How to Care for Baby Pigmy Goats

By Michelle Hogan

The pygmy goat is a small, good-natured animal suitable as a pet, milk provider or pasture trimmer and weed eater. Pygmy goats do well in almost all climates, and while their living requirements are modest, a baby pygmy goat does need certain things to ensure its health. Most goat farmers recommend not bottle-feeding a baby goat unless it is absolutely necessary, as it requires a huge time commitment for as long as three months.

Provide your baby pygmy goat with a dry, draft-free place to sleep. A simple shed large enough to accommodate all of your goats will be fine. Each animal should have at least 15 or 20 square feet. If the shed is enclosed, it should be draft-free, but a three-sided shed is adequate in most climates.

Use straw or sawdust for bedding and keep it dry and clean. Manure and wet bedding should be removed once a day, and a total clean-out can be done once a week. The floor can be wood, cement or clay, but clay over gravel is preferred, according to the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA), as it drains well, doesn't rot and doesn't hold odors.

Feed your baby goat colostrum (mother's first milk) if it did not get to nurse from its mother, if it is less than 2 days old, or if you are unsure about either point. A baby goat needs colostrum as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum provides necessary nutrition and antibodies that will help the baby goat survive in its first weeks. If you can, get fresh colostrum from the mother or another goat. You also can purchase powdered colostrum from a feed store.

Feed your baby pygmy goat according to its age. A kid less than 10 days old needs milk at least four times a day. From 10 days until 8 weeks of age, it will need three bottles a day. After that, it will need two bottles a day until it is completely weaned at around 3 months old. If you have to bottle-feed a goat, get goat milk or a powdered goat milk replacer at your local feed store. You also will need a bottle for the goat. A baby bottle should work fine.

Wean the baby goat by offering it solid food once it is about 3 weeks old. You can offer hay and a little grain to encourage weaning. Weaning is a gradual process. As the kid starts to get older, you will need to offer it more solid food in addition to its daily bottles. Eventually, the kid will prefer all solid food over bottled -- usually at about 3 months old.

Provide your baby goat with clean, fresh water at all times once it starts to eat some solid food. If the goat is with other animals, it will learn where the water is; otherwise, you may have to introduce it to water with a quick dip of its mouth.

Provide your baby goat with a fenced area in which to play and graze. Pygmy goats love little niches to jump from and sleep in, according to the NPGA. Some people build little ramps and houses for goats to climb on, especially if the terrain of their pasture is uninteresting.

Trim your baby pygmy goat's hooves every two months or so with a small hand pruner.