African Pygmy

What are Pygmies

The African Pygmy goat is a small breed goat, originally known as the Cameroon Dwarf goat from Africa, came to America in 1950′s.  In America, the Pygmy goat is a domesticated goat used for both meat and milk production, although the ADGA does not recognize the Pygmies as a dairy goat.  The African Pygmy goats are highly adaptable to many climate settings and have made great pet goats in city areas.  On this page you will learn about the Pygmy Appearance, Pygmy Reproduction and Milk, Meat Goat or Not, Pygmy or Hybrid goats.

Pygmy Appearance
Pygmy doe and kid
The Pygmy goat does not resemble the dairy goat  in physical body appearance.  Pygmies weigh between 50 to 80 lbs with African Pygmy bucks weighing at the high end.   The Pygmy doe should not get any taller than 22 inches at the wither, while the Pygmy buck can reach a max of 23 inches.  Pygmies are small, compact, stout and well muscled.  The African Pygmy goat has a dished style nose area where it concave inward.  Pygmy goats have short legs and the width of body to the height and weight of the Pygmy goat is greater.  Pygmies should always look pregnant even when they are not.  For full breed standards by the NPGA, please visit their website standards.

The African Pygmy goat has a limited recognized color range, unlike the Nigerian or other goat breeds.  Acceptable colors for the Pygmy goat are: solid black with no required markings; black with required markings; Black and Grey Agouti with required markings; Brown agouti with required markings; and Caramel with required markings.  Please review the NPGA standard for colors.

Pygmy Reproduction and Milk

The Pygmy doe goes into heat between 3-12 months and cycles every 21 days on average.  Buck Pygmies mature by 10-12 weeks old.  So it is very important to separate your bucks early.  The African Pygmy goat matures earlier than other goats and can reproduce every nine to twelve months counting the five month pregnancy.  In this manner Pygmy goats can be made to produce milk year round with only two does.  The Third International Conference on Goat Production and Disease, 1979, found that Pygmy milk tested 65% higher in calcium, 19% higher in phosphorus, 75% higher in potassium, 26% higher in iron, and 10% higher in copper.  Pygmy goat milk was 21% lower in sodium, 13% lower in magnesium and 40% lower in chlorine.  African Pygmy goat milk is higher in the good things, and lower in things that are not good for you.  Please research your local and state laws before deciding to milk a goat.  The American Goat Society is the only association who will register Pygmies for dairy production.

Meat Goat or Not

The African Pygmy goat is registered for being a meat goat, although you never hear much about Pygmy goat meat.  Pygmies have mostly been used in cross-breeding programs with other meat goats to reduce the carcass size and fat content.  We at Elwood Ranch do NOT sell our Pygmy goats for use as a meat goat.  We have raised each one of our Pygmies to be social and friendly, not to be used for consumption.

Pygmy or Hybrid

So do you want a registered Pygmy goat or do you just want a good, small goat?   Do you want a goat for meat or dairy production, or both?  Pygmy goats and other goats are being bred together more often to increase milk production, improve quality of milk or meat, or to enhance breed characteristics.  It is important to know the differences between the breeds.  Dairy goats can be difficult to discern as are the hybrid breeds.   It can be even more difficult to tell a hybrid breed from each breed singularly when it may resemble one breed over the other.  But once you seen an African Pygmy goat, you will immediately recognize who are the Pygmies and who are not.   If you are interested in only registered African Pygmy goats, the only way to ensure the goat you get is a true Pygmy goat, is to purchase quality, registered Pygmies from a registered breeder such as Elwood Ranch.  If you want a hybrid breed or just a goat for grazing, Elwood Ranch offers Pygmy Nigerian hybrids for sale.  We also rent out our hybrids for grazing.