Goats FAQ

Q. How tall will they get?

A. Pygmies generally range from 16″ – 22″ at the withers. However, our African Pygmy’s (“Blackberry”) mother was about 13″. Nigerian Dwarfs can range from 22 – 30″. The Nigerian dwarf (“Fairlight”) is estimated to be about 22″ at the shoulder.

Q.Will they give milk?

A. Yes, they both can (although the Nigerian dwarf is a better milker), but unless you have a rare “maiden milker” you need to breed the goat in order to have milk. These babies are too young to have babies. They need their “childhood” first.

Q.How much room do they need?

A. From reading different sites and talking to breeders, they recommend a minimum of 30 square feet per goat. Our animal enclosure is over 400 square feet and it will be expanded to about 450 sq ft. They also will be allowed to roam the backyard under supervision, have access to a local park and neighbors’ yards. Being leash-trained, they can also go on walks and go hiking with the family.

Q. Why do you have goats?

A. They are great companions (cleaner, quieter and more “useful” than dogs – they sleep all night!) and are a valuable addition to the homestead. Why? Well, we like to refer to them as natural composters and fertilizer machines. Sure beats an nondescript compost bin – these cute gals are fun and functional. Such animals have their function and place in such urban eco-system (or “urban permaculture” enviroment)

Q. Do goats smell?

A. No. Females are very clean and smell like hay and sunshine. Goat droppings are dry (like little round pellets – similar to rabbits)and they are far easier to keep clean than many other farm animals. However, uncastrated male goats do smell.

Q. Do they eat everything?

A. “Goats are very particular about what they eat. They will not consume food of poor quality or food that is dirty or has been trampled on. They require the best quality hay, green stuffs and concentrates (oats, barley, soya, linseed, etc., generally sold as a goat mix). However, goats will eat a wide range of food, preferring more fibrous food to lush grass. They will eat young thistles and brambles, as well as twigs. They also like bark from trees. Goats are inquisitive and will nibble and investigate most items (including the proverbial washing off the line!), but they are selective about what they actually eat.” { source: British Goat Society }

Q. Are they legal?

A. As a matter of fact, yes. Goats are allowed in Pasadena. Of course, there are certain restrictions, one of them is that they must be 100 ft from neighbors. We are lucky that our 66′ x 132′ property is surrounded on two sides by a school.

Q. Is this the first time you had goats?

A. No, we had goats in New Zealand (late 1970s’) and one milk goat in Florida on our 10 acre plot. Most of us kids grew up drinking raw goat’s milk.

{Side note} Dr. Freud would be proud. For the few weeks we have had these goats, we’ve made some pretty interesting observations watching the kids and adults interact. Guys gravitate to the pink nose (long-legged, graceful, poised), white goat, “Fairlight.” The girls, on the other hand, are drawn to the short and porky black goat — “Blackberry”. Watching the people interact with these animals makes a fascinating study of the male/female makeup.

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  1. Susie says:

    Hello, I just had a few more questions about your backyard goats. I am trying to convince my husband after being inspired, but he has a few concerns.

    How much noise do they really make? I have read that they can be very loud when they are in season, which fairly often. Do you have any tactics to reduce their noise in the city?

    Also, how much hay and grain do they consume generally in a week? an do you find they are less likely to be destructive around the yard if they are well fed? I’m planning on planting out a goat forage system (tree lucerne, willows, elerberry etc for cutting back, but it will take time to mature.

    I look forward to your wisdom

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