Half of the French own a domestic animal. Among these pets, there are dogs, cats, rabbits, small rodents… Those who have a garden can also turn to other animals. The big trend at the moment is to adopt a goat. Dwarf, miniature, toy, which breed to choose? Here’s everything you need to know about little goats before adopting one, or two!
The goat: a different pet
Having a goat is no longer an exception. This animal of Iranian origin has seduced for millennia. It must be said that the goat produces milk and that in some parts of the world its meat is eaten and its skin exploited. Goats today are very different as their DNA has been altered.
Thanks to the many crosses, there are now small goats. Among them are the toy goat, the extra-dwarf or miniature goat, the dwarf goat and the semi-dwarf goat. These small animals find their place in gardens and know how to be very endearing.
The characteristics of small goats
Generally speaking, all small goats are referred to as dwarf goats. They are about three times smaller than the dairy goat. To have the name dwarf, it must not exceed 60 cm at the withers.
- The toy goat measures less than 42 cm at the withers. It is the smallest of the goats but also the rarest.
- The extra-dwarf goat, also called miniature goat, measures between 43 and 45 cm at the withers.
- The dwarf goat measures between 46 and 50 cm at the withers.
- The semi-dwarf is halfway between the traditional goat (or dairy goat) and the dwarf goat. It measures over 51 cm at the withers.
Depending on their size and build, goats can weigh between 16 and 28 kg for males and 12 to 24 kg for females. The body of small goats is very compact. At the end of the 4 legs are 2 fingers which each have a hoof called a claw. Goats have 2 udders (or teats) and not 4 like cows. They can be with or without horns.
For comparison, a dairy goat measures 70 to 80 cm at the withers. The ruminant weighs between 40 and 70 kg. The most common breeds in France are the Alpine goat, the Saanen goat, the Poitevine goat, the Pyrenean goat and the Corsican goat.
The goat, an endearing animal that is not very restrictive
Whether dwarf, miniature or toy, the goat is a very endearing animal. She enjoys being cuddled and appreciates the presence of adults and children alike. Goats are also very playful mammals that climb and scale anything in their enclosure. Moreover, if you have a very uneven ground, know that the goat will flourish there and will even play the mowers and the brush cutters.
The goat is also playful, clumsy and stubborn. Its strong character makes it a very funny animal that amazes children. Very intelligent, she can be domesticated provided she is firm.
The goat knows how to communicate. If she bleats, it is because she is hungry, thirsty or cold. Warning ! If she bleats loudly, worry! Your animal is undoubtedly in danger.
Two is better!
If you choose to adopt a toy goat or a dwarf goat, be aware that it is recommended to take two. The goat does not live alone. Even if she appreciates the presence of other animals such as chickens, sheep, horses, ponies or donkeys, she needs a congener.
How to choose the right goat duo? Note that if you opt for males and therefore goats, it is preferable that the animals are castrated. In addition to fighting less, they lose their smell which can be very unpleasant for you and for your neighborhood. If you take two females, they will get along wonderfully! Finally, a male and a female can live together and get along. Castration of the goat will prevent unwanted gestations.
How to prepare the enclosure for your goats?
You have made your decision and you will soon welcome one or two small goats. Whether you choose dwarf goats, toy goats or miniature goats, you will have to provide a closed enclosure of 1000 m². Divide this land in two and alternate stays. You should know that goats can eat all the grass available to them. Having two enclosures allows the grass to grow back and thus permanently provide them with a suitable and pleasant living space.
As we said before, goats like to climb everywhere. It is therefore essential to provide a closed ground. To prevent them from jumping over barriers or fences, plan a minimum height of 1.20m. Of course, games and shelters should be away from the fence.
Last point, you must provide shelter for your goats. This must have a minimum surface area of 8 m² if you opt for a duo. This space allows the animals to protect themselves from the wind, the cold or the rain. This shelter should preferably be made of wood and closed. To ensure access to the goats, it suffices to place curtains of plastic slats. It is highly recommended to also provide a door. If you or the vet were to care for a goat, this helps keep it in an enclosed space. In the shelter, the goat must have clean hay.
A litter space is to be provided in the goat pen. It consists of a thick layer of straw placed on beaten earth. Thus, cleaning is easier. This is done every 2 to 3 weeks.
Dwarf, toy or miniature goat: how to feed them?
The diet of the goat is very varied. This ruminant needs fresh grass, hence the need to provide two spaces. But other types of organization are possible. For example, you can leave your animals in a meadow for part of the day.
To complete, you must provide quality hay that will be placed in a feeder. This hay must not be soiled! In winter, when grass is scarce and less nutritious, the goat’s diet must be supplemented with pellets or cereals. Small goats have a need for vitamins and minerals. This is why it is wise to place a salt pebble in their shelter.
Finally, like all mammals, goats need water. Make sure they have access to a sufficient amount of clean water each day.
Want to please your biquettes? This is good because goats are very greedy. They like bread, in small pieces, apples, pears, carrots and even spinach leaves.
Where can you find a toy, dwarf or miniature goat?
Toy goats are very rare and very popular. For this reason, there are many scams. Also, if you want to adopt a toy goat, we recommend that you go to a farm and opt for an adult goat.
If you want a dwarf or miniature goat, herds are also the best places. You can also go to a farmer or to an animal park.
Know that the reproduction of goats of small sizes is very delicate. Two toy goats, or two dwarf goats, do not necessarily give birth to a kid of the same breed. For this to be possible, there must have been several generations of dwarf, miniature or toy goats.
If you take good care of your animal, the goat lives about fifteen years.