Many new or prospective goat owners get very
stressed about housing their goats. Don’t !
It is not difficult, doesn’t have to be expensive
and only really has to adhere to a few basic rules.
The first and most important rule is that your goats
feel safe, secure and comfortable. This means most
importantly, dry. Pygmy goats detest being wet.
Therefore during the daytime they need to be able to
get out of the rain, whether you allow or are able
to allow access to their goat shed during the
daytime is directly down to your situation and
preference but they do need to be able to get out of
the rain, so a day shelter may be more appropriate.
In order for them to be comfortable they also need
to be in a shed that is draught free, please note
that there is a requirement for good ventilation but
draughts will make the goats feel uncomfortable.
So the goats have to feel safe and secure. The shed
has to be dry and draught free, but well ventilated.
Everything else is down to your discretion.
Some goat keepers have stone built sheds, some
wooden. Some goat keepers have individual “bedrooms”
Some keepers put straw down as bedding, some
wood chips, some use rubber matting.
Some keepers muck out, clean and disinfect each day
(if using the matting) some weekly, and some use a
deep litter technique only fully cleaning and
disinfecting a few times each year.
Your goats should have access to hay, held up
from the ground in hayracks. Height isn’t
critical for these but advice offered suggest
that you don’t fix your hayracks too high, make
them accessible so that your goats don’t have to
look up at them and get hayseeds in their eye’s.
Most important, if you decide to breed your goats with put some form of top on your hayracks, your kids will inevitably jump on top of them, without a sturdy top they are liable to get their legs stuck.
A well-fenced space for pygmy goats
to run in, play and call their own is essential.
They like to feel secure. However all pygmy goats
are directly descended from Houdini! They can
squeeze through the smallest holes and jump
reasonably well. They also like to rub themselves
against the perimeter of their paddock almost
grooming themselves. This activity quickly exposes
weak links in any wire fencing.
Ideally fencing should be as secure
(and high) as you can afford. At least 1.5m high is
required. Post and three rail fencing covered in
wire mesh would be suitable (the heavy gauge mesh
preferably, chain link or heavy gauge sheep fencing
will also do. I have heavy gauge sheep fencing with
two strands of barbed wire above this and this
continues to keep my goats both safe and in.
We would warn any prospective keeper
to not try and save money by using pig wire rather
than sheep. It is cheaper but should you choose to
breed Pygmy goats you will find that a kid quite
easily fits comfortably through the holes in the
mesh. I can tell you from experience, they quite
enjoy the game of jumping through the fence to
nibble the ‘best’ (supposedly) browse whilst they
mothers fret from behind the fence line unable to
get to them and protect them.
Whilst this may be amusing to watch,
they soon get a little too big to get through the
fencing, running the risk of hurting themselves and,
more importantly, when little and outside the
boundary of the paddock or goat pen they are also
outside of the herd protection and far more liable
to predation. A fox would think very little of
pouncing on this opportunity. So fore warned is
for-armed. Don’t scrimp on fencing and your goats
will thank you and you can leave them in their pen
secure in the knowledge that your precious herd is a
safe as you could make them.