Pygmy goats are native to West African. This dwarf goat has developed the genetic makeup in order to
survive the humid and sub-humid zones of Nigeria. It is characterized by small size and variable colors
possibly due to selection and breed improvement. The mature body weights of the pygmy goat varies
grasses, browsing plants, and consuming kitchen and food-processing wastes in their native
environment, while returning to the homestead at dusk where minimum shelter is provided.
The pygmy goat is known to be hardy, and possess the ability to survive, adapt, and reproduce under
harsh conditions. It is believed that coat color and various breed characteristics provide these goats with
unique abilities to adjust to a changing environment.
Minimum Care Requirements
A good pasture (see poisonous plants) or alfalfa hay and access to clean water is adequate for pygmy
goats. However, high milk producing pygmy goats do require a small amount of grain with added
vitamins and minerals to maintain good health. If the pygmy goat is not given grain it is important to have
iodized salt available. They can live in small areas which allow for exercise and have shelter from heavy
rain and wind.
Regular worming and vaccinations for Clostridium Perfringens type C& D and tetanus beginning at 10
weeks old is required for larger groupings and recommended if one or two goats are kept. They may
need their hoofs trimmed every month or two depending on conditions in their pens or pastures.
With good care pygmy goats have a life expectancy estimated from 10 to 18 years, with the high milk
producer and active buck being on the lower end.
When scientists studied groups of Nigerian Dwarf Goats they discovered that a higher drinking duration
was observed with increased environmental temperature, and that the duration of feed consumption was
higher during the wet season. They also found that physiological stress responses by goats were
related to thermoregulation. Goats were physiologically taxed when they had to overcome the burden of
heat and had higher respiration rates or the increases in pulse rates and rectal temperatures during the
hot, dry season when compared with the wet season. This information can guide the amounts of feed
and water you make available in various seasons.
Male Nigerian dwarf goats were more adversely affected by climatic stress, likely due to their increased
activities and aggressiveness. There is a greater need for water during the dry season, with more
deliberate shelter management required to alleviate heat stress. Furthermore, it is suggested that
minimal excitement be allowed within the goat herd, especially among the bucks during the dry season,
to reduce problems associated with heat stress.
Pygmy Goats Need Little Care Because of Their Genetics
very hardy and economical. With a
little preventive care they will not get
sick or injured. The following list
covers their basic needs:
1. Fencing to keep predators out.
2. Shelter from bad weather.
3. Hay and/or pasture to graze on.
4. Grain if milking or pregnant.
5. Loose salt and minerals (*sensitive to
6. Fresh water.
7. Vaccinations for Clostridium CD and T.
8. Wormer for parasites.