The African Pygmy goat is a breed of goat that was first created in the United States after miniature goats were imported from Africa in the 1930s, though some suspect earlier illegal shipments may have been made. Additional shipments continued to arrive in the country until the 1960s. These original goats were not selectively bred by man to be smaller but instead were the result of insular evolution, the smaller goats held an advantage over the larger goats when food was scarce and thus had a higher breeding success rate, creating their own semi-feral breed. In the US they were originally used by zoos to feed to other animals.
Once they came into the states it was realized that this shipment of goats displayed two distinct types of goats, those that were dwarfed but looked proportionally the same as larger milking breeds, and those that were born with achondroplasia. These animals were smaller with stalky builds and disproportionately large heads. The standard miniature goats were separated out from the achondroplasic ones and went on to form the foundation for Nigerian Dwarf Goats while the acondroplasic goats were cross bred to the standard miniatures to form the foundation of the African Pygmy Goat breed.
Achondroplasia is a gene that effects many forms of mammals. In humans it's considered a disorder but it's been purposely bred into dog and cat lines to create corgis, dachshunds, and munchkin cats (among others.) The same was done for the goats. Acondroplasia is a dominant gene meaning that if you breed an achondroplasic animal to one who is not 50% of the offspring will display the achondroplasia gene. However with much tinkering man has been able to tweak the breed to their own specifications.
The breed is classified as a milking breed, sometimes producing over half a gallon of milk a day. The milk is higher in fat and protein content then cow's milk and is known for making good butter, cheese, and soaps. Because of their size, ease of handling, easy kidding, and productivity this breed is a great starter goat. Females can safely be bred at a year of age and can produce up to two litters a year. Their first litter is usually one or two kids but more mature females can routinely birth three or four kids per litter. Exceptionally productive mothers have been recorded as having as many as six kids in one litter.
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes
bob on March 12, 2012:
hi i love goats
Dale on November 23, 2011:
I have 3 African does and 1 buck, the 3 does are Sophia, isabelle, and molly they are very sweet and gentle, the buck is cakester , hes a riot. I'm glad I got the African breed. I feed them 2 cup of goat feed or sweet feed once a day and plenty of hay. I keep fresh water at all times as mine don't like dirty water.
country boy on May 02, 2011:
Pretty nice work! It was very useful information for my report. Don't worry I didn't copy it down word for word. Awesome work,good job!
Arlette on September 11, 2010:
I have a pygmy goat Alvin.....and hes a challenge at times. Hes 3years old now. He lives inside with us. Was easy to house train, but you must be as persisant and they are. He loves his hugs and kisses daily. We have had some urinay problems with him. They must be feed properly they are prone to crystals in their blatter. Very scarey and a lot of money. If they are sick, you don't have much time, they go down hill very quickly. Watch their eyes, if they get crusty, pay attention to the water they drink and how much they are peeing, very important, they need lots of water! Alvin has given us sooo much joy and we have learned a lot about pygmy goats.Remember they do require time and attention for their health, you don't want a sick little goat
Susan on July 29, 2010:
I have two African Pygmy goats they are two months old I am feeding them one half cup of food twice a day and they seem like they want more, just wondering how much to increase their food so I do not over feed them. You can email me at email@example.com Thanks Susan
mads on March 04, 2010:
im intrested in getting a piggney goat or two but i don't know if i want a pigmy or not i know lots of peps who said not to i have a 15 acreg farm with only horses and a pig so not sure got any tips u could send my way thanxs
horsecrazyheidi from good old Arkansas on February 06, 2010:
They are so cute when they are little and you are right they are wonderful mothers
Farm Gurl on August 07, 2009:
i want a pygmy goat how much r they
Montana Farm Girl from Northwestern Montana on July 13, 2009:
Great hub... :-) We have 5 pygmy goats, two of which are getting ready to kid any day now... our first!! Yikes, I'm a tad worried.... Any helpful hints to help with a smooth birthing for each?? I have two resources here in town and have read a bunch, but experience from others who have been through things before, is always the best advice you can get.... Thanks for any you can throw my way!!!!
cambria on June 05, 2009:
i have a 5 month old pygmy goat and i just got him today and hes very cute and snuntie.but we don't exactly know what they eat!? can anyone help me? if you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
claire on February 11, 2008:
i have a 2 year old african pygmy goat called titch.i used to keep with my horses but he had an accident and one of his horns had to be removed.he is now either tied up with a calf pen to keep him warm or in a pen with a dog kennel to shelter in.he loves going for walks to the shop and the beach everyone comes over and strokes him.we had two jack russels and he loved them but then they died and we got a cocker spaniel pup but he doesn't seem to like her he head buts her and bleats like crazy at her!
AuraGem from Victoria, Australia on January 26, 2008:
A fascinating hub! Info is a delight to read!
Smiles and Light