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Pygmy goats are a breed of domestic goat native to West Africa, specifically the Cameroon Valley, which accounts for their original name of Cameroon dwarf goat. Their scientific name is Capra aegagrus hircus, which just refers to being a domesticated goat, a process that started around 11,000 years ago, making them one of the oldest domesticated animals.Bred for their smaller size, pygmy goats were primarily used for their milk and meat with the advantage that they could be maintained in smaller spaces, so they required less land, explains Bree Winchell, keeper and program animal specialist at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon.
"Nigerian dwarf goats are a miniature dairy goat, and pygmy goats are a miniature meat goat," Dianne Cassara of Double Durango Farm says via email. "[They are] two distinct and different breeds, but both are similar in size and cuteness! Pygmy goats are herbivores and require a nutritious diet. At Oregon Zoo, they eat a hay and pellet diet. Because goats are browsers — meaning they like to eat off plants — the horticulture staff cuts branches for them, and the goats enjoy pulling leaves to eat and gnawing on the branches
In addition to this green diet, pygmy goats need a clean, fresh area to relax. Winchell recommends using hay or shavings for their bedding because it's easy to clear out and replace. Pygmy goats also need a place to shelter when the weather is bad, some sort of indoor area dedicated to them, and that should not be the garage and definitely not a spare bedroom in the house. Because goats cannot be housebroken.Pygmy goats were used in West Africa for meat, where their small size is an advantage for survival under adverse conditions. The breed is blocky, with a relatively short neck, rounded shoulders and hips, and a wide body. Pygmies must be less than 21 inches tall at the withers. Any colour is allowed but standard markings are required.
Such as ... Well, admittedly they are not ideal for urban living, but will happily dwell in a medium-sized suburban garden (see The Good Life). Females are called does or nannies, and males are bucks. Unlike domestic goats, which are usually kept as utility animals (ie, used for their milk and, perish the thought, their meat), the pygmy is kept for the amusement of itself and those around it. As a herding animal, they are best kept in a pair or more, indeed pygmy breeder Vivian McNeil only sells them in pairs. Not only do they enjoy human contact, but they have also proved to be good companions for other animals, such as sheep – but if they have horns, it's best to keep them separate from other beasts of the field.