Have you ever wondered about what you should be feeding your pet pygmy goat? There’s a lot you’ll need to consider. Indeed, feeding a pygmy goat isn’t quite as easy as leaving out a bowl of grain or just letting them run free in a large field. Instead, to ensure your beloved new pet is getting the right diet, you should take some time to consider the different aspects of what the normal diet is of a pygmy goat – and what this might mean for your beloved pet’s health going forward.
What is the Best Diet of a Pygmy Goat?
The best diet of a pygmy goat may not always be straightforward to determine since so many factors influence this. However, the best diet of a pygmy goat is generally one that includes plenty of high-quality free-choice forage (fresh or conserved) as well as vitamins, minerals, and potentially some amount of grains or hard feeds to top up the energy requirements as needed.
What Factors Influence The Best Diet of a Pygmy Goat?
The size and age of your pygmy goat will often be among the two most significant influences regarding a suitable diet for their needs. In addition to this, whether you’re breeding your pet pygmy goat, the time of year and the like can also influence their energy expenditure. As such, all of these factors could impact the most suitable diet for your pygmy goat overall.
What Do Pygmy Goats Eat?
Pygmy goats, as is the case for any breed of goat, are browsers. This means that their genetics and instincts tell them to eat a broad range of different plants – meaning nothing is safe from your pygmy goat’s hunger! Make sure those flowers are secured away from the goats to keep them safe!
But, all jokes aside, what should pygmy goats eat? Well, one of the most important components of your pygmy’s diet is forage – that is to say, grass, weeds, leaves, hay, haylage, potentially silage, and the like. These provide the main bulk of fiber in your goat’s diet, and this directly influences your goat’s health. We should warn here that there is a significantly higher risk of mold on haylage and silage, so these could represent a threat to your pygmy goat’s health.
As ruminants, your goat has evolved an amazing digestive system that allows them to make use of even the coarsest of forages. However, this means they need to get plenty of fiber daily to keep their stomach balanced and healthy.
In addition to this, your pygmy goat can also have a small amount of non-forage feeds, such as cereals, seeds, and pulses. Common ingredients used in pygmy goat feeds can include wheat, barley, soy, rapeseed, peas, and molasses. The exact type of feed your pygmy goat should have is not always clear, so this will often depend on the factors we outlined before.
Feeding Your Pygmy Goat
Feeding your pygmy goat doesn’t have to be a hugely complex procedure, but you may need to do a little trial and error to find the healthiest diet for their needs. Ideally, your pygmy goat should always have free-choice access to some form of forage (such as hay or grass). In addition, you may want to give them a small amount of additional hard feed (often called concentrate feed) to help top up their intake if they need a little more nutrition than the hay or forage provides.
Notably, it’s worth remembering here that every bale of hay and forage will also differ. So, a bale of high-quality hay or an acre of high-quality grass could potentially have 20% more energy than a poor-quality bale and the like. As such, you may want to consider this as part of your decision.
How to Check If You’re Providing Adequate Nutrition for your Pygmy Goat
At this point, we’ve considered some of the key things you should know about ensuring your pygmy goat is getting the right food. But how can you check that you’ve gotten this right? Well, there are several key things you can look at to ensure that your pygmy goat has a suitable diet.
First, consider their body condition. If your goat is losing or gaining condition, their diet may be lacking or excessive respectively. However, if they are maintaining their body condition, you can hope that their diet is currently right for what they need in terms of energy and the like. Always keep in mind that growing pygmy goats will also need to contribute energy to growing along with basic maintenance.
In addition, you should keep minerals and vitamins in mind as well at all times. There are several visible symptoms of mineral deficiencies, but the most conclusive way to check minerals is through a blood test. Your veterinarian should be able to take a blood test and run it for mineral levels to check your goat is having a healthy dose of minerals in its diet. If any minerals show as being deficient through this blood test, you should discuss with your vet or nutritionist solutions to overcome this deficiency.
Feeding your pygmy goat can sometimes seem like a minefield, understandably. Indeed, in many cases, feeding your pygmy goat comes with plenty of challenges, and so it’s highly important to consider what this might mean for your goat’s diet going forward. But remember: every goat is different, and there’s no single diet that will necessarily be perfect for all pygmy goats. As such, when trying to come up with a suitable diet for your pygmy goat, you’ll need to keep the key points we’ve outlined today in mind.
If you’re still feeling unsure after all of this, why not try to ask the breeder or previous owner what they fed? Then, you can adjust your feeding schedule according to this and the requirements of your pygmy goat. Alternatively, you may consider contacting a professional nutritionist to learn more about how you should feed your pygmy goat.