by Lydia Hale
National Pygmy Goat
Many books and articles have been written about housing for dairy goats, but there is little
material available that pertains specifically to Pygmy goats. Much of the available information
about dairy goats is varied [. . .] but all the authors are in agreement on two essential
requirements; shelter from wind, rain and snow; and freedom from stress. Pygmy goats are no
exception in their needs for these two things.
In my recent travels to various parts of the country, it was interesting to see
how very differently herds of Pygmies are managed. [. . .] Breeders in the southern sections of
the United States need to provide only very basic shed type structures [. . .] while in the
northern areas, it is an entirely different matter. Substantial barns are a matter of course to
provide protection from wind, rain, snow, and severe cold for not only the goats, but also their
owners who appreciate some comfort while doing the daily chores.
In planning a barn for Pygmy goats, ease of cleaning and finances may determine
just what structure is feasible. No matter how simple the housing is to be, it should be large
enough to accommodate the herd without crowding (allowing approximately 15 to 20 square feet per
animal), and it should also be draft free [. . .].
Pygmies love niches to which to jump and sleep. Ours are constructed against the
walls of the stalls about two feet up off the floor, and the area underneath is a perfect haven
for young kids if the older goats get restless and rough in their play. Built-in hay mangers
keep the hay up off the floor and cut down, somewhat, on the amount of hay wasted – a problem
that seems universal with goats. So much for the mistaken idea that goats will eat everything!
They are by far the finickiest eaters of all animals. Once the hay has dropped on the ground it
becomes “bedding” fit only to play or lie in [. . .].
Drinking water, fresh and clean, is essential to all goats and they should be
encouraged to drink as much as possible. Several years ago, Bob gave me the nicest Christmas
present ever – a hot water heater for the barn. Now we can easily provide warm water all winter,
and how they love it!
The flooring in the goat stalls can be of wood, concrete or, best yet, clay. The
wood will hold the odor of urine and will rot out eventually. Cement, although easy to keep
clean, is cold and damp. We have found that a thick layer of clay on top of a gravel base is
perfect for goats. It packs down into a hard surface which can be swept out when the stalls are
cleaned; it holds no odor, and a new layer of clay can be applied every two years or so to
freshen it up. Any moisture soaks through the deep bedding and on down to the gravel base. We
have no problems with too much moisture in the air even when the barn is closed completely in
mid winter. Warm, moist air can cause respiratory problems and lead to serious illness. Good
ventilation and fresh air are a must for goats.
Exercise yards, grazing areas and/or paddocks surrounded by good fencing are
best located adjacent to the sheds of barns where the goats can have access to their stalls and
come and go at will.
[. . .]
Good secure fencing is a worthwhile investment. It not only keeps the herd where
it should be, but also protects from outside predators [. . .].
Hale, Lydia, and Ellen Kritzman, eds. Pygmy Goats: Best of Memo
National Pygmy Goat Association: pp 22-23
This document is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to be
a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified veterinary professional. The information
provided through this document is not meant to be used in the diagnosis or treatment of a health
problem or disease, nor should it be construed as such