at the Hoegger Forum »
Do you have a Hoegger Supply 2012 Catalog? If not, we'd love to send you one. Request a Catalog »

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